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July 31, 2009

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Home » Sports » Swimming

Chinese dazzle as records fall

SEVEN more world records on the fifth night of the world championships pushed the total to 29, sending Rome right past last summer's Beijing Olympics that were thought to be the limits of speed in the pool.

That meet will be left in the dust - there are three more days still to go at the Foro Italico.

China closed out the biggest assault on the record book yet with its win in the women's 800-freestyle relay. The time of 7 minute, 42.08 seconds easily surpassed the previous record of 7:44.31, set by Australia at the Beijing Games. The Americans also broke the previous mark (7:42.56) but settled for silver.

How fast were they swimming in those high-tech suits that will soon be banned by FINA? More than half of the 13 races held last night, including semifinals and finals, produced world records. They were falling so fast, the crowd barely had time to cheer before another mark dropped.

Zhao Jing seized gold in the women's 50 meters backstroke.

Zhao stormed off the starting blocks and never relented to win in 27.06 seconds, beating the 27.38 mark Russia's Anastasia Zueva set in Wednesday's semifinals.

Germany's former world record holder Daniela Samulski, who also lowered her own mark in the first semi before Zueva took it down further in the second, won silver.

Zhao's compatriot Gao Chang claimed the bronze medal with Zueva only fourth.

Brazil's Cesar Cielo Filho smashed the world record to snatch gold in the men's 100 meters freestyle final at the world championships in Rome yesterday.

The Brazilian swam 46.91 seconds to beat the absent Eamon Sullivan's Beijing Olympic time of 47.05.

Olympic champion and favorite Alain Bernard was second with French compatriot Frederick Bousquet third.

"I think the three of us took swimming to a new level. I did it," Cielo Filho told reporters.

Bernard was the first to break the 47 second barrier at the French championships in April but his time was not ratified because his hi-tech swimsuit was not approved.

The Frenchman clocked 47.12 to finish second.

Australia's Sullivan was missing because of a virus while 2007 champion Filippo Magnini was dumped out in the semifinals.

Australia's Jessicah Schipper grabbed gold in the 200 meters butterfly, swimming two minutes 03.41 seconds to beat the 2:04.14 set by Mary Descenza in Wednesday's heats. China's Liu Zige was second with Katinka Hosszu of Hungary third.

Ryan Lochte smashed Michael Phelps' world record to win the men's 200 meters individual medley final. The American swam one minute 54.10 to beat Phelps' Beijing Olympic time of 1:54.23.

Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, who arrived at the championships with a stomach problem, was second with Eric Shanteau of the United States taking bronze. Shanteau is best known for competing at last year's Olympics after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.


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