FINA World Championships editorial coverage is proudly sponsored by SpeedoUSA. For all the latest coverage, check out our event coverage page.
BARCELONA, Spain, August 3. JUST hours after pulling a bit of an upset with her win in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, Russia’s Yuliya Efimova rocked the world record in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke preliminary heats at the FINA World Championships.
Coming into today with a 30.09 best from the 2009 FINA World Championships where she won the world title, Efimova became the third woman to ever break 30 seconds with a blistering time of 29.78. That effort clipped Jessica Hardy’s world record of 29.80 set in 2009, and beat Ruta Meilutyte’s short-lived European and meet record of 29.97 set as a 100-meter breast split earlier this week.
Efimova’s time is the fourth world record of the week. All three women’s breaststroke events took a tumble, while Katie Ledecky and Lotte Friis also smashed Kate Ziegler’s mark in the 1500 free.
Along with her mild upset of world-record holder Rikke Moller Pedersen last night in the 200, Efimova could finish the meet with her third world title to go along with her 2009 win. She already had two golds and four silvers to her name in world championship competition.
Hardy, who trains with Efimova under head coach Dave Salo at Trojan Swim Club in California, qualified second with a 29.99. She has the distinction of being the only swimmer to ever break 30 second multiple times as that is now her third sub-30 effort, but first in textile. She also owns the former world record with a 29.80 and a 29.95 from a time trial at the 2009 U.S. Open.
Meilutyte just missed another sub-30 with a third-ranked time of 30.07, while USA’s Breeja Larson took fourth in 30.46. Sweden’s Jennie Johansson (30.55), Ukraine’s Mariia Liver (30.68), Czech’s Petra Chocova (30.77) and The Netherlands’ Moniek Nijhuis (30.82) made up the rest of the top eight.
Ireland’s Fiona Doyle (30.93), Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson (31.12), Spain’s Marina Garcia Urzainqui (31.22), Denmark’s Pedersen (31.23), Sweden’s Rebecca Ejdervik (31.39), China’s He Yuzhe (31.46), Australia’s Samantha Marshall (31.49) and Iceland’s Hilda Luthersdottir (31.50) rounded up the other spots in the sprint breaststroke semifinals.