ROME, Italy, July 26. THE United States' Ariana Kukors scorched the women's 200 IM preliminary heats with an American record time at the FINA World Championships. Kukors clocked a sterling 2:08.53 to break Julia Smit's record of 2:09.34 set at the 2009 World Championships Trials in Indianapolis.
Kukors' time nearly beat Stephanie Rice's world record of 2:08.45, and moved her into second all time ahead of Kirsty Coventry's 2:08.59. Her time also beat the meet record of 2:10.13 set by Katie Hoff in 2007.
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu qualified second in a smoking fast time of 2:09.12 to lower Evelyn Verraszto's national record of 2:09.87. Hosszu's effort moved her into fourth all time behind Rice.
Rice qualified third with a swift 2:09.64, while Coventry rounded out the 2:09s in the morning with a 2:09.90 for fourth seed.
Great Britain's Hannah Miley finished fifth in 2:10.24, while Denmark's Julie Hjorth-Hansen posted a 2:10.53 for sixth, and her country's national record. That time beat her 2:11.29 set in April.
Smit qualified seventh in 2:10.94 for the U.S., while Australia's Emily Seebohm touched eighth in 2:11.31.
France's Camille Muffat (2:11.35), Verraszto (2:11.61). China's Liu Jing (2:11.91), Brazil's Joanna Maranhao-Melo (2:12.18), Italy's Francesca Segat (2:12.52), Japan's Tomoyo Fukuda (2:12.66), Russia's Daria Belyakina (2:12.80) and China's Li Jiaxing (2:13.47) made up the rest of the semifinal field.
Maranhao lowered her Brazilian record of 2:14.13 set in May, while Belyakina dropped Svetlana Karpeeva's 2:12.94 national mark from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.