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Fourth-Place Medal

Winners and losers from the swimming world championships

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The 14th FINA World Championships concluded on Sunday with the United States winning the overall medal count and positioning itself for another dominant meet at next year's Summer Olympics. Fourth-Place Medal looks at the winners and losers from the swimming competition.

Winner: Ryan Lochte

The 26-year-old American won five gold medals in Shanghai, sweeping his three individual events and adding two relay golds in addition to a relay bronze. His world record in the 200 IM was the first record since FINA banned high-tech swimsuits in 2009. Oh, and he also beat Michael Phelps twice in head-to-head races.

Loser: Australia

Australia brought 47 swimmers to Shanghai, the most of any country. Yet the nation's two gold medals were equaled by Denmark, a nation that brought a contingent of six. That gold medal total was down from nine in 2007 and six (in fewer events) at the 2008 Olympics.

Winner: Missy Franklin

Swimming's newest teen sensation is poised to become a breakout star at next summer's Olympics. The 16-year-old won five medals at worlds and earned the praise of none other than Michael Phelps, who proclaimed her "a stud." Frankling is cute (her smile is full of braces), personable (she showed off her driver's license during an NBC interview) and blazing fast in the pool (her 200 backstroke time set an American recodr); which is to say, she'll be an NBC favorite. Other young American women like Katie Hoff and Kate Ziegler haven't lived up to sizable Olympic expectations in recent years. Will Franklin reverse the trend?

Loser: Ian Thorpe

The Thorpedo will join a crowded field in the men's 200 free when he returns to the sport for next year's Olympics. The top five finishers at Shanghai touched just .55 seconds apart.

Winner: China

The host nation put on a show in Shanghai, winning five golds and 14 overall medals. Distance freestyler Sun Yang swam the race of the meet, breaking Grant Hackett's decade-old record in the 1,500 free thanks to a blistering 54.2 in the final 50.

Winner: Michael Phelps

Only for Michael Phelps could winning four golds, two silvers and a bronze possibly be considered a disappointment. It's not though, not by a longshot. To the contrary, Phelps should (and probably does) feel great about where he's at right now. He struggled early in the year. His 200 fly streak was snapped and he was finishing off the podium in grand prix meets. He was ready for Shanghai but was treating the meet as a jump-off point for next year's Olympics, the meet that his eyes have been set upon since Beijing. For the past three years, it's always been about London.

Loser: Silver medals

There were 40 events in Shanghai and only 38 silver medals awarded. How? Two races ended in first-place ties. Frenchmen Jeremy Stravius and Camille Lacourt tied in the 100 back and Aleksandra Gerasimenya (BLR) and Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) touched at the same time in the 100 free.

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