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Thursday November 12, 2009

Hardy eases to record, Phelps flops without high-tech suit

STOCKHOLM: American Jessica Hardy broke the women’s 50m breaststroke world record at a World Cup short-course event here yesterday.

Hardy won her morning heat by clocking 28.96, improving on her record of 29.36 set in Moscow four days ago. It was the fifth world record at the meet.

Confirmation: Jessica Hardy looks up after breaking her world record in the women's 50m breaststroke yesterday. - AP

Earlier, Michael Phelps reached the men’s final in the 200m but failed to progress in the 100m butterfly.

The American, who unlike most other swimmers has opted not to compete in the high-tech body suit which will be banned from Jan 1, clocked 1:56.09 to produce the second-best time in the morning heats, 0.1sec behind Swede Simon Sjodin.

Phelps, who made it into only one of three finals at Eriksdalsbadet on Tuesday, produced the 11th best time in the 100m butterfly, clocking 51.06.

Phelps had also paid the price for shunning the high-tech suits on Tuesday when four world records were set.

The 24-year-old failed to qualify for the final in two out of the three races he contested, before finishing the day with bronze in the 100m individual medley.

The meeting is the first short-course event since 2006 for Phelps, who won eight Olympic golds last year and five golds at the world championships in Rome in July and August.

He clocked 47.77 in the heats of the 100m freestyle, the 16th fastest time and 1.84 slower than the best time set by Sweden’s Stefan Nystrand (45.93).

He was then disqualified in the 100m backstroke heats for an overlong push-off.

Phelps did make the final of the 100m individual medley and claimed the bronze in 52.14 behind South African winner Gerhard Zandberg who clocked 51.77 and Russia’s Sergey Fesikov (51.86).

“Without the suit I’ve the impression of being naked,” admitted the American. “But we have to get used to it so it’s good to start now.”

The polyurethane body suit was a must to break records in the Swedish captial.

Chinese swimmer Zhao Jing improved her own short-course world record in the 50m backstroke with a time of 25.82. She had set her previous mark earlier on Tuesday in the heats with a time of 26.08.

Australia’s Felicity Galvez broke the 100m butterfly mark, timing 55.46 to eclipse the previous record of 55.68 set by compatriot Jessicah Schipper in Hobart, Australia, on Aug 12 this year.

And Brazilian swimmer Kaio Almeida broke the men’s 200m butterfly world record, timing 1:49.11, to bettered the 1:50.53 set by Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov on Feb 11 in St Petersburg. — AFP

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