W50Breast: Hardy Dominates The Dash
Jul 31, 2011 - Craig Lord
Day 8 finals, Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai
Women's 50m breaststroke
Jessica Hardy (USA) regained the dash crown she last won in 2007 with a dominant 30.19 blast that left her 0.3sec ahead of defending champion Yuliya Efimova (RUS) and the champion's teammate and training partner at Dave Salo's squad in California, Rebecca Soni, on 30.58, that locking out Australia's Commonwealth champion Leiston Pickett, on 30.74.
Hardy, who won the crown back in 2007 but was not eligible to defend in 2009 after having only just come back from a doping ban that summer, was among the few Salo swimmers at the meet to have lived up to the form guide.
History in the making:
From the archive:
On her way to the Olympic 100m crown in 2004, Luo Xuejuan (CHN) won the first two world titles, in 2001 and 2003 and was part of an extraordinary exchange of world records: on March 14, 2002, Emma Igelstrom (SWE) clocked 29.96sec to win the world short-course title with what was the 10th new mark since Luo's 30.56 on December 3, 2001. In between the record went to Luo (twice), teammate Wei Li (once), Britain’s Zoe Baker (thrice) and Igelstrom (four times).
In 2007, it took Jessica Hardy (USA) 30.63sec to win the crown. As she served a doping suspension in 2008, her time slipped behind 51 other swims on the all-time rankings as the non-textile suit era got underway. In 2009 at Rome world titles, Yuliya Efimova (RUS) set a world record of 30.09 for victory ahead of Rebecca Soni (USA), on 30.11 and Sarah Katsoulis (AUS), on 30.16. After returning from her doping ban, Hardy clocked a world record of 29.80. In 2010, she led the world rankings in 30.03, with Efimova on 30.29 for the European title as the only other woman inside 30.50.