27 Jul 2009

Swim records set to stand for a long time

10:38 am on 27 July 2009

Swimming's short-term experiment with hi-tech suits prompted the expected flood of records at the world championships in Rome with Italian Federica Pellegrini among those setting new marks which might stand for years to come.

Despite most versions only being approved last month, polyurethane costumes are poised to be banned from 2010 with governing body FINA planning to return to an era of textile suits and male trunks.

The first day of the Rome worlds will enter swimming folklore but for many it will be for all the wrong reasons.

Six world records were bettered, two in semi-finals where 15-year-old Sarah Sjostrom and American Ariana Kukors were genuinely surprised by their achievements in the 100 metres butterfly and 200 individual medley respectively.

Dara Torres, whose U.S. women's 4x100m relay team finished fourth behind gold medallists and world record breakers the Netherlands, says the sport is in turmoil.

A host of championship records fell in the morning heats under a blistering Rome sun and although the temperature cooled for the evening session, performances continued to soar.