Dubai, world s/c championships, day 3 finals
Women's 100m Freestyle
Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) confirmed herself as the sprinter of 2010 (when not laid up with viral meningitis) with a 51.45 championship-record victory ahead of teammate Femke Heemskerk, on 52.18 and Natalie Coughlin (USA), on 52.25.
Kromowidjojo, whose illness kept her out of the long-course championship season in the summer, already held the fastest time ever in textile in 51.44 this year. The world mark of 51.01 set by Libby Trickett (AUS) in the last season of shiny suits now banned was always going to be a long shot but the Dutch sprinter was a class apart from rivals in the race today.
And race she did - smartly. On 24.96 at the turn, she led Couglin by just 0.03sec, Heemskerk close on 25.08. Out of the turn she matched the stretch of underwater queen Coughlin and then swam faster than the American and her own teammate to go into the final turn with a clear advantage. The last length produced a show of muscle the pretenders could not match.
Kromowidjojo, coached by Jacco Verhaeren, said: "I'm very happy with the time. It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the championships. I've been ranked No 1 before but to finish first is just a great feeling. To finish first at the Europeans [where she clocked 51.44] and now this race is a good step for me towards the Olympics."
Heemskerk, who trains in Marseille with Romain Barnier, paid plaudits to her teammate when she said: "Ranomi was in a class of her own, she did a great job and I'm the best of the rest."
McKeon is the daughter of 1980 Olympic swimmer Ron McKeon.
History in the making:
World s/c Podiums
Most world titles in this event: 2
Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)
Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991): 3
All-time textile rankings top 5:
From the archive:
Born in Rotterdam as the Great War was fizzling out, Willy Den Ouden (NED) was just 13 years and six months when he took second over 100m freestyle at the 1931 European Championships. A year later at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, aged 14 years 7 months and 7 days, she became the then-youngest medal winner ever with silver behind Helene Madison (USA). Between 1932 and 1936, Den Ouden rewrote the world record books in the days when world records could be set in pools of many sizes, metric and imperial: on February 4, 1934, she became the first under 1 minute over 100yd (59.8); and held the 100m (4), 200m (2), 400m (1) and 4x100m (2) standards, among several yards records up to 500yd. Six month’s before the 1936 Olympic Games - at which she finished 4th over 100m and was a member of the only Dutch quartet ever to win the 4x100m title - Den Ouden set a 1:04.6 world record over 100m (25m pool). It would be 20 years before anyone would get inside the mark. On February 21, 1956, 18 years after Den Ouden had retired, Dawn Fraser (AUS) swam 1:04.5. Fraser would break the mark 12 times in her career, three of those in 50m pools before the 1957 rule dictated world marks could only be set in 50m pools. Den Ouden, meanwhile, set all four of her world 100 marks in what became known as short-course pools. She died in Rotterdam on December 6, 1997.