• Sun claims hat-trick of freestyle world titles

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    China’s Sun Yang competes in the final of the men’s 1500-meter freestyle swimming event in the FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona. AFP PHOTO

    BARCELONA, Catalonia: Chinese star Sun Yang completed the set of long-distance freestyle world titles on Sunday (Monday in Manila) with a commanding performance to win the 1500m final at swimming’s world championships.

    After victories earlier in the week in the 400 and 800m, Sun, 21, picked up his third gold, taking the finals in 14min 41.15sec, with Canada’s Ryan Cochrane 1.33sec back for silver and Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri 4.22 adrift in third.

    “Normally at the Olympics I have two days after the 4x200m relay before the 1500m, whereas today there was just one so I really felt it at the end,” said Sun after also being crowned the best male swimmer of the meet.

    “I just tried to convince myself to stay as close to Cochrane as possible because I knew I could go faster in the last 100m.”

    The double Olympic champion had broken the world record in the 1500m at both last year’s Olympics and the world championships in 2011, but admitted that a disruptive year in which he changed coach meant he wasn’t in the best condition to break the record for a third consecutive major championships.

    “This is an amazing night for me in my swimming life. After the Olympics I had to overcome a lot of problems, but I have come back and learned a lot through this process.

    “My training was not very structured and that is why I was not in condition for a world record, but I am very happy to win another world championship title.”

    Although Cochrane led for the early stages, Sun stayed on his shoulder, then drew level and powered away in the final 50 meters to defend the title he won two years ago in Shanghai.

    AFP

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