Reiko earns bronze


Backstroker Reiko Nakamura set a new Japanese record in taking the women’s 200-meter bronze medal at the World Swimming Championships on Saturday, adding to the 100 bronze she won four days ago.

News photoReiko Nakamura poses with her 200-meter backstroke bronze medal at the World Swimming Championships on
Saturday in Melbourne, Australia.

Nakamura finished the race in 2 minutes, 8.54 seconds, 1.38 behind American winner Margaret Hoelzer and 1.00 behind Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe.

“I’m happy with the national record and the medal,” Nakamura said. “Beating the two ahead of me will be my goal (for the Beijing Olympics next year).”

It was her second consecutive bronze in the 200 at the world championships.

Hanae Ito, Nakamura’s Japanese rival, was fifth in 2:10.57.

Athens Olympic 800-meter freestyle champion Ai Shibata finished a disappointing sixth in the distance in 8:31.73.

“I’m devastated since this was my last race of the world championships,” Shibata said. “I was feeling a bit tired, but anything I say will be an excuse for the loss.”

Kate Ziegler of the United States won the race in 8:18.52.

Japan placed sixth in the women’s 4×100 medley relay. Australia won in a world record 3:55.74, 2.57 clear of the United States.