Ryan Lochte sets 2nd swimming world record in as many days

The American is the only individual to hit world record marks in 2010 after bodysuits were banned earlier this year

Published December 17, 2010 8:27PM (EST)

American Ryan Lochte has set world records on consecutive days, and he's just getting warmed up.

He added the 200-meter individual medley world record Friday to his 400 record a day earlier at the short-course world championships. He'll swim two more events, plus possibly a relay.

"There were a lot of mistakes I made and I can go a lot faster, I know that," Lochte said. "It's just a matter of time where I finally have a perfect race."

While he may have not been completely satisfied with it, Lochte's latest victory was a dominant display. He touched in 1 minute, 50.08 seconds to improve on the previous mark set by South Africa's Darian Townsend by an astounding 1.5 seconds.

Lochte's two marks represent the only individual world records set in 2010 -- either in short- or long-course -- after high-tech bodysuits were banned at the beginning of the year. By contrast, nearly every record in swimming was broken multiple times the previous two years.

Lochte finished more than two body lengths ahead of his closest competitor, Markus Rogan of Austria, who was 2.82 seconds behind. American Tyler Clary was third, 3.48 back.

"When I was doing backstroke I looked up on the screen and I saw how I was right in front of the world record line and that kind of motivated me," Lochte said. "It pushed me in breaststroke and freestyle and I just came off that last wall, took a deep breath and just went in."

Rogan finished only 0.34 behind Lochte at a short-course meet in Ohio a couple of weeks ago. This time, the Austrian was so far behind he could only admire his rival.

"I watched him the whole race," Rogan said. "I had the best seat in the house -- nobody saw his feet like I did, nobody saw his turns. I've got to get that ticket again."

Two other world records in relays were set the past two days in Dubai, after a long period without any following the bodysuit ban.

"Lochte is not from this planet -- he's a little freak," said sprint star Cesar Cielo. "I'm just glad I'm not an IMer. If he wants to swim the (sprints), I'm ready for him, but let's just let him take those world records for now."

Lochte has won all three of his individual events so far.

"I never go in the race expecting world records," he said. "I'm just going out there having fun, and if me having fun puts me first with a world record, more power to me I guess."

Lochte won bronze medals in the 200 and 400 IMs at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Michael Phelps, who won both events, skipped this meet.

Also Friday, Cielo showed a return to form with a dominant display in the 50 freestyle.

Cielo clocked 20.51 seconds in the two-lap race, 0.30 ahead of French rival Frederick Bousquet, with Josh Schneider of the United States third.

Cielo won the 50 in Beijing, then swept the 50 and 100 at last year's long-course worlds in Rome. But he failed to win either at the Pan Pacific championships in August, where American sprinter Nathan Adrian prevailed.

"Swimming is like boxing -- eventually you're going to get hit -- but they didn't knock me out," said Cielo, who celebrated by slamming the water with his fist. "I'm up and I'm hitting them back. So if they want to win again, they're going to have to bring some more."

Adrian failed to reach the final in the 50, and Cielo enters as an even bigger favorite for the 100 on Sunday.

In the women's 100 free, Dutch sprinters Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk finished 1-2, while American star Natalie Coughlin was third.

Kromowidjojo clocked a championship-record 51.45, Heemskerk finished 0.73 behind and Coughlin was 0.80 back.

Kromowidjojo and Heemskerk also finished 1-2 in the 100 free at the European short-course championships three weeks ago. Both were part of the Dutch squad that took gold in the 400 freestyle relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and last year's long-course worlds in Rome.

"Kromowidjojo was in a class of her own," Heemskerk said. "She did great and I am the best of the rest."

Paul Biedermann of Germany won the 400 free in 3:37.06 -- more than four seconds off his world record last year in a bodysuit. Nikita Lobintsev of Russia took silver, 0.78 behind, and Olympic 1,500 champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia was third.

"People refer to me as Mr. Suit," said Biedermann, who improved drastically with the high-tech bodysuits last year, beating Phelps, before struggling most of this year. "I've been training more to prove to everyone that I am the best."

By Andrew Dampf

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