FINA World Championships, Swimming: Women’s 50 Back World Record Threatened, Aleksandra Gerasimenya Finishes With Meet Record

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ROME, Italy, July 29. THE women's 50 back meet record fell twice during preliminary heats at the FINA World Championships, while the world record nearly went down.

China's Zhao Jing clocked a 27.85 in the 12th heat to lower Anastasia Zueva's meet record of 28.13 set yesterday. Belarus' Aleksandra Gerasimenya, however, came over the top in the 13th heat with a meet-record time of 27.65. Her performance nearly cleared the world record of 27.61 set by Germany's Daniela Samulski in June. She also joined the 27 club for the first time, beating her previous national mark of 28.19.

Samulski finished second in 27.70, tying Zueva for the seed. Zueva comes into the event as the uncrowned world record holder. Initially, Zueva set the world record with a 27.47 and 27.48 at the Russian National Championships in April. However, she was wearing an unapproved suit at the time and the records were rolled back to the 27.67 held by Sophie Edington and Zhao at the time. Before the rollback, Zueva checked in with a 27.56 at the Mare Nostrum circuit. Since the clocking at the time was not faster than her 27.4s, meet organizers did not perform a drug test even though the performance occurred in an approved suit at the time.

Edington qualified fourth in 27.82, while Zhao's time put her fifth overall. Hayley McGregory of the U.S. took sixth with a 27.88, while Brazil's Fabiola Molina (27.94) and Japan's Aya Terakawa (27.95) were among the top eight – all under 28. Molina lowered her national mark of 28.19.

China's Gao Chang (28.02), Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth (28.19), The Netherlands' Hinkelien Schreuder (28.23), Australia's Emily Seebohm (28.25), Italy's Elena Gemo (28.27), Croatia's Sanja Jovanovic (28.28), Japan's Shiho Sakai (28.31) and Spain's Mercedes Peris (28.51) completed the semifinal field.