Mellouli Wins World Championships Silver
July 26, 2009
Former Trojan All-American Ous Mellouli won a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle while sophomore Katinka Hosszu qualified for the final of the 200m individual medley on the first day of the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Italy, on Sunday (July 26).
Mellouli, the 2008 Olympic champion in the 1500m free who finished fifth at the Olympics in the 400m free, earned silver in the race with a 3:41.11, 1.04 seconds behind Germany's Paul Biedermann (3:40.07). Biedermann lowered Ian Thorpe's seven-year-old world record by 0.01. Mellouli actually began the final 50 meters with a 0.35-second lead, but Biedermann quickly overtook him off the wall en route to his world record. Mellouli still became the third-fastest ever in the race as he held off China's Zhang Lin, who took bronze (3:41.35).
The 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the race and the 2007 world champion, Korea's Tae-Hwan Park, failed to make it out of prelims.
Hosszu, swimming for Hungary, got off to a great start by qualifying with the second-fastest time in the prelims of the 200m IM (2:09.12). She swam in the semifinals in the evening session and though she was about a second slower at 2:10.01, it was still good enough to finish seventh and earn a place in Monday's final. Hosszu is no stranger to international competition. She is a two-time Olympian and competed in the 2007 World Championships.
Fellow Trojan sophomore Ania Kowalczyk also raced in the 200m IM for Poland, finishing 37th.
In addition to Hosszu's final Monday, 2009 USC graduate and 2008 three-time Olympic medalist Rebecca Soni will race in the prelims and (presumably) the semifinals of the 100m breast. Soni, the American record holder in the 100m breast who won silver in the race at the Olympics, is the top seed in the event. World record holder and 2008 Olympic champion in the event Leisel Jones of Australia is taking the year off from swimming, eliminating a major challenger from Soni's gold medal hopes.