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Zhao Retains Dash Crown Inside 26sec

Dec 16, 2012  - Craig Lord

Istanbul, World Short-Course Championships, Day 5 finals:

Women's 50m backstroke

Zhao Jing (CHN) retained the title in a championship record of 25.95, the 100m champion Olivia Smoliga (USA) second in 26.13 for silver and Aleksandra Urbanczyk (POL) third in 26.50, locking Britaion's Geirgia Davies out by just 0.06sec. The winning time was just 0.03sec shy of the world textile best held by China's Gao Chang.

Said Zhao: "I'm over the moon. Since I stopped using the textile swimming suit, this is my personal best. The opponents were very strong. I was very nervous before the race, maybe that's how I beat them." 

Men's 50m breaststroke

Aleksandr Hetland (NOR) claimed the crown in 26.30, the podium split by 0.03sec, Damir Dugonjic (SLO), on 26.32, and Olympic 50m free champion Florent Manaudou (FRA) on 26.33.

"I just cannot believe it. Beforehand, I thought maybe I can get a medal. Ten years ago, it was my dream to reach the final in the European championships, and now I win gold in the world championships," said Hetland. "This was what I was dreaming of when I was a kid. I always told my parents I wanted to become a gold medal winner." 

Women's 50m freestyle

Britain's Francesca Halsall, who suffered injury weeks before the Olympics but preferred to keep the news under wraps to stay mentally strong for the Games, was pipped by Aliaksandra Herasimenia, of Belarus, 23.64 to 23.87 in the last dash final of the championships. The bronze went to Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen, on 24.00, 2008 double Olympic champion Britta Steffen (GER) locked out by 0.04sec. Herasimenia served a two-year ban for steroids in her youth but today is faster than she has ever been.