French swimmer and Olympic champion Alain Bernard set a new 100m freestyle world record of 46.94 seconds at the French swimming championships on Thursday, beating Australian Eamon Sullivan's previous world record of 47.05 seconds.
AFP - France's Olympic champion Alain Bernard set a new 100m freestyle record on Thursday with a time of 46.94sec, becoming the first man to smash the symbolic 47-second barrier.
His new record, set here at the French national championships, beat the previous best of 47.05sec set by Australia's Eamon Sullivan during the Beijing Olympics.
The Frenchman had been the second man to break the 48-second barrier in Eindhoven back in 2008 at the European championships, just behind Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband, where he also broke the world record twice.
Thursday's performance was Bernard's fourth world record of his career.
However, it remains to be seen whether the record will stand as Bernard's new swim suit, supplied by Arena since January, has not yet received approval from the International Swimming Federation.
If the suit is not approved, the record will not be validated.
Bernard had already announced after the Olympics that it was his intention to smash the 47-second barrier.
"I knew when I came here that the conditions were good to achieve something," said Bernard.
"It gives me a lot of pleasure. To be the first under 47 seconds, it's mythic."
On comparisons with his Olympic gold, Bernard said: "It's not better, it's not worse, it's different. Under 47 seconds in France, just to see the joy in the people, that's priceless.
"Just as I will always be the Olympic champion in 2008, I will always be the first under 47 seconds."
Bernard added that he wasn't concerned over the legality of his suit.
"It's the first time I have used it in competition. If it's not approved, I'll do it with another material."
Bernard's coach Denis Auguin believes there is more to come from the swimmer.
"His strength is his work and his desire to be a world champion," said Auguin.
"I felt at 75m that something was going to happen. I don't feel that the record is due to the material. The only thing I know is that he is capable of swimming this speed."
Date created : 2009-04-23