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ER: Spofforth Streamlines To 58.78 100 Back

Jul 27, 2009  - Craig Lord

Well, that woke everyone up. Just past 9am, Gemma Spofforth, US-based Brit, fell just 0.01sec shy of the world record in the heats of the 100m breaststroke, her 58.78 blast a European and Commonwealth record that took her inside the 59.05 she clocked leading Britain's medley relay in Beijing last year.

In 2007, the 22-year-old's best was 1:01.81. She had long shown great promise. Her latest gain owes to the suit, as is the case with all performance here at the circus. Next through to semis were Anastasia Zueva (RUS) and world record holder Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), respectively on 59.10 and 59.51. Natalie Coughlin, American Olympic champion is absent, after a fallow season in the pool, one in which she took her marriage vows.

Spofforth, who wore the Speedo LZR that she wore in Beijing last year and as such can say that her gain is measurable year-on-year, said: "I still really believe it. It was a minute or so before I realised that it was a 58 not a 59. When I looked up, I thought it was a 59.78. It felt really smooth, not rushed . I'm not hedging my bets, but I'd like to go faster tonight."

So, this is how things compare, as if comparison of chalk with cheese were possible, to Melbourne 2007, where 4th place in heats would have missed the cut in Rome - the hideous nature of performance enhancement from suits:

Melbourne 2007 heats:

  • Into semis: 1:00.38 - 1:02.11
  • Inside 1:00: 0
  • Inside 1:01: 4
  • Inside 1:02: 13

Rome 2009 heats:

  • Into semis: 58.78 - 1:00.80
  • Inside 1:00: 7
  • Inside 1:01: 18
  • Inside 1:02: 28