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Cielo, Weir win again at Missouri Grand Prix

Cielo, Weir win again at Missouri Grand Prix

February 12th, 2012 in News

Juli Wilkinson swims to a first-place finish in the 200-meter individual medley at the Missouri Grand Prix swim meet on Sunday in Columbia.

Photo by The Associated Press /News Tribune.

COLUMBIA (AP) - Cesar Cielo and Amanda Weir each earned a second gold medal at the Missouri Grand Prix, winning in the 100-meter freestyle one night after taking first in the 50 free.

Cielo, from Brazil, surged past Richard Hortness of Canada after the turn to finish in 49.51 seconds Sunday, nearly half a second ahead of Hortness. American Matt Grevers was third.

Cielo, who holds the world record in the 100 free with a time of 46.91 seconds set in 2009, wasn't particularly happy with his time Sunday. After touching the wall, he groaned loudly and lingered on his back while holding onto the lane line.

"For the last 10 meters, I really felt like I wasn't going to finish," he said. "I was hurting a lot."

Weir had an easier time, leading throughout to win in 54.41 seconds over Hannah Wilson, who came in second in 55.27. Victoria Poon finished third.

In the men's 200 backstroke, 16-year-old Ryan Murphy of Jacksonville, Fla., outlasted Canadian Tobias Oriwol to win in 1 minute, 59.11 seconds. The high school junior hopes to appear in his first Olympics this summer in London after a recent run of success that includes a third-place finish in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

"This is definitely a big confidence boost," Murphy said. "It's the same guys I'll be racing at the (Olympic trials)."

"I definitely do look up to a lot of these guys. I hope I can one day be as successful as them," Murphy added, gesturing toward Thiago Pereira of Brazil, who won the 200 back and five other gold medals at the recent Pan Am Games but did not go head-to-head against Murphy on Sunday. "That being said, when I get behind the blocks, I have to treat them as equals if I want to have a chance to beat them."

Other winners in the meet's final day included Julia Wilkinson of Canada in the women's 200 individual medley; Pereira in the men's 200 IM; Canadian Sinead Russell in the women's 200 backstroke; and 14-year-old Katie Ledecky in the 800 free.

Cielo, who also holds the world record in the 50 free and won Olympic gold in that event four years ago, came to Columbia after three weeks of altitude training at the La Loma training center in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, which is more than 6,200 feet above sea level. A former college swimmer at Auburn, he continued to train in the Alabama college town after graduation but returned to Brazil in 2010.

In 2011, he tested positive for furosemide, a banned diuretic and masking agent, before the world championships in Shanghai, where he won the 50 freestyle and 50 butterfly after he was cleared to compete by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Cielo had said he consumed the drug in a contaminated batch of a food supplement he regularly used.

Cielo said he had put aside that controversy in hopes of winning at least one more gold medal at the London Games.

"Right now, the Olympics is the only thing I have on my mind. There is nothing outside that thought," he said. "If I want to become the two-time Olympic champ in the 50 free, that's what I have to do."