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BARCELONA, Spain, July 29. WITH all the talk mostly centering around reigning Olympic champion Dana Vollmer as the heavy favorite in the women’s 100-meter fly, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom dashed that conversation by reclaiming her world title at the FINA World Championships.
Sjostrom, the 2009 victor with a former world-record time of 56.06, topped the finale this evening in 56.53. That’s the 11th-fastest time ever in the event, and made her just the third swimmer to ever win the event twice. Kornelia Ender is the only swimmer to ever defend a title with wins in 1973 and 1975, while Jenny Thompson won in 1998 and 2003.
Australia’s Alicia Coutts, meanwhile, opened what is going to be a difficult 100 fly/200 IM finale double with a silver in 56.97. This is her second medal after anchoring Australia to silver in the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay at the end of an incredibly tough triple last night. That’s her second straight runner-up finish in the event, after taking second to Vollmer in 2011.
Vollmer rounded out the podium with a time of 57.24, which is still a pretty solid outing considering she began getting back into training just about six months ago after taking an extended break following her Olympic triumph.
Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen Gray pushed the pace hard early with a 26.06 first 50, then died as she took fourth in 57.27. Canada’s Katerine Savard couldn’t replicate her national record of 57.31 as she took fifth overall in 57.97.
Italy’s Ilaria Bianchi (58.11), Canada’s Noemie Thomas (58.13) and USA’s Claire Donahue (58.30) also competed in the championship finale.