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July 30, 2009

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Zhang smashes 800 record

ZHANG Lin of China smashed Grant Hackett's four-year-old 800 freestyle world record by more than six seconds at the world championships in Rome yesterday.

Zhang finished in 7 minutes, 32.12 seconds to destroy Grant Hackett's previous record of 7:38.65.

Tunisia's Ous Mellouli also went under the Australian's old mark but only collected silver.

Earlier, Michael Phelps bounced back from a stunning loss with something more familiar ?? another world record - yesterday.

One night after he was soundly beaten by Germany's Paul Biedermann, Phelps set a world record in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1 minute, 51.51 seconds - more than a half-second ahead of his previous mark, 1:52.03.

Phelps whipped around quickly to see his time and held up his right index finger when the "WR" was posted. And just like Beijing, he has taken down another Mark Spitz's standards, this time with the 34th world record of his career - one more than Spitz had during his brilliant run in the pool.

Shortly after he climbed from the pool, Italy's Federica Pellegrini sent the home crowd into a frenzy when she set the 20th world mark of the four-day-old meet in the 200 freestyle.

It didn't take long to set No. 21. South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh broke the mark he set in the semifinals to win the 50 breaststroke, a non-Olympic event.

Phelps couldn't wait to get on the podium to collect his first individual title at the Foro Italico. While his name was being announced in English and Italian, he stood impatiently with his right foot already on the stand. Finally, he hopped up to the highest rung, thrust both arms in the air with a defiant look that melted into a smile. He was back on top.

Russia's Anastasia Zueva broke the world record in the women's 50 meters backstroke semifinals just moments after Daniela Samulski lowered the mark.
Zueva, who broke the 100 backstroke world record earlier this week before that was bettered, swam 27.38 seconds in the second semifinal following Samulski's 27.39 in the first race. German Samulski had previously held the world record for her June 26 mark of 27.61.

Earlier, Mary Descenza set a world record in the women's 200 meters butterfly heats while China's Olympic champion Liu Zige was left trailing in the American's wake.


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