Semis-Finals: Vollmer's Continental Flyer
Jul 24, 2011 - Craig Lord
Day 1 semi-finals, Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai
Women's 100m butterfly
Vollmer sets only continental record of the first day.
In the first semi Sarah Sjoestrom (SWE) let it be known that she intends to defend her crown. In 57.29, the European champion kept at bay Commonwealth champion Alicia Coutts (AUS), on 57.41, while the second Aussie in the hunt, Jessica Schipper came home in 57.95. Just outside the 58sec mark were Katherine Savard (CAN), 58.06, and Therese Alshammar (SWE), 58.20, with Denmark's Jenette Ottesen 0.04sec away. The standard set, the second line-up knew its target.
After a fine lane by lane presentation, with swimmers emerging from a hole in the wall, their name and country in lights either side of them as they marched out to their blocks, Dana Vollmer (USA) sent a message back to Sjoestrom: I'm after you're crown - here's a 56.47, off a 26.63 split, for the fastest ever time by a swimmer in a textile suit, the world record having stood to Inge de Bruijn (NED) at 56.69 since 2000. Vollmer's effort set an American and Americas record too.
Next home was China's Lu Ying, on 57.18 and also inside the defending champion's first-semi effort, with Jemma Lowe (GBR) on 57.57, Liu Zige, China's Olympic 200m champion, on 57.85, and Australia-based Ellen Gandy giving Britain a second bite at the final, her 57.97 closing the door on all the rest.
Men's 100m breaststroke
Perspective was delivered by Alexander Dale Oen, of Norway: the fastest through to the final, on 59.37, he managed to stay focussed despite the twin tragedies in his country that killed at least 89 people. "Life is more than swimming," said Dale Oen with tears in his eyes after morning heats when asked about Friday's bombing in Oslo and shootings on a nearby island. "What's happening back home really puts things in perspective. It's been terrible. Terrible. The whole day has just been emotional."
Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima (JPN), whose country also faced tragedy earlier this year, qualified second best in 59.77 ahead of Italian Fabio Scozzoli, the last man through under the minute, on 59.83. Defending champion Brenton Rickard (AUS) clocked 1:00.04, Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) 1:00.07, with Mark Gangloff (USA), Daniel Gyurta (HUN) and Giedrius Titenis (LTU) also through. That left Ryo Teteishi (JPN), Christian Sprenger (AUS) Hugues Duboscq (FRA) and Glenn Snyders (NZL), under the minute in heats, among those locked out.
Women's 200m medley
Olympic champion Stephanie Rice (AUS) is back, but Olympic silver medallist Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) not quite. Rice cracked 2:10 to book lane 4 for the final in 2:09.65, with defending champion and world record holder Arianna Kukors (USA) second, 0.18sec adrift and, with all others, well away from the pace of that 2:06.15 set in shiny suit in Rome two years ago. A sub-2:10 is a fabulous thing. Ye Shiwen (CHN) was just outside, on 2:10.08, with Commonwealth champion Alicia Coutts (AUS) booking her second final for tomorrow, on 2:10.65. European and Commonwealth 400m champion Hannah Miley (GBR), was last through below 2:11, on 2:10.95, with Caitlin Leverenz (USA), on 2:11.15, world 400m champion Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:11.71, and Julia Wilkinson (CAN), 2:11.92, completing the picture for tomorrow evening. That left Kirsty sent to Coventry in 9th, with world s/c champion Mireia Belmonte and Evelyn Verraszto also missing the cut.
Men's 50m butterfly
Cesar Cielo, the Brazilian whose doping warning was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport three days ago, allowing him to compete here, led the way in 23.19, with Geoff Huegill (AUS) second through, 0.07sec behind and in his first world-title fight since 2003. On 23.32 in third, Florent Manaudou (FRA), Laure's brother, will race in the final alongside his brother-in-law and countryman, Fred Bousquet, on 23.42 and last in. Also through: Commonwealth champion Jason Dunford (KEN), Steffen Deibler (GER), Andriy Govorov (UKR) and Matthew Targett AUS). Former world champion (RSA) and defending champion Milorad Cavic (SRB), recovering from back surgery, were locked out in 9th and 12 respectively.