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SHANGHAI, China, July 24. ITALY's Federica Pellegrini defended her world title in the women's 400 free with a textile best effort at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
Pellegrini dominated the entire field, winning with open water, en route to a scorching time of 4:01.97 – the ninth-fastest swim of all time. That swim cleared the textile best time of 4:02.13 previously owned by Laure Manaudou of France since she clocked it in 2006. Pellegrini holds the world record with a 3:59.15 that occurred during the techsuit era.
"I'm very happy to confirm myself as a world champion again," Pellegrini said. "It's always very difficult to win. After the competition, I signaled a heart to my athletic trainer out of gratitude. My strategy was to start very fast and lead in the first 200 meters."
Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington finished a distant second with a 4:04.01, while France's Camille Muffat took bronze with a 4:04.06 in what was the most exciting race of the heat. Adlington's silver is an improvement from her bronze finish in 2009.
Australia's Kylie Palmer (4:04.62), Denmark's Lotte Friis (4:04.68), New Zealand's Lauren Boyle (4:06.11), USA's Katie Hoff (4:08.22) and Spain's Melania Costa Schmid (4:09.66) also vied for the world title.
Friis lowered her national record of 4:05.40 set at the 2009 World Championships.