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SHANGHAI, China, July 30. MISSY Franklin had been undoubtedly the breakout star for the U.S. at the FINA World Long Course Championships, and tonight she claimed her first individual world title with a textile best and American record effort in the women's 200 back.
Franklin charted an epic time of 2:05.10, cutting nearly a second off her textile best and American record of 2:05.90 clocked during the semifinal rounds. She nearly became the third swimmer ever to clear 2:05 in the event's history, and improved upon her third-fastest ranking. Kirsty Coventry (2:04.81) and Anastasia Zueva (2:04.94) both beat 2:05 during the techsuit era at the 2009 World Championships. Franklin now has two world titles, one individual and a relay victory from earlier in the meet.
"I'm just so, so, so happy," Franklin said. "I just went all out and had fun. That was my last individual race this week, and the time was great. It was just the most exciting race ever."
Australia's Belinda Hocking checked in with a silver-winning 2:06.06 to move to fourth all time in the event. That performance was inside the former textile best of 2:06.09 from Margaret Hoelzer heading into the meet, and crushed Hocking's Australian record of 2:06.88 from April of this year.
The Netherlands' Sharon van Rouwendaal took bronze with a 2:07.78 to move into 19th in the all-time rankings. During semis, she broke The Netherlands' national record with a 2:08.42, and further lowered it this evening. Ukraine's Daryna Zevina took fourth in 2:07.82 to move to 20th in the all-time rankings.
USA's Elizabeth Beisel (2:08.16), Australia's Meagen Nay (2:08.69), Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (2:08.76) and France's Alexianne Castel (2:09.07) also competed in the finale.