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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, December 14. THE first day of finals at the FINA World Short Course Championships is complete in Dubai, and 2010 witnessed its first world record since the techsuit ban went into place on Jan. 1 this year.
Men's 200 free finals
USA's Ryan Lochte called his shot during prelims with a meet-record time of 1:42.38. That swim wiped out the long-standing record of 1:43.28 set by Ian Thorpe in Hong Kong in 1999, and moved Lochte to third in the world this year behind Danila Izotov (1:41.84) and Yannick Agnel (1:41.96). Izotov made finals, but Agnel missed out with a surprising 10th-place 1:43.51. It also beat the ratified American record time of 1:42.78 set by Michael Phelps in East Meadow in 2006.
Lochte returned in the finale to post a blazing fast time of meet-record time of 1:41.08. That swim is the fastest by a citizen of the U.S., either ratified or un-ratified. His time beat the un-ratified top time by an American of 1:42.17 set by Peter Vanderkaay at the Duel in the Pool in Manchester last year. USA Swimming elected not to ratify times swum in a techsuit after implementing its own techsuit ban in Oct. 2009, even though the worldwide ban took place Jan. 2010.
Notably, his time far surpassed Izotov's previously top-ranked effort of 1:41.84 from the European Short Course Championships, and moved Lochte to fifth all time in the event.
Izotov raced to a strong second-place time of 1:41.70 to improve upon his season best effort from the European Short Course Championships, while Tunisia's Ous Mellouli checked in with a third-place 1:42.02.
Russia's Nikita Lobintsev (1:42.03), Germany's Paul Biedermann (1:42.19), Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski (1:42.73), Australia's Tommaso D'Orsogna (1:42.96) and Cayman Island's Shaune Fraser (1:43.91) completed the finale.
Women's 200 fly finals
World-record holder Liu Zige of China paid for a painful front-half. Liu shot out to a lead through the first 150 meters, including being out under her world-record pace with a 58.20 at the 100-meter mark. Liu, however, fell all the way back to fifth place out of lane eight in the final 50 meters with a 2:04.78. That time is well off her world record of 2:00.78 set last year.
Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia maintained an even pace throughout to set a meet record in 2:03.59. She went from fifth place at the 150 with a 1:32.01 to first, to clear Mary DeScenza's 2008 record swim of 2:04.27 from the books. Garcia fell short of her national record of 2:03.01 from last year, but beat Elaine Breeden for the top spot in the world this year. Breeden owned the previous top time with a 2:04.26 from November.
Great Britain's Jemma Lowe moved from fourth to second in the final 50 meters with a second-place 2:03.94 that clipped her British record of 2:04.01 set in 2008 and moved her to second in the world rankings this year. Sweden's Petra Granlund completed the podium with a third-place 2:04.38 for fourth in the rankings.
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu (2:04.68), Australia's Felicity Galvez (2:04.98), Canada's Audrey Lacroix (2:06.52) and Italy's Alessia Polieri (2:06.98) made up the rest of the championship heat. Hosszu downed Agnes Mutina's Hungarian record of 2:05.26 from last year.
Women's 400 IM finals
Spain's Mireia Belmont Garcia completed a double-gold outing this evening with a touch-out triumph over China's Ye Shiwen, 4:24.21 to 4:24.55, in the distance medley event. Garcia's effort clipped Hannah Miley's European record of 4:24.51 set last year, and cleared Garcia's Spanish standard of 4:25.06 set back in 2008. They both far surpassed Julia Smit's previously top-ranked time of 4:27.70 set at the Tokyo stop of the World Cup this year, with Garcia improving to third in the event's history behind Smit's world record of 4:21.04 and Kathryn Meaklim's second-ranked 4:22.88.
Both Garcia and Ye beat the previous textile best of 4:26.52 set by Kirsty Coventry at the 2008 World Championships, which also stood as the meet record heading into this evening. Ye, notably, crushed her Asian record of 4:28.67 set in October.
China's Li Xuanxu (4:29.05) finished well behind for third place, while Miley earned fourth in 4:29.77. Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (4:30.44), USA's Ariana Kukors (4:31.01), Czech's Barbora Zavadova (4:35.01) and Japan's Maiko Fujino (4:36.16) made up the rest of the finale.
Men's 400 free relay finals
The French team of Alain Bernard, Fred Bousquet, Fabien Gilot and Yannick Agnel held off Russia's Evgeny Lagunov, Sergey Fesikov, Nikita Lobintsev and Danila Izotov, 3:04.78 to 3:04.82, in an exciting finale. Both times cleared the previous European record (3:04.98) set by France back in 2008. They also demolished Russia's meet record of 3:07.78 set during preliminary qualifying.
Brazil's Nicholas Santos, Cesar Cielo, Marcelo Chierighini and Nicolas Oliveira finished third in 3:05.74, while the U.S. team of Nathan Adrian, Garrett Weber-Gale, Ricky Berens and Ryan Lochte faded to fourth in a time of 3:06.10. That fourth-place effort will hold Lochte back from a medal sweep of his eight events this week.
Australia (3:06.18), Italy (3:06.56), China (3:11.03) and Sweden (3:11.29) also swam in finals.
Women's 800 free relay finals
China's Chen Qian, Tang Yi, Liu Jing and Zhu Qianwei became the first people to break a world record since the techsuit ban took place on Jan. 1, 2010. The foursome obliterated the global mark of 7:38.90 set by The Netherlands at this meet in 2008. The Chinese finished with an astounding 7:35.94 for the new record. In total, four teams beat the former world record with Australia (7:37.57), France (7:38.33) and the U.S. (7:38.42) all clocking swifter times.
Here are the comparative splits against the world record:
The Netherlands, 7:38.90
Inge Dekker, 1:55.36; Femke Heemskerk,1:53.44; Marleen Veldhuis, 1:54.17; Ranomi Kromowidjojo, 1:55.93
Chen Qian, 1:54.73; Tang Yi, 1:53.54; Liu Jing, 1:53.59; Zhu Qianwei, 1:54.08
Blair Evans, 1:54.87; Jade Neilsen, 1:54.87; Kelly Stubbins, 1:55.41; Kylie Palmer, 1:52.42
Camille Muffat, 1:53.17 (French/Meet record); Coralie Balmy, 1:53.71; Mylene Lazare, 1:56.24; Ophelie Cyrielle Etienne, 1:55.21
United States, 7:38.42 (previous American record (7:45.58))
Katie Hoff, 1:53.37 (American record); Dagny Knutson, 1:56.15; Missy Franklin, 1:55.30; Dana Vollmer, 1:53.60
France's Camille Muffat and USA's Katie Hoff led off the relays with strong 200-meter free swims of 1:53.17 and 1:53.37, respectively. Muffat downed the French record of 1:53.18 set by Coralie Balmy back in 2008, while Hoff trumped the ratified American record of 1:53.67 set by Dana Vollmer in Berlin this year. Allison Schmitt owns the un-ratified top American time with a 1:51.67 from the Duel in the Pool last year. Muffat's time now also stands as the meet record in the event.
Notably, the U.S. time also demolished the American record of 7:45.58 set by Mary DeScenza, Margaret Hoelzer, Erin Reilly and Rachel Komisarz back in 2008.
Sweden (7:41.91), Italy (7:46.80), Hungary (7:47.70) and Russia (7:48.97) also took part in the history swim.
Women's 50 breast semis
The three top times in the world went on the board in the sprint breast semis with China's Zhao Jin topped allcomers with a 29.96. That swim beat the Chinese record of 30.17 set by Luo Xuejuan back in 2002. Australia's Leiston Pickett checked in with a swift second-place time of 29.98, while USA's Rebecca Soni qualified third in 30.00. All three swims cleared the previously top-ranked time of 30.10 set by both Jennie Johansson and Yuliya Efimova this year.
Efimova (30.16), Jamaica's Alia Atkinson (30.19), Germany's Dorothea Brandt (30.39), China's Randi Wang (30.44) and Australia's Sarah Katsoulis (30.46) made finals, while Johansson missed the finale with a ninth-place 30.56.
Men's 100 back semis
Russia's Stanislav Donets cruised to the top time in 49.62. That swim came up short of his already top-ranked effort of 49.35 at the European Short Course Championships, but broke the meet record of 49.99 set by Ryan Lochte back in 2006. Donets is the only swimmer to clear 50 seconds so far this year, and is the favorite heading into finals.
France's Camille Lacourt raced to second in 50.53 to move to third in the world this year behind Guilherme Guido's 50.46 from the Jose Finkel Trophy Meet in September. USA's Nick Thoman picked up third-place honors in 50.69 to grab fifth in the world rankings.
France's Jeremy Stravius (50.75), Guido (50.83), Spain's Ashwin Wildeboer Faber (50.90), USA's David Plummer (50.94) and Japan's Ryosuke Irie (50.98) also made finals.
Men's 100 breast semis
USA's Mike Alexandrov ripped off a sterling time of 57.18 to lead finale qualifying in the event. That swim beat the ratified American record of 57.47 set by Ed Moses back in 2002, but fell short of Alexandrov's personal best of 57.16 set at the Duel in the Pool last year. As already explained in Lochte's American record, techsuit swims were not ratified by USA Swimming after Oct 2009. He also beat the meet record of 57.60 set by Fabio Scozzoli during prelims. Notably, Alexandrov moved to second in the world rankings with the swim behind Felipe Silva's 56.79 from the Jose Finkel Trophy Meet in September.
Silva, meanwhile, checked in with a second-place tie with South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh with matching 57.19s to set up a potentially strong battle for the gold medal tonight.
Scozzoli (57.35), Hungary's Daniel Gyurta (57.84), Japan's Naoya Tomita (57.97) and Kazakhstan's Vladislav Polyakov (58.34) finished fourth through seventh, while Australia's Brenton Rickard and China's Wang Shuai set up a swimoff with matching eighth-place 58.37s.
Women's 100 back semis
China's Gao Chang led the way with a meet-record time of 56.58 in the semifinal round. That performance beat the previous mark of 57.10 set by Kirsty Coventry back in 2008, but fell short of Emily Seebohm's top-ranked time of 56.58 from July.
USA youngster Missy Franklin continued to prove she has what it takes to swim against world-class talent with a second-seeded time of 57.49, just short of her fifth-ranked time of 57.33 from prelims. China's Zhao Jing earned third-place from semis with a 57.54.
USA's Natalie Coughlin (57.61), Australia's Rachel Goh (57.76), Russia's Anastasia Zueva (57.79), Belarus' Aleksandra Gerasimenya (58.03) and Spain's Mercedes Peris Minguet (58.31) grabbed the other transfer spots into finals.
Men's 100 fly semis
The first semifinal proved to be the swiftest with the top three qualifiers coming from there. Venezuela's Albert Subirats (50.51), Japan's Masayuki Kishida (50.58) and Brazil's Kaio Almeida (50.62) all advanced out of semifinal one. All three fell short of the two top-ranked times in the world of 49.95 by Steffen Deibler and 50.38 by Jason Dunford.
Poland's Konrad Czerniak (50.77), Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin (50.78), Slovenia's Peter Mankoc (50.90), The Netherlands' Joeri Verlinden (50.91) and Dunford (50.98) all made the championship final as it took a sub-51 to swim for the title.