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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: 15-year-old Meilutyte makes a big splash in pool

PHOTOS: 15-year-old Meilutyte makes a big splash in pool

Last updated on: July 31, 2012 02:35 IST

PHOTOS: 15-year-old Meilutyte makes a big splash in pool

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Lithuanian teenager Ruta Meilutyte survived the ultimate test of nerves to win the women's 100 metres breaststroke gold medal at the London Olympics on Monday.

The 15-year-old not only became the first swimmer from her country to win an Olympic medal she did it in under extraordinary circumstances.

The start, a time when swimmers are already battling their nerves, was delayed by a technical malfunction that saw the starter's gun go off before he had called "on your marks". American Breeja Larson dived into the pool on the gun but was able to race because of the malfunction.

The eight finalists sat down while the problem was fixed and an unfazed Meilutyte still got off the blocks fastest and led at the turn but then had to survive a fierce challenge from American Rebecca Soni, the reigning world champion in the event.


Image: Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte reacts after winning in the women's 100-meter breaststroke swimming final
Photographs: Mark J. Terrill/AP

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Rebecca Soni won silver

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The more experienced Soni drew level in the final few strokes but Meilutyte kept her cool and got her hands on the wall first in one minute, 05.47 seconds.

Soni was second in 1:05.55 while Japan's Satomi Suzuki finished third in 1:06.46.

Australia's Leisel Jones, the defending Olympic champion who won a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Games when she was 15, finished fifth overall in her fourth and final appearance at the Games.


Image: United States' Rebecca Soni competes in the women's 100-meter breaststroke swimming
Photographs: Matt Slocum/AP

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Grevers sets Olympic record to win 100 back

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Matt Grevers of the United States set an Olympic record to win the men's 100-meter backstroke at the London Olympics on Monday.

Grevers finished in 52.16 seconds, 0.38 ahead of the previous mark set by fellow American Aaron Peirsol at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Nick Thoman, another American, was second in 52.92, and Ryosuke Irie of Japan was third in 52.97.


Image: United States' Matthew Grevers celebrates following the men's 100-meter backstroke swimming final
Photographs: Mark J. Terrill/AP

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Frenchman Agnel floors rivals

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Yannick Agnel of France routed a stellar field by more than a second and a half to win the 200-meter freestyle at the London Olympics on Monday.

Having pushed France ahead of the United States in the anchor leg of the 4x100 free relay a day earlier, Agnel led from start to finish and clocked 1 minute, 43.14 seconds.

Park Tae-hwan of South Korea and Sun Yang of China shared silver in 1:44.93.

World champion Ryan Lochte of the United States finished fourth and world record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany was fifth. Defending champion Michael Phelps did not enter the event.


Image: Yannick Agnel of France celebrates after he won the Final of the Men's 200m Freestyle
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Franklin wins 100m backstroke gold

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Missy Franklin lived up to her billing as the next big thing in women's swimming when she won the 100 metres backstroke gold medal at the London Olympics on Monday.

The American teenager, competing in a record seven events in her first Olympics, overhauled Australia's Emily Seebohm in the final few strokes to get her hand on the wall first in a time of 58.33 seconds.

Incredibly, Franklin had just swum in the semi-finals of the 200 freestyle less than 20 minutes earlier and qualified eighth for the final.

Seebohm, who led at the turn under world record pace, held on to take silver while Japan's Aya Terakawa was third.

Seebohm came agonisingly close to breaking the world record when she won her heat in 58.23 seconds, just 0.11 outside the mark set by Britain's Gemma Spofforth at the 2009 world championships in Rome, then topped the semi-finals but was unable to repeat her performance in the final.

Franklin, the rising talent of the American women's team, now has two medal from two events after winning a relay bronze on the opening night.


Image: Missy Franklin of the United States celebrates after she won the Final of the Women's 100m Backstroke
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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