Biel, Switzerland. 1 April, 2007. Michael Phelps broke his fifth world record in a week to finish the 12th FINA World Championships in Melbourne with an unprecedented seven gold medals, while fellow Omega Ambassador Katie Hoff underlined her status as the most versatile swimmer when she broke her first individual world record.
Phelps wiped more than two seconds off his own world mark for the 400 metres individual medley to pass Ian Thorpe's haul of six gold medals at the 2001 world championships. The 21-year-old American lost his chance of an eighth gold, which would have eclipsed Mark Spitz's seven at the 1972 Munich Olympics, after the US team was disqualified from the medley relay.
Phelps had already won the 200m medley, 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 100m butterfly and two relays and made it seven from seven with a runaway victory in the 400m medley. His time of 4:06.22 slashed 2.04sec off the previous mark of 4:08.26 which he set at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Hoff meanwhile won the women's 400m medley to claim her fourth world title before her 18th birthday. She stormed home over the closing freestyle leg to touch the wall in 4:32.89, 0.70sec under the old mark set by Ukraine's Yana Klochkova at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. "I was feeling the most confident I've felt,” Hoff told reporters. “It's traditionally been a tough event for me, but I felt good all the way through and turned around and saw a best time and world record so I couldn't be happier."
Earlier in the week Hoff, a recent recruit to the Omega Ambassador team, won the 200m medley final and so became the first woman to complete the medley double at successive world championships. She also picked up a share in another world record when she and her team-mates took gold in the 4x200m freestyle in the time of 7:50.09, with Hoff swimming a superb 1:56.98 split to stop the clock at the finish.
Omega President Stephen Urquhart said: “Everyone at Omega had high hopes for the team going into the championships, and we take great pleasure in congratulating both Katie and Michael on their superb performances.”
As Official Timekeeper of the 12th FINA World Championships, Omega was responsible for the official results of all the races in Melbourne this year. Michael Phelps has been an Omega Ambassador since 2004, while his compatriot Katie Hoff joined the team just a few weeks ago. A third Omega Ambassador, Camelia Potec of Romania, was also competing in Melbourne.
Omega’s unparalleled involvement in sports timing has led to a long list of innovations in the field of sports timekeeping technology, including the world’s first semi-automatic swimming timer, and the famous “touch pads” placed at each end of the pool for timekeeping at swimming events. Omega also led the move to bring results to the internet: within 15 seconds of the finish of each race results are posted at www.omegatiming.com. Start lists and a comprehensive archive of results from 2000 through to the present may also be consulted at the site.
Omega will be Official Timekeeper of the FINA World Championships and FINA World Swimming Championships through to 2009. Swiss Timing is the Swatch Group Company whose expertise enables Omega to provide timekeeping services at all sports events.
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