Olympics, Swimming: Flash Alain Bernard Reclaims World Record in Semifinal 1 of 100 Free, Eamon Sullivan Says Give Me That Back

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 13. WELCOME to a new realm in sprinting.

In back-to-back semifinals of the 100 freestyle this morning, France's Alain Bernard and Australia's Eamon Sullivan exchanged world-record performances to set up a dazzling championship final. More, the first sub-47 performance in the history of the event could be on the horizon. Yes, it's a different age in the sport.

Swimming in the first semifinal, Bernard rocketed off the blocks and delivered a time of 47.20 to wipe out the 47.24 standard that Sullivan set during his leadoff leg in the 400 freestyle relay. That record lasted just a few minutes, however, as Sullivan answered back in the second semifinal with a showing of 47.05.

While Bernard has clearly rebounded from his come-from-ahead defeat to Jason Lezak on the anchor leg of the 400 free relay, Sullivan looks unreal. Heck, the entire field is sizzling, with six athletes going 47-point during the semifinal round. The No. 3 qualifier was the Netherlands' Pieter van den Hoogenband, the two-time defending champion. He was timed in 47.68.

Grabbing the fourth position for the championship final was Australian Matt Targett, who was followed in the No. 5 slot by Sweden's Stefan Nystrand (47.91). Lezak came on strong in his semifinal to qualify sixth in 47.98. The field will be rounded out by South African Lyndon Ferns (48.00) and Brazilian Cesar Cielo (48.07).

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