FINA World Championships, Swimming: Femke Heemskerk Downs Netherlands Record; Scares Textile Best in 200 Free Semis

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SHANGHAI, China, July 26. FEDERICA Pellegrini's textile best in the women's 200 free was put on notice in the semifinal rounds at the FINA World Long Course Championships.

The Netherlands' Femke Heemskerk demolished the field of competitors with a scorching time of 1:55.54. That swim crushed her national record of 1:56.54 set in 2009, and nearly beat Pellegrini's textile best of 1:55.45 clocked last year. Heemskerk's time tonight stands tied for 14th on the all-time performances list, and puts her eighth on the performers list.

Heemskerk, a relay stalwart for The Netherlands, will be looking for her first individual medal in the finale, and her country's first world title in the event since Annemarie Verstappen won back in 1982.

Pellegrini, meanwhile, checked in with a second-seeded time of 1:56.42. Pellegrini is the reigning and defending world champion in the event after taking down the title in 2009.

"I think I can win if I swim like what I did in Rome 2009," Pellegrini said.

Australia's Kylie Palmer finished third in 1:56.59.

"I am pretty happy. I went into the final. That's the main thing," Palmer said "I know how fast I need to go through today's semifinal. I guess it is a big help. I can't wait for tomorrow night's final. I believe it will be good and interesting race. I fixed up a little this morning. I feel myself stronger. I hope tomorrow will be faster. I hope I will be pretty good in the final."

France's Camille Muffat (1:56.62), Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom (1:56.71), Australia's Bronte Barratt (1:56.90), Germany's Silke Lippok (1:57.02) and USA's Allison Schmitt (1:57.07) also made the finale.

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