Spain's Garcia breaks 200 fly record at worlds
DOHA, Qatar (AP) Spanish swimmer Mireya Belmonte Garcia was unstoppable on the opening night of the world short-course championships, winning the women's 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley in record times on Wednesday.
In both races, newly-crowned female world swimmer of the year Katinka Hosszu of Hungary was forced to settle for second spot.
''I wasn't expecting such a performance. It's like a dream... unbelievable. I had an amazing race,'' said the 24-year-old Garcia, who won two sliver medals in the 2012 London Olympics.
''I was nervous before the start but after the win in the first race, I got the motivation. In the last month, I had made very good preparations and thanks to my coach for helping me out. The wins ahead of Rio Olympics (in 2016) are a huge motivation for me,''
In the 200 butterfly, Garcia finished in 1 minute, 59.61 seconds, eclipsing the record of 2:00.78 set by Zhige Liu of China in 2009.
Defending champion Hosszu led until the last 50 meters, and came second in 2:01.12. Franziska Hentke of Germany was third.
The script stayed very much the same in the 400 IM, with Hosszu leading for three quarters of the race. However, Garcia finished fast to touch home in 4:19.86 and break the previous record of 4:20.85 set by Hosszu in Berlin in 2013.
Hosszu, the World Cup series champion, finished well below her personal best in 4:22.94. Hannah Miley of Great Britain came third with a time of 4:24.74.
Earlier, South African Chad le Clos claimed the first gold of the championships in the men's 100 freestyle. The male world swimmer of the year was second until the last turn, when he changed gears to win in 1:41.45.
Danila Izotov of Russia took silver in 1:41.66, and Ryan Lochte of the U.S. came third in 1:42.09.
The first night ended with another world record, after The Netherlands women bettered the mark in 4x200 freestyle. The quartet of Inge Dekker, Femke Heemskerk, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Sharon van Rouwendaal finsihed in 7:22.85, breaking the record of China set in Dubai in 2010. China ended at second and Australia at third spot.
In the men's 4x100 freestyle, French team of Clement Mignon, Fabien Gilot, Florent Manaudou and Mehdy Metella won gold in 3:03.78, setting a new championship record. Russia finished second, while U.S. came third.
Meanwhile, Lithuanian teen sensation Ruta Meilutyte came close to breaking the record in the women's 50-meter breastroke semifinal as she cruised into Thursday's final. The 2012 world champion was just .100 second below the mark of 28.80 set by Jessica Hardy of the United States in 2009.
Meilutyte already holds the world records in the 50 and 100-meter breaststroke in long course, plus the 100-meter breaststroke in short course.