By Nick Butler

lacourt small picAugust 4 - France's Camille Lacourt won double gold in the 50 metre backstroke and 4 x 100m medley relay to bring proceedings to a close at the FINA World Championships at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on a final day where seven different nations secured titles.

Lacourt held off teammate Jeremy Stravius to win the 50 m backstroke in 24.42sec before the pair joined Giacomo Perez-Dortona and Fabien Gilot in being promoted to gold in the 4 x 100m medley relay after the American favourites were disqualified for an illegal changeover.

Australia and Japan took silver and bronze but the result marked a second relay win for the French, and particular boost for Lacourt, who emphatically erased the disappointment of finishing fifth in the 100m backstroke earlier in the week.

us disqualificationA dejected American team after their medley relay disqualification

The US also did not have to wait long to restore their fortunes however when they won the women's medley relay, the final race of the championships, in 3min 52.53sec to finish comfortably clear of Australia and Russia.

In doing, so first leg star Missy Franklin became the first ever women to win six gold medals at a single Championship, moving ahead of compatriot Tracy Caulkins and Australia's Libby Trickett, who each won five in 1978 and 2007 respectably.

"It's absolutely amazing and I never thought that this would happen to me, it exceeded my own expectations," said Franklin.

"In the 200m free, there was an unbelievable field, I learned the most from that race.

"The whole meet was hard with so many events to swim, I'm moving forward and excited for more opportunities to swim like this again."

sun and cochraneChina's Sun Yang defeats Canada's Ryan Cochrane after the tightest of battles in the 30 length 1500m freestyle on the final day of the World Championships

World record holder and Olympic champion Sun Yang of China continued his dominance by winning the 1500m freestyle narrowly from Canadian Ryan Cochrane, with the pair finishing barely more than a second apart as the winner touched the wall first in 14:41.15.

Sun was named male swimmer of the Championships after winning gold medals in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle as well as bronze in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay, while American Katie Ledecky was awarded the female award after going one better, claiming victory in all four events.

"I felt very tired in this race," admitted Sun.

"I give my thanks to Cochrane for leading the race because without him, the result would not be as good as this one.

"I need to regulate myself and since others are improving all the time, I need to improve as well."

best swimsAmerica's Katie Ledecky and China's Sun Yang were awarded the best swimmer awards after their performances in the 400m, 800m, 1500m and 4 x 200m relay freestyle 

Elsewhere, Russia's Yulia Efimova won a hotly anticipated battle between two world record breakers in the 50m breaststroke, when she held off Lithuanian rival Rita Meilutyte to claim victory by just seven hundredths of a second in 29.52.

That was 0.04 slower than Meilutyte, who is based in Plymouth in Britain, had swam in the semi-final when breaking the world record of 29.78 Efimova had swam in the preliminary round.

There was a second gold medal for Hungary's Kattinka Hosszu in the 400m individual medley as she once again pushed Spanish crowd favourite Mireia Belmonte Garcia into second place.

Daiya Seto of Japan won the men's 400m medley while Ranomi Kromowidjodo claimed the women's 50m freestyle crown after defeating Australia's Cate Campbell, while Fran Halsall finished third to claim Britain's only swimming medal of another disappointing week following so soon after London 2012 where they had failed to fulfil expectations.

At the other end of the medals table, and despite their men's relay setback, the US were unsurprisingly awarded the best team trophy after 13 titles and 29 medals overall.

The Americans also topped the overall medals table taking into account diving, water-polo and synchronised and open-water swimming with 15 gold medals ahead of China, who won 14, and Russia, who had nine.

Attention will now turn to the next championships to be held in 2015 in Kazan in Russia.