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Lenton takes five as Australia dominate in Shanghai

Written by: Staff

SHANGHAI, Apr 9 (Reuters) Australia's Libby Lenton produced a couple of upsets to take her tally to five gold medals at the world short course championships with two more titles today's final evening of competition.

The 21-year-old won the 100 metres butterfly and 50 freestyle to ensure her country topped the medals table with 12 golds, while Ryan Lochte broke another world record for the understrength U.S. team and there were signs of life finally from the host Chinese.

Showing no signs of fatigue after a run of competition that started with the Australian nationals at the end of January, Lenton bettered American Rachel Komisarz and Australian favourite Jessicah Schipper with a time of 56.61 in the 100 butterfly.

Twenty-five minutes later she was back in the pool for the 50 freestyle and touched just 0.01 seconds ahead of Sweden's world record holder Therese Alshammar in 23.97. Magdalena Veldhuis took bronze for the Netherlands.

Lenton's five golds and a silver from six events in Shanghai almost matched her performance at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne last month, where she won five golds and two silvers from seven events.

''That's insane,'' Lenton said, reflecting on her 10 gold medals in less than a month.

''I never really thought I was ever capable of that sort of thing.'' Lochte grabbed his second world record and his third gold of the championships with victory in the 200 metres backstroke.

The 22-year-old from Daytona Beach, Florida, won both the 200 and 400 medley golds earlier in the week setting his first world mark in the shorter distance.

RECORD PACE Today, he was on record pace from the start and touched in 1.49.05, nearly two seconds clear of Austria's Markus Rogan, whose five-month-old record of 1:50.43 was beaten.

Australia's Matt Welsh took bronze to add to his three golds from earlier in the week.

After a week as the only local success, Qi Hui won her third gold medal of the championships before Wu Peng and Yang Yu boosted China's title tally to five.

Qi, who won the 200 and 400 medley golds, swam 2:20.72 to take the 200 breaststroke from American Tara Kirk with compatriot Luo Nan third.

Wu Peng finally got the Chinese men on the roll of honour with a championship record of 1:52.36 in the men's 200 butterfly, while Yang Yu took the penultimate gold medal with victory in the women's 200 freestyle in 1:54.94.

Ryk Neethling made some amends for his poor Commonwealth Games by scooping another two titles to add to the 200 freestyle gold he won on the opening evening of the championships.

The South African, who had a great season in the World Cup, opened the night by winning the 100 freestyle in 47.24 and later took the 100 medley in a championship record 52.42.

Germany's Janine Pietsch and Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine set championship records to win the women's 50 backstroke and men's 50 breaststroke respectively, as did Yury Prilukov of Russia to win gold in the 1,500.

Australia won the final gold in the men's 4x100 medley relay to top the medals table with 25 medals, despite the absence of Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett, while the United States managed 22 medals (six golds) without Michael Phelps and Aaron Piersol.

Reuters DH DB2107

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