Day 2 Finals coverage of the 2013 FINA World Championships as reported by Braden Keith / swimswam – women’s 100 breaststroke:
Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte took this 100 breaststroke to the turn in 29.97 – the fourth-best 50 meter swim in history, and just .01 off of her own European Record. That left her fans excited. When she brought the swim home faster than anybody else in the field (by half-a-second), though, her fans were left hysterical.
Meilutyte touched the wall in 1:04.35, breaking the Lithuanian, European, World Championship, and World Records in 1:04.35. The old record was held by American Jessica Hardy in 2009 in 1:04.45. (More on that record available here.)
Behind her as the second seed is Russia’s Yulia Efimova, who was a 1:05.29. She was swimming right next to Meilutyte in that World Record breaking swim, and for parts of the race she was nose-to-nose with the young 16-year old. Don’t count her out in the final for an upset.
But who else can be counted in? Rikke Moeller-Pedersen from Denmark was the only other swimmer who looked really great in the semi’s of this race. She was a 1:05.99 for the 3rd seed, which cuts .06 off of her own Danish National Record from the Mare Nostrum in June. She’s a 200 breaststroker, however, and so she may be tapped out at that time.
The top American Jessica Hardy looked really good in the prelims, but added a full second to go 1:06.10 in the evening. She still was able to qualify 4th, though, so she’ll get her chance to get back to what she’s shown she’s capable of at this meet.
The 2nd American Breeja Larson will be opposite her as the 5th seed in 1:06.61, followed by the the Ukraine’s Viktoriya Solnceva, the girl who won silver behind Meilutyte at the European Juniors, in 1:06.67. Note that Solnceva has been times very comparable to the ones that Meilutyte did last year at the same age (a bit faster in the 50, a bit slower in the 100).
Sweden’s Jennie Johansson was 7th in 1:06.96, and Spain’s Marina Garcia wound up 8th in 1:07.12. That lit up the Spanish crowd after Meilutyte’s World Record even louder, as it was another Spaniard into a final, and broke her own World Record by half-a-second.
Missing out on the final were Ireland’s National Record holder Fiona Doyle, who was 11th in 1:07.81, the Netherlands’ National Record holder, 1:07.77, Jamaica’s National Record holder Alia Atkinson, who was 4th at the Olympics, in 1:07.63, and both Australians Sally Foster and Sam Marshall.
Japan’s Satomi Suzuki was 12th in 1:07.83, though the 200 is her better chance at a medal.
Women’s 200 breaststroke final results available here.