ROME, Italy, July 31. ZIMBABWE's Kirsty Coventry became the first woman in FINA World Championships history under 2:07 in the women's 200 back during prelims of the event this morning.
Coventry clocked a time of 2:06.72, nearly a second and a half off her world record, but inside of Margaret Hoelzer's meet record of 2:07.16 from 2007. Coventry's time is the seventh fastest of all time, and gives her five of the top 10 times in the events history.
Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth finished second in 2:07.69, while Elizabeth Beisel of the U.S. snagged the third seed with a 2:07.98.
Australia's Belinda Hocking (2:08.07), Russia's Anastasia Zueva (2:08.11), France's Alexianne Castel (2:08.96), the United States' Elizabeth Pelton (2:09.12) and Poland's Alicja Tchorz (2:09.74) were the rest of the top eight seeds. Tchorz dropped her national record of 2:10.38 set in May.
Canada's Lauren Lavigna (2:10.03), Japan's Tomoyo Fukuda (2:10.15), Denmark's Pernille Jessing Larsen (2:10.27), Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (2:10.31), Ukraine's Daryna Zevina (2:10.41), Japan's Aya Terakawa (2:10.90), Czech's Simona Baumrtova (2:11.08) and Australia's Sophie Edington (2:11.53) snagged the rest of the semifinal transfer spots.
Lavigna smashed the Canadian record of 2:11.16 set by Jennifer Fratesi in 2001, while Larsen clipped the Denmark standard of 2:10.37 she set in April. Baumrtova lowered her national mark of 2:11.89 set in June.