Swimming: Franklin claims third World title

MISSY Franklin made it three out of three as she claimed her third title of the World Championships in the 200 metres freestyle in Barcelona last night.

The 18-year-old had already claimed the 100m backstroke title as well as swimming the opening leg of the United States’ victorious 4x100m freestyle relay.

Franklin will now attempt to win a total of seven gold medals after dropping the 50m backstroke, the semi-final of which would have been little more than quarter of an hour before the 200m final.

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It was ultimately the right call as Franklin held off a fast-finishing defending champion Federica Pellegrini in one minute 54.81 seconds, the fastest in the world this year.

Olympic silver medallist Camille Muffat was third to go a little way towards avenging her 400m disappointment, where she finished outside the medals.

Franklin said: “I was really focusing on that swimming. I had a very last-minute session and I told myself if I would go 1:54, I’d be happy. It’s hard when you have this schedule.”

Of her decision to pull out of the 50m backstroke, the teenager added: “We decided that maybe the risk kind of outdid the rewards.

“So we decided not to do it. It was fun to swim it this morning but I’m really happy with the decision to scratch and just do this.

“We’re coming down the mountain now. This is what we prepared for, this kind of event through eight days.”

Pellegrini has now finished in the top three in this event at the last five World Championships.

The world-record holder was fourth at the final turn before putting on the boosters down the last length, only to run out of pool and finish 0.33secs adrift.

The Italian was more than happy though, given she had not initially planned to compete in anything other than backstroke this year. She said: “This is not only a medal but it is also great news for the future because I didn’t train for this race and it means I can do better next year.”

Sun Yang added the 800m freestyle title to the 400m crown he won on the opening night.

The Chinese won in 7:41.36 and with the 1,500m to come, Sun is on the brink of a clean sweep of the distance freestyle events, achieved by Australian Grant Hackett in 2005.

Michael McBroom of the United States was a surprise silver medallist with Ryan ­Cochrane of Canada third.

Chad Le Clos added the world title to his Olympic gold in the 200m butterfly, while his compatriot Cameron van der Burgh added the 50m breaststroke crown to his 100m silver.