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Biedermann erases Phelps' record

GERMANY'S Paul Biedermann set a world record and beat twice champion Michael Phelps to win the 200 meters freestyle final at the world championships in Rome yesterday.

Biedermann, who had broken the world record to take gold in Sunday's 400 freestyle, swam one minute 42 seconds to beat Phelps' Beijing Olympic mark of 1:42.96.

"For the moment it is just like a dream. It's such an amazing feeling. I'm so fine," he told reporters.

Asked if he had thought he could beat Olympic champion Phelps, who won the world title in 2005 and 2007, Biedermann said: "Maybe in two or three years, not now."

Second-placed Phelps, who finished in 1:43.22, said: "Theoretically that was a pretty good swim for me. Three tenths off my best time after taking sixth months off. I'm not happy but I know I didn't train much this year."

Russia's Danila Izotov took bronze.

Britain's Gemma Spofforth set a world record to claim gold in the women's 100 meters backstroke .

Spofforth clocked 58.12 seconds to beat the mark of 58.48 that Russia's Anastasia Zueva set in the semifinals. Zueva took the silver after finishing just 0.06 of a second behind the Briton, with Australia's Emily Seebohm claiming bronze.

Zueva was leading after 50 meters and Spofforth credited her late mother for helping her come from behind to win.

"My mother got me there over the last 15 meters," Spofforth said.

Olympic champion and 2007 world champion Natalie Coughlin of the United States was not competing.

Alessia Filippi beat off a sustained challenge from Dane Lotte Friis to win the women's 1,500 meters freestyle world title in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

The Italian swam a championship record of 15 minutes 44.93 seconds. Camelia Alina Potec of Romania was third.

Also, Cameron van der Burgh destroyed the men's 50 meters breaststroke world record yesterday. The South African swam 26.74 seconds to beat Felipe Franca da Silva's May mark of 26.89.

Late on Monday, Aaron Peirsol, the world-record holder and two-time Olympic champion in the 100-meter backstroke, was stunningly knocked out in the semifinals, caught off guard by the lightning-quick times that dealt another beating to the record book on the second day of the championships.

Peirsol's time of 53.22 seconds was nearly a full second behind the top qualifier, Japan's Junya Koga, and a tenth of a second out of the eighth spot, the last that advances to the final.

Peirsol lingered in the water, staring at the scoreboard in disbelief. Less than three weeks earlier, he had pushed the world record to 51.94 at the US nationals.

"It's just a huge miscalculation," said Peirsol, the three-time defending world champion in the 100 back and winner of that event at the last two Olympics.

"I thought I was in a much better place, but if you're looking straight up you don't see much."


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