By John Lohn
MONTREAL, Canada, July 30. A specialist in the event, Australia’s Jade Edmistone cruised through the semifinals of the women’s 50-meter breaststroke, using a 30.61 clocking to qualify for the final as the top seed. Edmistone broke a championship record with her swim and came tantalizingly close to the world record of 30.57, held by New Zealand’s Zoe Baker, formerly of Great Britain.
The United States’ Jessica Hardy, who set a world record in the 100 breast earlier in the week and claimed silver in the final of that event, qualified second for Sunday’s championship heat with a time of 31.10. She finished just ahead of Australia’s Brooke Hanson, the Olympic silver medalist in the 100 breast. Hanson recorded a time of 31.15.
American Tara Kirk picked up the fourth-fastest qualifying time, as she zipped through her one lap in 31.26. Kirk won bronze in the 100 breast and was followed in qualifying by Great Britain’s Kate Haywood, who touched the pads in 31.41. The defending champion, China’s Luo Xuejuan, was sixth in 31.45. Luo has been battling an ankle injury and is not in top form. Baker advanced to the final as the seventh seed (31.58) and Germany’s Janne Schaefer was eighth (31.76).