ROME, Italy, July 30. AMANDA Weir of the U.S. bettered the American record in the women's 100 free to pace qualifying in the event at the FINA World Championships.
Weir raced to a 53.20 in prelims to lower the 53.39 that Natalie Coughlin set on two occasions in 2008 – once at the Beijing Olympics and another at the Santa Clara Invitational.
Australia's Libby Trickett placed second in the same heat as Weir with a 53.49, while The Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo qualified third out of the final heat with a 53.61.
World record holder Britta Steffen of Germany clocked a 53.62 to qualify fourth, while Dana Vollmer of the U.S. finished fifth in 53.69. Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen (53.79), France's Malia Metella (53.91) and Great Britain's Fran Halsall (53.91) were among the top eight. Ottesen's time beat her national record of 54.04 set in 2008.
Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (53.94), Hungary's Evelyn Verraszto (53.94), Germany's Daniela Schreiber (54.08), China's Li Zhesi (54.10), New Zealand's Hayley Palmer (54.10), Canada's Victoria Poon (54.27), Belarus' Aleksandra Gerasimenya (54.52) and Australia's Marieke Guehrer (54.60) grabbed the rest of the semifinal spots.
Verraszto lowered her national mark of 53.99 from April with her swim, while Palmer crushed her time with a 54.85. Palmer was out under world record pace with a 25.44 first 50.