The first evening session of world championship swimming at the Foro Italico in Italy saw an amazing six world records tumble. The widely predicted feat was attributed to swimmers' use of controversial high-tech swimsuits, to be banned from 2010.
AFP -The first night of World Championship swimming Sunday saw six world records fall and Olympic superstar Michael Phelps back on the familiar winner's podium thanks to a sprint relay upset.
The eight events of the first evening session at the Foro Italico saw six world records broken - including two in one event.
Italy's Federica Pellegrini thrilled home fans by lowering her own world mark to win the women's 400m freestyle, and German Paul Biedermann also notched a world record in winning the men's 400m free.
The Netherland's Olympic gold medal-winning women's 4x100m freestyle relay team lowered their world record to add a world title to their list of accomplishments - overcoming an individual 100m freestyle world record for Germany's Britta Steffen in the lead-off leg of that race.
Swedish teenager Sarah Sjostrom and American Ariana Kukors nabbed their world records in semi-finals - Sjostrom in the women's 100m butterfly and Kukors in the women's 200m individual medley.
The men's 4x100m free relay didn't produce a world record, just scintillating racing in which an American team led by Phelps and anchored by Nathan Adrian triumphed, Russia snatched silver and France's vaunted freestyle sprinters were relegated to bronze.
Adrian's final leg echoed Jason Lezak's gutsy performance in Beijing, when he caught Bernard on the final lap to secure the victory and keep Phelps on course to win a record eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.
Two other semi-finals on the programme produced championship records, setting the stage for Spain's Rafael Munoz in the 50m butterfly and American Eric Shanteau in the 100m breaststroke to join the world record wave in Monday's finals.
The record-shattering exploits were widely predicted at the last world meeting expected to allow the current generation of high-tech supersuits.
FINA, world swimming's governing body is expected to roll back suit technology starting in 2010.
Date created : 2009-07-27