MANCHESTER, England, April 12. KIRSTY Coventry of Zimbabwe blasted the former global mark in the 200 IM, which is the oldest on in the books for short course meters, with a finals swim in the FINA Short Course World Championships.
Coventry shot out well ahead of record pace at the 100 mark with a time of 58.91 at the halfway point compared to the former record holder's 100 split of 1:01.65. She finished the race in a time of 2:06.13.
Coventry improved upon the former mark of 2:07.79, which Allison Wagner of the United States set back in 1993. Wagner's mark also stood as the former World Championship mark. Coventry reset her national standard of 2:08.59, which she set last night in the semifinal heats. That mark also stood as the former African record.
Coventry told meet organizers that she hopes there is no limit to how fast she can go.
"I hope I can go into Beijing and just kind of keep the ball rolling," Coventry said. "You know, everyone's swimming so fast."
Mireia Belmonte of Spain followed closely behind Coventry and broke the former world record barrier as well. Belmonte gained ground on Coventry on the breaststroke and freestyle legs, but Coventry's swift backstroke created too large of a gap for Belmonte to overcome. Belmonte finished second in 2:07.47.
Belmonte broke the European record with her swim. Yana Klochkova from Ukrane set the former mark of 2:08.28 in 2002. Belmonte reset her national record of 2:09.86, which she set yesterday.
Belmonte told meet organizers that she got a late start before kicking it into gear.
"I entered the water late as usual, but then I made a good comeback," Belmonte said.
Hannah Miley from Great Britain took the bronze medal with a 2:08.79 swim. Jiaxing Li of China finished up fourth (2:09.15).
Elizabeth Simmonds of Great Britain (2:09.24), Helen Norfolk of New Zealand (2:10.17), Jing Liu of China (2:10.81) and Emily Silver from the United States (2:10.90) rounded out the championship final finishers.