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US dominate Day II

Yokohama: Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin were among a quartet of American swimmers who won individual gold as the US team dominated Day II of the Pan Pacific swimming championships on Sunday.

Amanda Beard and Diana Munz also struck gold to bring the US level with Australia in the gold medal standings at five each.

Grant Hackett, clear favourite in the 800m freestyle in the absence of world record-holder Ian Thorpe, cruised to victory in the last final of the evening.

Phelps missed out on a world record but won still won gold in the 400m individual medley, clocking four minutes, 12.48 seconds after a tight finish with American teammate Erik Vendt. Japanese swimmer Takahiro Mori took the bronze in 4:16.35.

The 17-year-old Phelps was 0.43 seconds inside his own world mark after 200m but was caught by Vendt on the breaststroke leg. Phelps, who set a world record of 4:11.09 at the US nationals earlier this month, settled for a new championship.

Coughlin, who became the first woman to break the one-minute barrier in the 100m backstroke at the US nationals, tied a Pan Pacific record as she won the 100m butterfly in 57.88.

Australian Petria Thomas settled for silver in 58.11 and American Jennifer Thompson took the bronze in 58.64.

Beard, meanwhile, won the 100m breaststroke in 1:08.22, with teammate Tara Kirk taking silver in 1:08.66 and China’s Luo Xuejuan third in 1:08.70.

Munzthen edged out teammate Lindsay Benko to add the 400m title in 4:09.50.

Hackett won the 800m freestyle in a championship best 7:44.78 but well outside the world record of 7:39.16 which Thorpe set at last year’s world championships in Fukuoka.

Kosuke Kitajima won the first Japanese gold medal of the championship, winning the 100m breaststroke title in 1:00.36.

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