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1ST LEAD Aussie junior Chalmers stuns field to win men's 100m freestyle By Derek Wilson, dpa

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Rio de Janeiro - Australian teenager Kyle Chalmers produced a stunning performance on Wednesday to shatter his more experienced rivals in the men‘s Olympic 100-metre freestyle final and claim his first major title.

The 18-year-old Chalmers continued his tremendous Rio form to win in a world junior record time of 47.58 seconds, with Belgium‘s Pieter Timmers second in 47.80 and defending champion Nathan Adrian third in 47.85.

Spain‘s Mireia Belmonte won a tight women‘s 200m butterfly on the touch from Australian Madeline Groves, while Dmitriy Balandin claimed a first Olympic swimming medal for Kazakhstan by edging the men‘s 200-metre breaststroke.

And Katie Ledecky earned her third gold of the Games as she anchored the United States to the women‘s 4x200m freestyle relay over Australia and Canada.

The 100m freestyle was tipped to be a show-down between defending champion Nathan Adrian and Australian Cameron McEvoy, but it was a younger gun from down under who stole the show.

Canada‘s Santo Condorelli led at the turn with Chalmers a seemingly innocuous seventh, but there was drama in the final 50 metres as Condorelli faded. Timmers and Adrian were also involved in the four-man stretch for the wall, but it was Chalmers who came out on top to earn Australia a first gold in the event since 1968.

"I actually had no idea about that to be honest with you," Chalmers said of ending the drought. "I‘m someone that probably doesn‘t follow swimming too much."

"I know that we‘ve been beaten a few times. Going in fastest and being beaten. So I wanted to do it for myself and my family and my country and all my friends back home," he said.

McEvoy never got going and finished a disappointing seventh.

"It‘s very hard," Chalmers added about his mentor McEvoy. "I‘ve won an Olympic medal and he probably hasn‘t swum to his best, which hopefully he turns around tomorrow (Thursday) and swims well in the 50 (metres freestyle)."

Belmonte‘s winning time in the 200 fly was 2 minutes 4.85 seconds, just three hundredths ahead of Groves, who was the early leader. Japan‘s Natsumi Hoshi took bronze a further 0.32 seconds adrift.

The 25-year-old Belmonte has been a successful short course swimmer and the gold medal represents her biggest long course title.

"It feels good, but I haven‘t had time to think about it, because everything happened so quickly," Belmonte said.

Balandin edged the men‘s 200-metre breaststroke gold in a tight race from American Josh Prenot, touching up in 2:07.46.

"This is the biggest honour and the biggest thing I could have given to my country," Balandin said. "I‘m very proud of that."

"I think the whole of Kazakhstan will be drinking tonight," he said of potential celebrations.

The race was initially dominated by Japan‘s Yasuhiro Koseki, who went through 150 metres more than a second under world-record pace but collapsed to fifth as Balandin made his move. Prenot was seven hundredths behind Balandin and bronze went to Russia‘s Anton Chupkov.

The night‘s relay action gave teenage prodigy Ledecky the chance to shine once more, and although the US won it was much closer than expected.

The US had not led after a single leg when Allison Schmidt, Leah Smith, Mayo Dirado handed over to Ledecky but within just over 50 metres she had hauled in the leading Australians.

Ledecky touched the wall in a winning time of 7 minutes 43.03 seconds to earn her third gold in Rio and fourth medal overall at these Games.

In the semi-finals, the appearance of 21-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps brought a huge roar as he qualified first in the men‘s 200m individual medley. His team-mate Ryan Lochte was second, with Brazilian Thiago Pereira third and 400m medley champion Kosuke Hagino of Japan fourth.

"He brings the best out of me. We‘re racers," Phelps said of edging out world record holder and six-time Olympic champion Lochte.

Phelps has already won the 4x100m relay and 200m butterfly golds and could yet claim another three medals in Rio.

Australian Cate Campbell qualified first in the women‘s 100m freestyle by lowering the Olympic record she set in the heats a further seven hundredths to 52.71. Russian Evgeny Rylov topped the men‘s 200m backstroke with 100m winner Ryan Murphy of the US fourth.

And in the women‘s 200m breaststroke Australian Taylor McKeown was first into the final with controversial Russian Yulia Efimova in sixth. Molly King, the champion over 100m, missed out.



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