Ryan Lochte wins 4th straight 200 IM title at worlds

By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

KAZAN, Russia (AP) - After a disappointing start to the world swimming championships, Ryan Lochte reminded everyone that at 31 he's still got gold in him.

The American made history Thursday, becoming the first man to win the 200-meter individual medley four consecutive times. Lochte trailed through the first three legs but came home strong on the freestyle lap and touched first in 1 minute, 55.81 seconds.

Thiago Pereira of Brazil finished second in 1:56.65, and Wang Shun of China was third in 1:56.81.

It was Lochte's 24th world championships medal - second only to Michael Phelps' career total of 33 - and his 16th gold.

The U.S. has won the event seven consecutive times, starting with Phelps' three titles in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Lochte picked up the mantle with previous victories in 2009, 2011, and 2013.

Grant Hackett of Australia won the 1,500 freestyle four times at the worlds.

It was the seventh medal won by the U.S. team in Kazan, and the first gold by a man. Katie Ledecky has won three golds and set two world records for the Americans.

Like much of the U.S. team, Lochte got off to a slow start, finishing fourth in the 200 freestyle.

He kept it low key after hitting the wall, exchanging a hand clasp with Pereira, who was in the lane next to him. Lochte has swam just two individual events, although he could be selected for the remaining relays.

Pereira led the backstroke and breaststroke legs before Lochte overtook the Brazilian midway through the final lap.

"I thought I could break 1:56 but I couldn't," Pereira said. "I'm happy with a medal, and right now this is just good training. I'm looking forward because we have a year to go to the Olympics in Rio, in my country."

Ning Zetao of China led all the way to win the 100 freestyle in a race missing two key competitors.

Ning touched first in 47.84 seconds.

He swept the 50 and 100 freestyles at last year's Asian Games, becoming the first Asian swimmer to break the 48-second barrier.

Cameron McEvoy of Australia finished second in 47.95.

"That's the best place I've ever got, a world silver medal," McEvoy said. "Thinking back a couple of years ago it was out of reach for me, so to be in this position now, especially with a year to go, it's exciting."

Federico Grabich of Argentina was third in 48.12.

Olympic champion Nathan Adrian of the United States tied for seventh with Pieter Timmers of Belgium in 48.31.

Russia's Vladimir Morozov was disqualified for a false start in the semifinals, and defending champion James Magnussen of Australia is home with a shoulder injury.

Natsumi Hoshi of Japan rallied on the last lap to win the women's 200 butterfly in 2:05.56.

Cammile Adams of the United States earned silver in 2:06.40. Zhang Yufei of China took bronze in 2:06.51.

American Katie McLaughlin led the first three laps but faded to sixth.

China finished 1-3 in the women's 50 backstroke, a non-Olympic event.

Fu Yuanhui won in 27.11 seconds. Etiene Medeiros of Brazil finished second in 27.26. Fu's teammate, Liu Xiang, was third in 27.58.

In the women's 100 free semifinals, Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden qualified fastest in 52.78. The Campbell sisters, Cate and Bronte, of Australia were second- and third-quickest for Friday's final. Also advancing was Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands, and Americans Simone Manuel and Missy Franklin.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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