Dubai, world s/c championships, day 5 finals:
Women's 200m freestyle
Camille Muffat (FRA) has promised so much for so long. Tonight she delivered, with a 1:52.29 championship-record victory ahead of Katie Hoff (USA), on 1:52.91, and Kylie Palmer (AUS), just 0.05sec away, the bronze sealed by 0.11sec over the pace-setter for much of the race out in lane 2, Tang Yi (CHN). whose 1:53.08 compares to a best of 1:54.76 from february this year after a best of 2:00.99 last year. Back in 7th, a rare moment of mediocrity from Olympic and world champion Federica Pellegrini (ITA), who looked like she was going through the paces of being in a race she was obliged to be in as opposed to being there because it was the choice of a warrior.
Tang set the pace from lane 2, turning a head ahead at 50m, 100m and 125m. Down the 6th lap, Muffat, Hoff and Palmer caught and passed the Chinese challenger but Tang refused to give way, all four women turning within 0.25sec of each other with 50m to go. Muffat and Hoff had an edge on Palmer and Tang at the last turn but it was a small edge. Off the wall Muffat, coached by Fabrice Pellerin and training partner to Yannick Agnel, Muffat found reserved the others could not muster.
With 10m to go, it was clear that no-one would could keep pace with the French champion on her way to the best ever seen by a woman wearing a textile suit and just 0.44sec away from Pellegrini at her best in the fashion of 2008. The time shrugged off with some ease efforts such as Aussie Libby Trickett's 1:53.29 from 2005 and fellow Frenchwoman Laure Manaudou's 1:53.48 from 2007.
In the scramble for the minor spoils, Hoff held on for silver, Palmer bronze, Yang locked out but one to watch for a home world titles event in July next year when the world gathers in Shanghai.
History in the making:
World s/c Podiums
Most world titles in this event: never retained
Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)
Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991): 2
All-time textile rankings top 5:
From the archive:
The last world record to be held before FINA decided to impose a May 1, 1957 rule that allowed world marks to be set only in pools 50m long, was cancelled. It stood to Lorraine Crapp (AUS) at 2:18.5 but the time was taken midway to a 440y world record of 4:47.2 the same day on October 20 1956 in Sydney. FINA decided not to count mid-way efforts as standard times when it began the world record books anew and on February 10, 1958 Dawn Fraser (AUS) set the first of her three 220y world marks at 2:17.7. Fraser would leave the standard at 2:11.6 two years on, her August 19 1960 effort in Sydney the last world mark ever to be set in a yards pool over the distance.