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Meilutyte on course for 2016 with golds

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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Plymouth Leander's Olympic sensation Ruta Meilutyte took her first steps towards the Rio Games in 2016 by winning two World Cup golds.

The Lithuanian teenager, a Plymouth College pupil, smashed her own national records to land the two medals at the Erisdalsbadet Pool in Stockholm, Sweden – and beat an American champion into the bargain.

The short course competition, with swimmers battling for medals over 25m, was half the pool distance Meilutyte normally excels at.

However, Meilutyte's 100m breaststroke time of 1:05.02 was three seconds faster than her previous best in a short course pool.

That saw her take out the world number one at 100m breaststroke in a 25m pool, Jessica Hardy of the USA.

And in the 50m breaststroke, Meilutyte dipped under the 30 second barrier for the first time to take a second gold in 29.96 – only Australia's Leisel Jones has been under the 30 second barrier this year.

Meilutyte had not finished there, though, despite her two gold successes.

She also won a surprise bronze medal in the 100m individual medley at the end of the second day's competition.

Meilutyte once again broke her own senior Lithuanian record with a powerful 1:00.65, having only qualified for the final in seventh position.

A final appearance in the 50m freestyle saw her finish fifth, again in a new national senior record of 24.97.

The 100m freestyle saw her qualify for the final in fourth position in 54.54, a Lithuanian 17 years and under record.

But Meilutyte withdrew from the event to prepare and challenge fully in the 50m breaststroke final, the two finals being only minutes apart. Meilutyte's coach, Jon Rudd, saw the teenager's performance as an important step in preparation for a challenge on the World Short Course breaststroke titles this December in Istanbul.

Both Rudd and Meilutyte are plotting a successful route to the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Meilutyte said: "This has been a really positive meet for me, with all of my results being very pleasing and giving me great confidence going into the World Championships in December."

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