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Missy’s 4th, Ryan’s 3rd

- Pedersen sets a record in 200m breaststroke
Ryan Lochte of the United States, in Barcelona, on Thursday

Barcelona: American Ryan Lochte won a third consecutive world title in the men’s 200 metres individual medley in Barcelona on Thursday.

Lochte touched in a time of one minute 54.98 seconds, almost a second slower than the world record of 1:54.00 he set to win the gold in 2011. Kosuke Hagino of Japan was second in 1:56.29 and Thiago Pereira of Brazil third in 1:56.30.

Lochte is the second man only after compatriot Michael Phelps to win a treble of 200 medley world titles.

Phelps took gold in the event in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and beat Lochte into second place to win the Olympic title in London last year.

Rikke Pedersen of Denmark set a world record in the women’s 200 metres breaststroke in her semi-final on Thursday.

Pedersen, 24, clocked two minutes 19.11 seconds to beat the previous mark of 2:19.59 set by American Rebecca Soni at the Olympic Games in London last year.

The Dane, whose previous best was 2:20.53, finished fourth in London and was seventh at the last world championships in Shanghai two years ago.

“It was very fast,” Pedersen said in an interview with television broadcaster.

“I am really happy with the personal best and I really hope I can improve in the final (on Friday).”

Australian James Magnussen won a second consecutive gold in the men’s 100 metres freestyle.

United States won gold in the women's 4x200 metres freestyle relay at the world championships.

Missy Franklin powered past Australia’s Alicia Coutts on the final leg at the Palau Sant Jordi to lead the US team home in a time of seven minutes 45.14 seconds.

Australia took silver in 7:47.08 and France, who led at the halfway stage, bronze in 7:48.43.

The US triumph, adding to their victory in Sunday's 4x100 freestyle relay, brought a fourth gold of the week for Franklin and a third for Katie Ledecky. The result was the same as the 4x200 freestyle final at the Olympic Games in London last year.

The man known as “the missile” clocked 47.71 seconds, with Jimmy Feigen of the United States taking silver in 47.82 and his compatriot Nathan Adrian, the Olympic champion, bronze in 47.84.

The only men to have previously won two straight 100 freestyle world titles are American Matt Biondi, Alexander Popov of Russia and Italian Filippo Magnini.

Adrian pipped Magnussen into second place by one hundredth of a second to win Olympic gold in London last year.

Liu Zige of China won gold in the women’s 200 metres butterfly at the world championships.

Liu, the world record holder and third at the last edition in Shanghai two years ago, clocked a time of two minutes 04.59 seconds.

Spain’s Mireia Belmote Garcia, Olympic silver medallist in London last year, and roared on by the home crowd at the Palau Sant Jordi, claimed silver in 2:04.78 and Katinka Hosszu of Hungary bronze in 2:05.59.

In the morning, Australian sprinter Cate Campbell showed off her starting speed in the heats of the 100-metre freestyle. Campbell was 0.10 seconds ahead of Britta Steffen's 2009 world record halfway through the race and then cruised in the second lap to set a leading time of 53.24 seconds.

Franklin qualified second in a personal best of 53.36 as she attempts to extend her perfect record of three golds in three events so far.

Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden advanced third in 53.61, Steffen was fourth in 53.93 and Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands was fifth in 54.12.

Steffen's world record is 52.07.

“I think (Campbell) is the top favourite,” Kromowidjojo said. “But nobody has really given it their all yet. So we'll wait and see”

Orlando Duque just had to be the first man to be crowned high diving world champion.

But even the 38-year-old Colombian cliff diving legend needed a wobble by main rival Gary Hunt on the last dive of Wednesday's final to snatch the inaugural gold medal by just 0.9 points.

“To know that when they look at the records my name will be there first is important,” said Duque.

“Besides, I am the old guy of this group. I’m 38 years old and I’m jumping with guys who are 23. It was looking a little difficult after that second dive because Gary, Gary is Gary and he always nails them, but he committed a little mistake at the end.

“But that is the nature of the competition, someone wins, someone goes home crying.”