ROME, Italy, July 26. WORLD record holder Federica Pellegrini of Italy paced qualifying in the women's 400 free with a meet record time at the FINA World Championships.
Pellegrini, who was out under her world record pace with a 1:58.88 at the 200-meter mark, clocked a 4:01.96 to top the preliminary heats. That effort cleared Laure Manaudou's meet standard of 4:02.61 set in 2007. Pellegrini's performance stands fifth all time.
Allison Schmitt of the U.S. nearly tracked down Katie Hoff's American record of 4:02.20 with a second-seeded 4:02.80, while Great Britain's Joanne Jackson finished third in 4:03.48.
France's Coralie Balmy qualified fourth in 4:04.12, while Romania's Camelia Potec placed fifth in 4:04.25. France's Ophelie-Cyrielle Etienne wound up with the sixth seed in 4:05.25, while Denmark's Lotte Friis clocked a 4:05.40 for seventh. Her time beat her national record of 4:06.53 set in June. Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington cut it close by claiming the final transfer spot with a 4:05.70 to move on to the finale.