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SHANGHAI, China, July 26. VISIONS of the first post-techsuit era world record were on everyone's mind heading into the women's 100 breaststroke finale at the FINA World Long Course Championships, but USA's Rebecca Soni wound up being happy with dominating the field en route to a win.
Soni, who had already clocked a 1:04.91 textile best during qualifying heats earlier in the meet, won the finale in 1:05.05, which is still the sixth-fastest effort of all time and gives Soni five of the top six performances ever. The hopes and dreams of the bulk of the swimming community, however, were to see Soni break Jessica Hardy's world record of 1:04.45, which occurred during the techsuit era.
"I'm really happy with the time," Soni said. "It is hard but I never try to think about it, as I did not want to put pressure on me. Just go out and race, and enjoy it. I'm pretty confident, and I'll keep working."
Australia's Leisel Jones finished a distant second with a 1:06.25 to get back on the podium for the first time since winning back-to-back world titles in the event in 2005 and 2007.
"I'm a little disappointed but I'm happy that I got a silver medal," Jones said. "I'm pretty happy. Rebecca is going fast in the semifinal. I'm the second, and I'm super happy about it. There's so much work to do. I'm really looking forward to next year. I hope I can bring it out in London. It's important experiences for the London Olympics."
China's Ji Liping completed the podium with a bronze-winning time of 1:06.52.
"Every athlete has ups and downs, I think it's an important experience," Ji said. "I'm happy with the bronze. I used to have bad form as the training methods and coaches did not fit me well. Then a British coach was assigned to me by the Chinese team, so I regained my form."
Russia's Yuliya Efimova (1:06.56), China's Sun Ye (1:07.08), Denmark's Rikke Pedersen (1:07.28), Canada's Jillian Tyler (1:07.64) and The Netherlands' Moniek Nijhuis (1:07.97) comprised the rest of the championship field.