Meilutyte breaks two records within day
Lithuania's Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte, a pupil at Plymouth College, set a championship record in the 50 metres breaststroke heats at the World Short-Course Championships in Istanbul yesterday morning with 29.56 seconds – and then lowered the record in spectacular fashion in the afternoon.
The 15-year-old won her semi-final in 29.51 seconds – a European record and the third-fastest time ever witnessed in the event.
Meilutyte, who won a gold medal at this year's Olympic Games in London in the 100m breaststroke, should be the clear favourite for a gold medal in the final this afternoon, but she is taking nothing for granted in Turkey.
"We'll see what happens, you cannot predict such a meet," the Devon-based teenager said yesterday. Nevertheless, she was pleased with her efforts on the first day of competing.
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"I had a good race this afternoon, better than this morning," Meilutyte added. "My confidence comes from the work I do. I work hard."
Britain's women also had a good start to the event. Hannah Miley held off Olympic champion Ye Shiwen to claim a gold medal in the 400 metres individual medley.
Ye was at the centre of the biggest controversy in the pool at the 2012 Olympics, with her freestyle leg en route to victory in the eight-length event almost defying belief. In London, the Chinese teenager was just three hundredths of a second slower over the final 100m than Ryan Lochte, the winner of the men's race.
Miley, fifth in London, qualified fastest for last night's final, and then claimed the Chinese teenager was "playing" in the morning's heats.
Fourth after the butterfly and backstroke legs of the final, Miley produced a superb breaststroke to turn first going into the freestyle, 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye.
However, as expected, Ye came back and reeled in Miley. The Scotswoman, though, held off her rival by 0.19sec to win in a championship record of four minutes 23.14 seconds.
Miley's medal was the second of the night for Britain, after Jemma Lowe was third in the 200m butterfly.
There was no such satisfaction for Michael Jamieson, the Olympic 200m breaststroke silver medallist. The Glaswegian was frustrated despite setting a personal best of 58.56 in the 100m breaststroke, only good enough for 12th.
The United States enjoyed a successful start with three gold medals, 11-times Olympic champion Lochte taking two, in the 200m freestyle and the 4x100m freestyle relay.