Coventry sets, breaks own world record at short-course worlds

Updated: April 11, 2008, 6:00 PM ET
Associated Press

MANCHESTER, England -- Swimmers attacked the record book again Friday at the short-course world championships.

Five more world records were set on the third day of the meet, raising the total to nine.

Duje Draganja of Croatia established a new mark in the men's 50 freestyle -- swimming's signature race -- and Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe set a best time in the women's 200-meter backstroke for her second world record of the meet, as did Ryan Lochte of the United States by taking the men's 200 individual medley.

"Once you see one world record fall, you've just got to take all that excitement and put it into your race," Lochte said.

Felicity Galvez of Australia established another world mark in the women's 50 butterfly, and the U.S. team of Margaret Hoelzer, Jessica Hardy, Rachel Komisarz and Kara Denby had the final record of the day in the women's 400 medley relay.

Draganja clocked 20.81, shaving 0.12 off Stefan Nystrand's record from November.

Local favorite Mark Foster finished second in 21.31, and Gerhard Zandberg of South Africa was third in 21.33. The 37-year-old Foster recently came out of retirement and qualified for Britain's Olympic squad.

Since Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit was introduced in February, there also have been 19 long-course world marks set. All but one of them have come with swimmers wearing the LZR.

Lochte was showing stubble on his face -- unusual for hair-conscious swimmers.

"You don't need to [shave] with this on," he said, nodding down to his LZR suit.

Lochte touched in 1:51.56, nearly a second and a half faster than Laszlo Cseh's old mark of 1:52.99 set in December.

It was Lochte's second world record of the week and third gold. He led off the U.S. relay squad that set a world mark in the 400 free relay Wednesday and defended his title in the 400 IM on Thursday.

Rising British swimmer Liam Tancock pushed Lochte and finished second in 1:53.10.

Coventry also has won three golds in three days.

"I'm having a great meet," she said. "My sister and her husband and some family are in the crowd. This is the first time they have seen me at such a big meet. It's pretty cool."

Coventry started the streak with the LZR suit when she broke the world record in the long-course 200 back Feb. 16. On Friday, her time of 2:00.91 was 2.33 seconds better than Reiko Nakamura of Japan's old world record set in February.

Elizabeth Simmonds of Britain also finished ahead of the previous record, finishing second in 2:02.60.

Coventry already set a world record in the 400 IM and broke her own meet mark in the 100 back on the first two days of the meet. She got back in the pool later and finished third in the 100 individual medley, which was won by Shayne Reese of Australia.

Galvez set her mark at 25.32, improving on Anna Kammerling's old mark from 2005 by the slimmest of margins -- 0.01.

At the Australian Olympic trials, Galvez failed to qualify for the 200 butterfly.

"I was disappointed that I didn't make the 200 fly for the Olympics, but I'm just really trying to learn a lot of things from that meet," she said.

Galvez already has plans for the $15,000 prize that comes with a world record.

"My boyfriend and I we've bought a house in Canberra, so it helps take a chunk off the home loan," she said. "And I'll probably get a couple pairs of shoes. I love shoes."

The U.S. relay squad won in 3:51.36 -- improving on Australia's 3:51.84 from two years ago.

Five championship records also were set in the evening session: Marleen Velduis of the Netherlands won the women's 100 free in 52.17 to tie Therese Alshammar's meet record from 2000; Liam Tancock of Britain timed 23.41 in the 50 back semifinals; and Adam Pine of Australia finished in 22.70 in the 50 fly semifinals.

Also, Jessica Hardy of the United States touched in 1:04.63 in the women's 100 breast semifinals for a meet mark and Kylie Palmer of Australia swam 3:59.23 to win the 400 free.

In other events, Yuriy Prilukov of Russia defended his title in the men's 400 free, and Kristopher Gilchrist of Britain won the men's 200 breaststroke.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE