Sarah Sjostrom
Courtesy of: Kees-Jan van Overbeeke/Eindhoven Swim Cup
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BARCELONA, Spain, July 28. SWEDEN's Sarah Sjostrom, the former world-record holder in the women's 100-meter butterfly at the FINA World Championships, fired up the semifinal heats with a world-best effort this evening to start the show.

Sjostrom raced out to a 57.10 to clear Alicia Coutts' 57.18 from Australian Nationals as the top swim in the world this year, and will be looking to reclaim her world title from 2009 after watching Dana Vollmer take over as the top swimmer in the event for the past two years. Rome 2009 was the meet during which Sjostrom clocked her previous world record of 56.06, some questioning the legitimacy due to it being in the techsuit era before Vollmer came along with a 55.98 at the 2012 London Games.

In semifinal two, Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray turned in the third-fastest time of the year with a sizzling 57.19 to secure the second spot in the finale. Ottesen Gray claimed the world title in the 100-meter free in 2011, and is looking to add another long course medal to her tally.

Coutts, who will swim three times this evening, cruised in the first semi with a third-seeded time of 57.49. She should have more in the tank when finals come along tomorrow, even with the 200 IM and relay duty this evening.

Vollmer, who threw down a sizzling 57.22 this morning, put it on cruise control in the semifinals with a fourth-seeded time of 57.84, while Canada's Noemie Thomas finished fifth also under 58 with a 57.99. Vollmer, who won gold with her world record in London, also captured the world title in 2011 and is the defending champion after besting Coutts 56.87 to 56.94 in Shanghai.

Canada's Katerine Savard, who clocked a national record 57.31 this morning, wound up sixth in 58.00, while Italy's Ilaria Bianchi (58.29) and USA's Claire Donahue (58.44) rounded out the championship field. 2011 bronze medalist Lu Ying took 11th with a 58.67 and missed the finale.

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

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