31 Jul 2011

Phelps captures third gold in Shanghai

6:47 am on 31 July 2011

Swimming star Michael Phelps picked up his third successive world 100 metre butterfly title at the championships in Shanghai.

Already the most successful Olympian of all time, the American clocked 50.71 seconds to clinch his third gold and then said he could only get better ahead of next year's London Games.

Teenager Melissa Franklin, on her debut at the championships, almost stole the spotlight from Phelps when she won two golds in different disciplines.

The 16-year-old claimed her first title in the 200 backstroke and then swam the freestyle leg as the United States lifted the 4x100 medley relay gold - the first time the US had won the medley relay since 1998.

Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington also showed she was heading in the right direction ahead of the London Games with a thrilling finish in the 800 freestyle final.

The Briton, who took silver behind Federica Pellegrini in the 400 freestyle last weekend, battled with 2009 Rome world champion Lotte Friis stroke for stroke before pipping the Dane.

New Zealand's Lauren Boyle was well off the pace, finishing last in a time more than 15 seconds behind the winner, and more than two seconds off the seventh-placed South African.

Brazil's Olympic champion Cesar Cielo put the spectre of a possible doping ban well and truly behind him when he retained his 50 freestyle world title.

Dutchwoman Inge Dekker was first in the women's 50 butterfly, edging out world record holder Therese Alshammar of Sweden.