Rome, Jul 29: Superstar Michael Phelps crashed to a rare defeat Tuesday when he was beaten in the final of the men's 200m freestyle at the world swimming championship in Rome by Germany's Paul Biedermann, who broke the American's world record in the process.
The 22-year-old Biedermann, who on Sunday broke the world record in winning the 400m freestyle, posted a time of 1:42.00 minutes, shaving nearly a second off Phelps' world record that stood at 1:42.92. Phelps swam a 1:43.22 in the final for the silver medal.
Biedermann said that he was fighting back the pain. "But I am over-joyed. It was a really great race. I knew that Michael took a lot from me on the change-overs, that is why my only chance was to beat him swimming and I managed to do that."
The bronze medal went to Russian Danila Izotov, who finished 1:43.90.
Phelps said that he was not too disappointed.
"Theoretically that was a pretty good swim for me based on my best times after having taken six months off.
"I mean I am not happy but I know I did not train much this year, but for right now I will take it. But I am not very pleased."
In the next final Briton Gemma Spofforth broke the world record in the women's 100m backstroke, when she took the gold medal in a time of 58.12 seconds.
Russian Anastasia Zueva won the silver medal in a time of 58.18, while Australian Emily Seebohm was the bronze medal winner in 58.88.
Alessia Filippi was a popular winner in the women's 1,500m freestyle as she came from behind to give Italy the gold medal in a championship record time of 15:44.93.
Denmark's Lotte Friis, who looked on world record course for the first 600m, finished second, in a time of 15:46.30, while Romanian Camelia Alina Potec won the bronze in 15:55.63.
At the end of her swim Filippi took a bow as the crowd gave her a standing ovation while they were chanting her first name.
South African Cameron Van den Burgh, who Monday won a bronze medal in the men's 100m breaststroke, managed to break Felipe Franca da Silva's world record in the men's 50m breaststroke semi-finals.
Van den Burgh had a time of 26.74, beating the Brazilian's time of 26.89 by .15 seconds.
Da Silva finished with the third-best time of 26.92, while Germany's Hendrik Feldwehr had the second-fastest time in 26.83.
The final of the men's 100m backstroke as well as the women's 100m breaststroke will be held later Tuesday.