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W50'Fly: Dekker Denies Alshammar by 0.05

Jul 30, 2011  - Craig Lord

Day 7 finals, Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai

Women's 50m butterfly

By 0.05sec Inge Dekker (NED) denied Therese Alshammar (SWE) the honour of becoming the oldest world champion in women's swimming history, the gold and silver decided in respective times of 25.71 and 27.76, with the bronze going to France;s Melanie Henique, out in lane 1 on 25.86.

Alshammar had qualified in 25.52 to claim lane 4 and soaring into her stroke the Swedish sprinter 27 days shy of her 34th birthday raced to the helm, her technique, untroubled by lifting her head to breath, all but flawless for 40m or so of the one-lap dash. Even 3m from the wall it looked like this time, after disappointment in Rome two years ago, this would be her moment. Dekker, the momentum with her as Alshammar tightened in the closing strokes, got her timing just right, the two women lunging for the wall at the same moment, the Dutch sprinter coached by Jacco Verhaeren travelling a fraction faster and able to apply more pressure on the pad.

The result:

  • 1. Inge Dekker (NED) 25.71 
  • 2. Therese Alshammar (SWE) 25.76 
  • 3. Melanie Henique (FRA) 25.86 
  • 4. Sarah Sjoestroem (SWE) 25.87 
  • 4. Lu Ying (CHN) 25.87 
  • 6. Yuka Kato (JPN) 26.02 
  • 7. Dana Vollmer (USA) 26.06 
  • 8. Marieke Guehrer (AUS) 26.21 

More later

History in the making:


  • WR (all suits):  25.07 Therese Alshammar (SWE) Rome July 31, 2009
  • WR (textile):  25.37 Therese Alshammar (SWE) 2011 

World-class stats:

  • World Record wins: none
  • Title retained: Inge De Bruijn (NED)
  • Biggest margin: De Bruijn beat Therese Alshammar (SWE) by 0.28sec in 2001
  • Closest shave: Guehrer beat Zhou Yafei (CHN) by 0.09sec in 2009

From the archive

In May 2000, Inge de Bruijn (NED) cracked the 26sec mark to set the world 50m butterfly record. She had improve almost a second in a year, and beyond three gold medals at the 2000 Olympic Games won the first two world 50m ‘fly titles, in 2001 and 2003. In the midst of her born-again 2000 season in which she set 10 world records between May and September, the Dutchwoman, said:  "I never used to work hard. I wasn't dedicated. I had no motivation. I've turned myself around."

The Dutch have an historic edge in the 'fly dash, and not only because Inge de Bruijn won two of the four titles handed out since 2001. In April 2008, Marleen Veldhuis set a world record of 25.33, 0.13sec inside the standard of Therese Alshammar (SWE), who in 25.91 2007 had claimed the world crown as the sole sub 26-sec swimmer that year. In 2009, 13 women were faster than Alshammar's win in Melbourne. In semi-finals, it looked as though Alshammar would be at the hlm once more as she booked lane 4 for the final in 25.07. However, nerves got the better of her and the crown went to Australian Marieke Guehrer ahead of Zhou Yafei (CHN), 25.57, and Ingvild Snildal (NOR), on 25.58. In 2010, Alshammar claimed the European crown and stood at the helm of the world rankings on 25.49.