Ryan Lochte

U.S. Ryan Lochte shows the gold medal he won in the men's 200m Backstroke final at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Shanghai, China, Friday, July 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Michael Sohn

SHANGHAI (AP) - Ryan Lochte locked up another gold medal at the swimming world championships on Friday, raising his victory total to three with at least two events to go.

The American led from start to finish in the 200-meter backstroke to add to his titles in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley.

Lochte edged Michael Phelps in his first two individual events and set a world record in the 200 IM - the only world mark in swimming since high-tech bodysuits were banned 19 months ago.

Lochte also earned a bronze in the 4x100 free relay. He was due back in the water later Friday to swim the anchor leg for the Americans in the 4x200 free relay. He will also be favored in the 400 IM and could swim the medley relay.

Jeanette Ottesen and Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus finished in a dead heat for gold in the women's 100 freestyle, both clocking 53.45 seconds. Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands touched third in 53.66. Francesca Halsall of Britain and Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands tied for fourth in 53.72.

It was the second time in these championships that there was a tie for gold. Camille Lacourt and Jeremy Stravius of France shared the top spot on the podium in the men's 100 back on Tuesday.

Americans Dana Vollmer and Natalie Coughlin were seventh and eighth.

World record holder Britta Steffen dropped out after finishing 16th in morning heats Thursday. The German swept both the 50 and 100 free at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the last worlds in Rome two years ago.

Lochte hardly celebrated after hitting the wall in 1:52.96, more than a second in front of silver medalist Ryosuke Irie of Japan. Fellow American Tyler Clary took bronze.

Aaron Peirsol, the American who dominated this event for much of the last decade, recently retired. His world record of 1:51.92 still stands.

Three more finals were scheduled for later Friday. Rebecca Soni was a threat to break the world record in the women's 200 breaststroke, Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima was favored in the men's 200 breast, and Phelps was slated to swim leadoff for the U.S. in the 4x200 free relay.

 

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