Phelps claims 200m freestyle gold

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Michael Phelps won his showdown with Grant Hackett on Tuesday, to take the 200-metre freestyle gold at swimming World Championships in Montreal.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:54 IST
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Michael Phelps won his showdown with Grant Hackett on Tuesday, to take the 200-metre freestyle gold at swimming World Championships in Montreal. South African Ryk Neethling led the pair through the first lap under world record pace, although at the 100 metre mark the early speed was beginning to take its toll. Hackett moved up to second when they turned for home, but Phelps sprinted further ahead and then held off the Australian to win the gold in one minute 45.20 seconds. This is the 10th fastest time in history, - but more than a second outside Ian Thorpe's world record. US dominates Hackett, who had swum the 800m heats earlier in the day qualifying fastest for the final, finished second in 1:46.14 while Neethling came in third with 1:46.63. There was another gold for America in the men's 100 metre backstroke. World record holder and Olympic champion Aaron Peirsol once again dominated, finishing in 53.62 seconds, beating out compatriot Randall Bal by four-tenths of a second. The bronze went to Laszio Cseh of Hungary. America's third gold of the day went to 17-year-old Kate Ziegler in the women's1500 metre freestyle. The teenager shaved nearly 11 seconds off her previous best with her time of 16 minutes, 0.41 seconds. The time was the third-fastest in swimming history. Switzerland's Flavia Rigamonti took the silver and Canada's Brittany Reimer the bronze, the first medal by a Canadian women at a World Championships since Allison Higson in 1986, two years before Reimer was born. Strong finish However, an expected US win never materalised in the 100 metre backstroke. Instead, it was Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry who came away with gold, beating five-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin. She used a strong finishing kick to win in 1:00.24 and beat Germany's Antje Buschschulte, who was four-hundredths of a second ahead of Coughlin. In the 100 metre breaststroke, Australia's Leisel Jones ended years of frustrating defeats to claim the title. Maiden title This was a maiden world title for Jones, who for so long has been pipped in major races, and came just 24 hours after she lost her world record to American teenager Jessica Hardy. The American was in front at the turn but could not hold off the fast-finishing Australian whose winning time of 1:00.25 was just 0.05 seconds outside the new world record. Her compatriot Tara Kirk was third in 1:07.43. In the men's waterpolo, defending Olympic and world champions Hungary defeated Spain 8-4 in the quarterfinals to advance to a semifinal place against Greece, who were 13-9 winners over Italy. Norbert Maaras, Tamas Molnar and Peter Biros scored two goals apiece in the win. Serbia-Montenegro also progressed to the last four with a 10-8 win over Romania. (AP)

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