2013worldsspeedo Dana Vollmer
Courtesy of: Joan Marc Bosch
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BARCELONA, Spain, July 28. THE first day of preliminary competition at the FINA World Championships kicks off today with the women's 100-meter butterfly event. USA's Dana Vollmer is looking to become just the third swimmer to ever win a pair of world titles in the event, and the first to defend since Kornelia Ender in 1973-75.

Vollmer could become just the second U.S. swimmer to win the 100 fly twice as Jenny Thompson also won in 1998 and 2003, and Vollmer is definitely the favorite heading into prelims this morning.

Vollmer certainly did what she needed to do this morning to move on to the semifinal heats to defend her title. The Olympic champion threw down a sizzling time of 57.22 that puts her second in the world rankings behind only Alicia Coutts' 57.18 from Australian Nationals. The 2011 champion should continue to push the pace during the semifinal heats.

Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom touched just behind Vollmer with a 57.28 for the second seed heading into semis. That puts her third in the world, up from a fourth-ranked tie from a previous season best of 57.63 from the Mare Nostrum circuit. Canada's Katerine Savard popped a third-place time of 57.31 to better her Canadian record of 57.40 set at the TYR Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions earlier this summer.

Coutts, meanwhile, checked in with a 57.56 for fourth overall, but has already shown this year she has more in the tank as evidenced by her world-leading performance. Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray (57.79), Canada's Noemie Thomas (58.11), Italy's Ilaria Bianchi (58.22) and Australia's Brittany Elmslie (58.27) rounded out the top eight.

Also making their way into semis were Great Britain's Jemma Lowe (58.38), USA's Claire Donahue (58.58), Norway's Ingvild Snildal (58.83), China's Lu Ying (58.93), Singapore's Li Tao (58.94), Hungary's Evelyn Verrastzo (58.95) and Brazil's Daynara De Paula (59.16). Japan's Natsumi Hoshi and Spain's Judit Ignacio Sorribes set up a swimoff for 16th place with matching 59.18s.

In an incredible close swimoff, Hoshi touched out Ignacio Sorribes, 58.83 to 58.87, for the final spot in semis.

Results: FINA World Championships: Women's 100 Fly Prelims

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