Thursday, March 27, 2008

World records fall in swimming, cycling


SYDNEY, Australia —Eamon Sullivan broke the 50-meter freestyle world record again, and Olympic teammate Libby Trickett did the same over 100 meters Thursday at the Australian swimming championships in Sydney.

It was the third time in the past six weeks the men’s 50 record has been lowered, after Alexander Popov’s mark stood for nearly eight years.

Sullivan, competing in the 50 semifinals, finished in 21.41 seconds to break the mark of 21.50 established by France’s Alain Bernard at the European championships last weekend. Bernard had broken Sullivan’s previous mark of 21.56 set Feb. 17 in Sydney. Popov’s previous record was 21.64.

Sullivan missed Bernard’s 100-meter freestyle world record by 0.02 seconds on Wednesday.

“It’s sort of sweet to get this back after missing it last night,” he said. “I felt great in the warm-up tonight and great in the swim.”

Trickett, formerly Libby Lenton and competing for the first time under her married name, finished in 52.88 to better the mark of 53.30 set by Germany’s Britta Steffen in 2006.

It was the second time Trickett had broken the 53-second barrier, but her previous time of 52.99 in Sydney last year was not ratified by swimming’s governing body because she was swimming against Michael Phelps.

“I cannot say how much I wanted to do that,” Trickett said. “Ever since Duel in the Pool last year ... I’ve just wanted it so badly and to see it officially up there is just amazing.”

MANCHESTER, England — Britain broke two world records and completed a gold-medal sweep in the world track cycling championships Thursday.

The men set a team pursuit record and the women’s team broke the sprint mark.
Former rower Rebecca Romero became a two-sport champion when she emerged victorious in the individual pursuit for Britain’s fourth gold in the velodrome.

Bradley Wiggins, Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas and Edward Clancy powered ahead of Denmark to finish in 3 minutes, 56.322 seconds in the 4-kilometer pursuit final.

“We knew we could step up and put together a ride,” said Wiggins, who won an individual gold Wednesday. “We had been training at that sort of speed on that track. It was just a case of putting it together on the day.

“We knew we were bang on world record pace the whole way through.”

The Danes finished in 3:59.381. Australia, which set the previous world record at the 2004 Olympics, was third in 4:00.089, ahead of New Zealand.

Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade successfully defended their title in the sprint in 33.661, after setting a world record of 33.186 in qualifying.

After the first lap in the final China was ahead. Reade blamed a technical fault with the gate for delaying her start. Pendleton led the fightback and surged ahead to snatch gold. Germany edged France to take bronze.

“This is only the beginning for me,” said Pendleton, who has two more golds to defend. “It’s going to be harder this year being an Olympic year and everyone raising their game.”

“To win the title and break a world record is absolutely amazing,” added 19-year-old Reade, the world BMX champion.

Two years after transferring from boat to bicycle, Romero beat two-time world champion Sarah Hammer by almost 7 seconds.

Romero clocked 3:30.501; Hammer was timed in 3:37.006.

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