Sarah Sjostrom, of Sweden, wearing an arena X-Glide, set the first world record of the 13th world championships here at the Foro Italico on a gloriously sunny evening in Rome. In 56.44, she the 15-year-old got inside the 56.61 textile-bodysuited world mark that had stood to Inge de Bruijn (NED) since Sydney 2000. The Swede cam home more than half a second faster than the Dutchwoman had.
The splits compared:
The first semi-final of the 100m butterfly saw Dana Vollmer (USA) keep Jiao Liuyang (CHN) at bay 57.19 to 57.25. The whole race clocked 57sec plus, including Jaked01-clad Brazilians Gabriella Silva, on 57.42 (2008 best, 1:00.47) and Daynara de Paula on 57.68 (inside De Buijn's world-record pace at 50m; 2008 best 59.20).
The swim-off for the last place in the final was won by Marleen Veldhuis (NED) in 57.38 to 57.62 for Zhou Yafei (CHN).
Sjostrom had been shocked by the pace in the heats on Sunday, when she clocked 56.76, the third-best ever. "The swim was incredible," she said.