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2013.08.05 09:14

Rūta Meilutytė earns more than 100 thousand litas over two days in Barcelona

DELFI.lt2013.08.05 09:14

Sixteen year-old Rūta Meilutytė in the course of just two days achieved in the FINA world swimming championship more than most of her peers could dream of, writes www.delfi.lt. 

Sixteen year-old Rūta Meilutytė in the course of just two days achieved in the FINA world swimming championship more than most of her peers could dream of, writes www.delfi.lt.

World record – more valuable than a gold medal

The Lithuanian, demonstrating incredible talent and impressive form, has won in three swims – the  women’s breaststroke 100 meter qualifier, the semi-final and the finals.

Her winning times in these events surpassed the European and World records, and earned her a gold medal and over 100 thousand Litas on Monday and Tuesday. And this is after participating in only one of the four events planned. With three more events to go,  Meilutytė has already taken a slice out of the International Swimming Federation’s (FINA) World Championship prize fund, which totals $3.1 million (8.07 million Litas).

The Lithuanian swimmer earned $25 thousand (about 65 thousand Litas) for her 100m women’s breaststroke world record (1:04.35 min.), while Tuesday’s gold medal in the same distance was worth another 15 thousand dollars (about 39 thousand Litas). So far, Rūta Meilutytė has earned over 104 thousand Litas in this competition.

She was close to repeating or beating her own record on Tuesday, when she took only 0,07 seconds longer (1:04.42 min.) than in the semi-finals in the 100m distance.

Rūta Meilutytė will swim in three more events: the 50m breaststroke, and the 50 and 100m freestyle. While she claims she has no specific goals for first two, she is considered  the favourite for the 50m breaststroke event.

The FINA monetary rewards for finals placements is: 1st – $15,000; 2nd – $10,000; 3rd – $5,000; 4th – $4,000; 5th – 3,000; 6th – $2000.

Competitors envy Meilutytė’s legs

Rūta Meilutytė’s advantage in Barcelona so far has been more than substantial. In three 100m breaststroke swims,  she beat all of her competitors by almost a second – a massive lead in over such a short distance.

It is thus unsurprising that the Lithuanian received universal acclaim from the global press (the Russian press even rhyming “Rūta – kruta” in their headlines), and from her opponents.

Julija Jefimova, coming in second after Meilutytė by 0,6 seconds was the most open.

“I will definitely beat her eventually. I am slightly disappointed, I tried very hard in the final and fought right up to the finish, hoping to beat Rūta; I believed in it. I did everything I could – I improved my times. The coach said that if I swim like this in the 200m event, everything will be excellent,” confessed Jefimova.

“Now if I had legs like that (Meilutytė – DELFI)! I would definitely beat everyone. Her legs are good and strong. Her foot size is larger than 40. She is overall a well-built girl. If I was like that, my strokes would be twice as powerful,” Julija Jefimova told Russian journalists half joking.

Meanwhile, the bronze medallist who fell behind R. Meilutytė by 1,1 seconds, Jessica Hardy, praised the Lithuanian’s character.

“Rūta is a great rival. She is an excellent example of a sportswoman – she is nice, natural and unbelievably professional,” Hardy reflected positively on the Lithuanian swimmer.