Lenton wins gold in 100m freestyle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lenton wins gold in 100m freestyle

By Tom Wald 30/03/2007 09:58:35 PM Comments (0)

Australia's Libby Lenton collected her third gold medal of the week by storming to victory in the 100m freestyle at the world titles in Melbourne.

Lenton reinforced her status as the world's premier sprinter by claiming the coveted crown with arguably the finest performance of her glittering career.

However, while an emotional Lenton needed a perfectly executed performance to lift herself to the top of the podium, Leisel Jones found the world record line her only company as she crushed her opposition in the 200m breaststroke.

The blond Queenslanders lifted Australia's gold medal tally to six before the men held up their end of the bargain with 200m breaststroker Brenton Rickard and the men's 4x200m relay team claiming surprise silver medals.

In front of comfortably the biggest crowd of the week, Australia's swimmers produced their best performances, led by Lenton in the opening race.

The pocket rocket had been in tears in the morning before producing her scorching swim of 53.40 seconds in the final - the equal second fastest time in history - to edge out an all-star cast.

It was the bride-to-be's third gold medal of the week and she was again in tears on the pool deck after dethroning the disappointing Jodie Henry (54.21), who finished sixth.

Lenton is used to being the fastest at the turn but Dutchwoman Marleen Veldhuis (53.70) led before Lenton stormed home for the victory.

She said she used the disappointment of her flop in the 50m butterfly in the morning to fire her up for the blue-ribbon event in front of a large family contingent.

"I think a lot of things happen for a reason, it was probably needed to kick me into gear for tonight," she said.

While Lenton narrowly claimed her title, Jones crushed the will of her rivals before next year's Beijing Olympics.

She felt she had mastered big occasions and, despite being off her world mark, was never in any danger.

"I have had a lot more pressure on me and I am happy to come through that and it gives me a lot of practice before Beijing," she said.

"It might be a good learning curve already. I have come through two Olympics before, I know what goes on and what happens and I am probably using the pressure more to my advantage.

"I think of the pressure as a good thing and use the nerves as a motivation, as adrenalin to swim faster."

While the girls grabbed the headlines, Rickard proved he is now a force to contend with over four laps after finishing behind Japan's Kosuke Kitajima in a final missing champion Brendan Hansen through illness.

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