BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Kosuke Kitajima successfully defended
his Olympic crown with a new world record of 58.91 seconds in the men's 100m
breaststroke at the Beijing Olympic Games here on Monday.
Norwegian Alexander Dale Oen won the silver in 59.20 seconds, and French
Hugues Duboscq took the bronze in 59.37 seconds.
Kitajima's new record is 0.22 seconds faster than the previous one of 59.13
seconds, held by American rival Brendan Hansen, who finished out of the top
three with 59.57 seconds.
Kitajima punched his fist in the air firmly when he was introduced to the
spectators, some of whom waving Japanese flags and wearing "National Spirit" and
"Victory" strips around their heads.
The defending champion swam out of the world record in the first 50 meters
and placed third at the turn, but he overpowered others with a strong charge in
the final 50 meters.
"It's perfect," said Kitajima after the race.
Two months before the Games, wearing Speedo LZR Racer, Kitajima finished in
2 minutes and 07.51 seconds at the Japan Open, shaving almost a second off the
previous mark of the men's 200 breaststroke.
"I had a training period with him two years ago. He's great," said bronze
winner Duboscq. "It's the first time the podium finish is below the one-minute
mark. It's really an acceleration."
American Hansen lost his only medal chance in individual races after
failing to qualify for the 200m breaststroke at the Olympic trials in July.