Dubai, world short-course championships, day 1 finals
Women's 4x200m freestyle
China's 4x200m freestyle quartet set the first world record of the year in 7:35.94 to win the world short-course crown here in Dubai tonight. There were no world long-course records this year, the first time that has happened in a single calendar year since at least the turn of the last century, courtesy of the use of non-textile suits used in 2008 and 2009 but banned since January 1, 2010.
Australia gave good chase to set a Commonwealth record of 7:37.57, also inside the former world mark of 7:38.90 held by the Netherlands since 2008, with France not far away, on a European record of 7:38.33, but the winners were in a pool apart. The world mark was among the most likely to fall, it having been established by the Dutch in the first flush of Speedo LZR's 2008 model and never bettered by a quartet wearing full polyurethane suits in 2009.
It was China's fourth 4x200m free world s/c crown since 1993. The 2010 result:
Chen Qian 1:54.73; Tang Yi (1:53.54); 3:48.27; Lie Jing (1:53.59) 5:41.86; Zhu Qianwei (1:54.08) 7:35.94
Blair Evans 1:54.87; Jade Neilsen (1:54.87) 3:49.74; Kelly Stubbins (1:55.41) 5:45.15; Kylie Palmer (1:52.42) 7:37.57
Camille Muffat 1:53.17; Coralie Balmy (1:53.71) 3:46.88; Mylène Lazare (1:56.24) 5:43.12; Ophélie Cyrielle Etienne (1:55.21) 7:38.33
That locked out the USA, on 7:38.42, and Sweden on 7:41.91, with Italy on 7:46.80, in the midst of that Federica Pellegrini splitting a third-leg 1:54.70
History in the making:
World s/c Podiums
Most world titles in this event: 4 - China, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2010
Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)
Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991): 3 - China
Impact of Dubai 2010 on all-time rankings (all suits): China, No1, Australia No 2.
All-time textile rankings top 5:
From the archive:
Of the first two Chinese quartets that won three world crowns in world-record time, three members were subsequently suspended for doping offenses. The China crisis of the 1990s took off at the inaugural 1993 world s/c titles in Palma de Majorca after rumours of a doping problem were rife from the time China appeared on the swim podium for the first time at an Olympic Games in 1988 to more golden success among women in 1992. By 1998, 44 Chinese swimmers had tested positive for doping, the cries of protest so loud that FINA responded with some of the toughest anti-doping measures in world sport, some of those subsequently watered down by WADA.