Barnea reaches 50m backstroke final; Phelps takes 100 fly

Gal Nevo will look to reach his second straight World Championship final in his signature event, the 400m individual medley.

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July 31, 2011 05:32
3 minute read.
GAL NEVO

GAL NEVO 311. (photo credit: FIsrael Swimming Association)

Guy Barnea will become the seventh Israeli swimmer to take part in a World Championship final on Sunday after recording a time of 25.09 seconds in the 50-meter backstroke semifinals in Shanghai on Saturday.

The 23-year-old, who ended Israel’s decade-long medal drought at the long course European Championships last August when he took a bronze in the 50m back final in Budapest, edged Japan’s Junya Koga by five hundredths of a second to reach the final in China from eighth position.

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Despite advancing to his first ever Worlds final, Barnea has still yet to set the criteria for the 2012 London Games as the 50m back is not an Olympic event.

Also Sunday, Gal Nevo will look to reach his second straight World Championship final in his signature event – the 400m individual medley.

Nevo finished the 2009 final in Rome in sixth position and will be hoping to emulate that achievement in the final day of the championships in Shanghai.

On Friday, Amit Ivry ended the women’s 50m butterfly semis in 16th place with a time of 26.79s, while Anna Volchkov improved her own national record in the 200m backstroke, finishing the heats in 25th position in 2:13.99.

Meanwhile in Shanghai, Michael Phelps, already the most successful Olympian of all time, picked up his third successive world 100 meter butterfly title.

The American clocked 50.71 seconds to clinch his third gold of the championships in Shanghai and then said he could only get better ahead of next year’s London Games.

“The 50.71 is okay for now but there’s a lot of improvement to make before London,” said Phelps who is using the championships to gauge what he needs to do to prepare for his final Games before retirement.

Teenager Melissa Franklin, in her debut at the championships, almost stole the spotlight from Phelps when she won two golds in different disciplines.

The 16-year-old claimed her first title in the 200 backstroke and then swam the freestyle leg as United States lifted the 4x100 medley relay gold.

It was the first time the US had won the medley relay since 1998.

China finished second and Olympic champion Australia took bronze in the final race of the day.

Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington also showed she was heading in the right direction ahead of the London Games with a thrilling finish in the 800 freestyle final.

The Briton, who took silver behind Federica Pellegrini in the 400 freestyle last weekend, battled with 2009 Rome world champion Lotte Friis stroke for stroke before pipping the Dane on Saturday.

Friis led on virtually each lap. Adlington made her move at the halfway mark before her rival surged again to move in front for the next 300 meters.

The Briton, trailing by half a body length with 50 meters to swim and roared on by the home crowd, then turned on the after-burners to win her first world crown.

Brazil’s Olympic champion Cesar Cielo put a possible doping ban well and truly behind him when he retained his 50 freestyle world title.

The 24-year-old, who also won the 50 butterfly on Monday, was cleared to compete just three days before the championships when the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled he had taken “sufficent precautions” in handling his supplements.

Cielo had said the supplements were contaminated and were the cause of a positive test for the banned diuretic furosemide.


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