Ariana Kukors (USA) felled the world 200m medley world record of Olympic champion Stephanie Rice (AUS) with a stunning 2:07.03 in semi-finals at Rome world titles. We'll let you know what that suit was as soon as we can. It was reported to be a Jaked01. It was confirmed as such, though it looked like something else.
Whatever it was, Kukors was travelling faster than Gunnar Larsson did when he won the Olympic 200m medley crown in 1972. "I was a bit surprised to be honest. 2:07 was definitely a shock," Kukors told reporters.
Rice went through to the final second on 2:08.68, followed by a pack of 2:09s, led by Hannah Miley (GBR) was third through in 2:09.46.
Kukors was not due to have swum the 200m medley: she finished third at US trials but stepped up when Elizabeth Pelton scratched because of a scheduling conflict with the 100m back. "Nobody expected anything from me in this event," Kukors said. "In the last two weeks of training I focused on my technique, particularly on my turns. The world record is a big surprise, but I’m very happy to have it."
The splits compared:
Rice's 2:08.68 was her second-best ever and the Australian indicated that she had more in the tank. "I know this week is going to be a lot faster than last year, and that's definitely not my final swim tonight. I just blew out some cobwebs,'' she told reporters in the mixed zone. "A bit of me is disappointed the world record is gone. That's a very quick time. I didn't think anyone could go that quickly in the semi-final, but I thought we would see 2:07 in the final."
In the 100m breaststroke semis, Eric Shanteau clocked 58.96 became the first American to break 59sec. The US record had been held at 59.01 by Mark Gangloff since trials. Gangloff clocked 59.71 to finish 11th and find himself out of the final. "I was really happy with my swim," Shanteau said, "but I will be even happier if I get a medal of any colour tomorrow."