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SHANGHAI, China, July 27. RUSSIA's Anastasia Zueva put on a show in the women's 50 back for the top seed in the finale at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
Zueva clocked a 27.88 in the second semifinal for the top seed, and will be looking to take down the textile best of 27.45 set by Gao Chang in 2010. Russia has never won, much less medaled in, this event since it began being offered in 2001.
Spain's Mercedes Peris Minguet cleared 28 seconds for the first time with a 27.93 to tie for the second seed. Her previous lifetime best was a 16th-ranked effort of 28.01. Meanwhile, Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia joined Minguet with a 27.93 to complete the sub-28 efforts in the semifinals.
China's Gao Chang, the textile best holder, qualified fourth in 28.05 and will be looking to improve upon her bronze medal outing in 2009.
"I'm in better form tonight," Gao said. "I am feeling some pressure ahead of the final, but I won't let it cause me to fail. I will pay attention to the takeoff and touch. I'm confident that I can win the gold medal."
Canada's Julia Wilkinson (28.10), USA's Missy Franklin (28.14), Japan's Aya Terakawa (28.16) and Australia's Emily Seebohm (28.19) completed the rest of the championship field.
Wilkinson clipped her Canadian record, besting the 28.13 she clocked in March of this year.
"I am definitely not used to swimming the 50, but I love it," Franklin said. "You just have to swim as fast as you can."