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SHANGHAI, China, July 24. THE first event of finals at the FINA World Long Course Championships in Shanghai featured some serious star power as Dana Vollmer of the United States tracked down the American record and textile best in the women's 100-meter butterfly semifinals.
Vollmer, who had given a run at both times with a 56.97 during prelims, scorched the pool with a sterling time of 56.47. That effort cleared the previous textile best of 56.61 owned by The Netherlands' Inge de Buijn since 2000. Additionally, it crushed Vollmer's previous American record of 56.94 set at the 2009 World Championships. All time, the effort stands fifth with Sarah Sjostrom's world record standing at 56.06.
"I'm very excited about [the record]," Vollmer said. "I have started to take charge of my own career. It's such an amazing pool. The arena is huge. The Chinese are very strong. But I have to focus on my own race. I love racing very much."
China's Lu Ying qualified second with a 57.18, while defending champion Sjostrom made the finale with a 57.29. Australia's Alicia Coutts (57.41), Great Britain's Jemma Lowe (57.57), China's Liu Zige (57.85), Australia's Jessicah Schipper (57.95) and Great Britain's Ellen Gandy (57.97) all made the finale as it took a sub-58 to get a chance for the world title.
"It was just so so, but better than in the heats this morning," Liu said. "For me, the world championships are kind of a warm-up for next year's London Olympic Games."