Mellouli Wins World Championships Bronze
July 24, 2005
USC senior-to-be Ous Mellouli, a 2004 Olympic finalist and 2005 NCAA title winner, won his second career World Championships medal by finishing third in the 400m freestyle at the 2005 FINA World Championships on Sunday (July 24) during the first day of the swimming competition in Montreal.
Mellouli, who won bronze in the 400m IM in 2003, earned the same metal medal in the 400m free, finishing in 3:46.08. Australian great Grant Hackett, virtually unbeatable in the 1500m free but almost as strong in the 400m, won the race in 3:42.91. Russian Yuri Prilukov won silver in 3:44.44 while Italy star Massi Rosolino finished just behind Mellouli in fourth (3:46.08).
Mellouli, from Tunisia, and the rest of the field benefited from Ian Thorpe's absence as the Austrialian world record holder is currently on a break from swimming. Additionally, U.S. star Michael Phelps, considered a threat in the race, failed to make it out of prelims.
While Hackett, a three-time World Championships silver medallist in the race before winning this year, swam away from the field, Mellouli was in a battle with most of the rest of the races. He dropped from third to fourth with 100 meters to go and still was looking at finishing off the medal stand with 50 remaining. But he finished with the second fastest final 50 of the race, passing Romania's Dragos Coman and holding off Rosolino. Mellouli will later swim the 800m free and the 400m IM.
Mellouli will later swim the 800m free and the 400m IM while USC's Larsen Jensen and former Trojan stars Kaitlin Sandeno and Klete Keller will also be racing during the remaining seven days of competition (the meet ends Sunday, July 31).