ROME, Italy, July 26. THE first day of swimming at the FINA World Championships began with a bang as Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom nearly cleared the oldest world record in the books in the women's 100 fly.
Sjostrom, swimming in heat 9, raced to a 56.76. That performance wiped out the meet record of 57.15 set by Libby Lenton back in 2007, and crushed Therese Alshammar's national mark of 57.56 set in July. But, the effort could not eclipse the 56.61 set by Inge de Bruijn back in 2000. The 56.76 puts Sjostrom fourth all time behind de Bruijn, Marleen Veldhuis (56.69) and Lenton/Trickett (56.73).
Dana Vollmer of the U.S. qualified second in 57.15, just missing Christine Magnuson's American record of 57.08 set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Australia's Jessicah Schipper touched third in 57.17, while China's Zhou Yafei claimed fourth in 57.34.
Magnuson qualified fifth with a 57.48, while Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen cleared her country's national record with a 57.58 for sixth. She bettered the 57.97 set by Micha Ostergaard back in April.
Norway's Ingvild Snildal provided another national mark in prelims with a 57.67 for seventh, which smashed her 58.67 set two weeks ago. France's Aurore Mongel followed with an eighth-place 57.75 to beat her national standard of 57.80 set in April.
Australia's Felicity Galvez (57.76), China's Jiao Liuyang (57.90), Germany's Annika Mehlhorn (58.04), Veldhuis (58.06), Great Britain's Ellen Gandy (58.07), Brazil's Daynara De Paula (58.26), Japan's Yuka Kato (58.31) and Brazil's Gabriella Silva (58.35) completed the top 16. Mehlhorn's time lowered her national record of 58.45 set in June.