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Sprinters set for 100m free final

Olympic champion Alain Bernard and French teammate Frederick Bousquet, cruised into 100m free semi-finals at the swimming World Championships on Wednesday.

other Updated: Jul 29, 2009 23:43 IST

Olympic champion Alain Bernard and French teammate Frederick Bousquet, cruised into 100m free semi-finals at the swimming World Championships on Wednesday.

American David Walters, bouncing back from his own failure to make the 200m freestyle final, notched the fastest time of the morning with a 47.59sec, one of eight swimmers to break 48sec in the heats.

Bernard was fourth-fastest in 47.80, Bousquet sixth-quickest in 47.89.

The championships' blue ribbon event is missing world record-holder Eamon Sullivan of Australia, who is absent because of illness.

Sullivan's mark stands at 47.05sec, but Bernard has actually swum faster, clocking 46.94 at the French Championships on April 24. That wasn't ratified as a world record because he swam in a suit that wasn't approved by FINA at the time. That left Bousquet's time of 47.15, set on the same day, as the European record.

The vaunted French sprinters were keen to get back in the water after being relegated to bronze in the men's 4x100m free relay - a near replay of their upset defeat in the same event at the Beijing Games.

“I was really looking forward to this first (individual) race,” Bernard said. “Between the relay and the 100 free prelims, time dragged. “I did pretty well this morning,” he added. “I was strong enough to have a good finish. It's reassuring.”

France's relay failure was so surprising, that Brazilian Cesar Cielo didn't even realize they hadn't won until the next day - and he was in the race. Cielo left the pool knowing only that Brazil were out of the medals.

“I didn't even know they got third until the day after,” he said. “Someone said France got third and I said 'No, they won.'”

“I think they should have been able to high-five each other and still win the race,” he said.

German, Russian set 17th, 18th record

Germany's Daniela Samulski and Russia's Anastasia Zueva have set the 17th and 18th world records of the world swimming championships in the semifinals of the 50-meter backstroke.

Going in the first heat Wednesday, Samulski clocked a time of 27.39 seconds to knock off her previous record of 27.61, set about a month ago in Berlin.

This mark didn't last nearly as long. About five minutes later, Zueva broke Samulski's record with a time of 27.38.

Mary Descenza was stunned to break the world record in the women's 200 metres butterfly heats at the world championships on Wednesday.

The American swam two minutes, 04.14 to beat Chinese Olympic champion Liu Zige's previous best of 2:04.18 from last year's Beijing Games.

Descenza, who did not even make the US Olympic team last year, caught her on the last leg and was shocked to have broken a world record.