Mellouli, Vendt Each Medal At World Championships

July 27, 2003

USC sophomore Ous Mellouli and recently graduated Erik Vendt closed out the 10th Fina World Championships in style, each posting bronze medal performances on the final day of competition on Sunday (July 27) in Barcelona, Spain.

Vendt won his medal in the 1500m free, taking third in 15:01.28. As Australian long-distance Grant Hackett ran away with the gold, it appeared Ukrainian swimmer Igor Chervynskyi was going to take the silver with similar ease.

In last for much of the race, Vendt trailed by some five seconds after 800 meters. But he started to make a move, closing to within one-and-a-half seconds after 1200 meters. Two hundred meters later, he was only a tenth of a second behind. But in the final push for the wall, Chervynskyi was able to hold off Vendt, barely out-touching the Trojan for the silver. The bronze was Vendt's second World Championship medal, complementing his silver two years ago in the 400m IM.

Mellouli, meanwhile, swimming for Tunisia, clocked the 13th-fastest time ever in the 400m IM, securing his first World Championship medal. Mellouli's bronze was Tunisia's first-ever World Championship medal, but it was overshadowed by Michael Phelps' world record in the race.

Former Trojan great Lindsay Benko earned her third medal of the championships, helping the U.S. to a silver in the 400m medley relay. She swam the anchor leg to earn silver, complementing two earlier golds, also captured on relays.

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