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Published: Sunday May 10, 2009 MYT 2:37:00 PM

Japanese teenager sets backstroke world record

CANBERRA: Japanese swimmer Ryosuke Irie set a world record in the men's 200m backstroke at a "Duel in the Pool" meet against Australia on Sunday.

Irie set a time of 1:52.86s, beating the previous record held by American Ryan Lochte by 1.08 seconds.

Lochte set the previous mark of 1:53.94 while winning the gold medal over the distance at last year's Beijing Olympics.

The 19-year-old Irie won Sunday's race by more than five seconds from Australia's Ashley Delaney and Japan's Takashi Nakano.

Pumping his fists after the race, Irie, who swam 1:54.02s at the Japanese world championship trials two weeks ago, appeared to be overwhelmed.

"I couldn't think I could go that fast," he told Australian television's Network Ten through a translator.

"I can say only one phrase: unbelievable. I am going to swim in the world championships (in July in Rome) and I am going to break it (the world record) again."

Irie's world record was the first in the Australian Institute of Sport pool since Michael Klim's 100m butterfly world mark of 51.81 seconds in December 1999.

Irie, a Kinki University student from Osaka, was just 0.02 seconds outside American Aaron Peirsol's world record for the 100 backstroke on Saturday, clocking 52.56.

Peirsol set 52.54 in winning Olympic gold at Beijing. - AP


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