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American Vollmer erases world record to win women's 100m butterfly

(Xinhua)

11:08, July 30, 2012

Dana Vollmer of U.S. poses with gold medal at the awarding ceremony of women's 100m butterfly of swimming at the London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, July 29, 2012. Dana Vollmer of U.S. claimed the title of this event and set a new world record with 55.98. (Xinhua/Yang Zongyou)

LONDON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- American world champion Dana Vollmer took the limelight in the pool at London Olympics on Sunday as she wiped out world record in women's 100m butterfly final to claim a gold medal.

Vollmer touched home in 55.98, toppling the previous world mark of 56.06 seconds set by Swedish world champion Sarah Sjostrom at the 2009 Wolrd Championships. Chinese sensation Lu Ying came from behind to take a silver at 56.87. Bronze medal went to Australian Alicia Coutts who finished 56.94.

Vollmer, winner of the event at the 2011 Shanghai World Championships, was sluggish off blocks with a second lowest reaction time. But she managed to usurp the lead soon after and never look back to touch the wall first.

It is the second gold medal the powerhouse United States took in swimming pool, following the one won by Ryan Lochte in men's 400m individual medley on the opening day of Saturday.

"I'm so excited and on top of the world right now. I've never had an individual world record and now (a) gold medal. Everything went as I could have wanted," said Vollmer after the race.

"I didn't feel so good in the last 50 (metres). My second (swimming) cap came off, I haven't had that happen before," said the 25-year-old, laughing a little as she added "I had kind of a bad finish and that was the thing I was focusing on. I was just trying to get my hand on the wall."

Lu, bronze medalist at Shanghai Wolrds, had a second reaction time off the block and was the fourth at the turn. But she launched a burst in the second 50m and got over rivals to finish second.

"The first 15m I didn't swim badly. At the end of the race I swam with all my personal willingness," said Lu after the race.

She said her performance was down to hard training, adding she still had to work harder to catch up with Vollmer.

Coutts, silver medalist in Shanghai, also came from the eighth place at the turn and managed a super-fast last 50m.

"I have got mixed emotions about the race but I am really glad to have come away with a medal as I chucked (was sick) in the water with 50 (metres) to go. I think I could have come away with a silver," she said.

Coutts congratulated Vollmer on her success, saying "I know she goes out really fast but I tried to stay to my race plan and not get caught up in her race plan."

Lu was the fourth Chinese swimmer to take an Olympic medal at London Olympics, following the glorious Saturday night of teammates Sun Yang, Ye Shiwen and Li Xuanxu.

Sun had an emphatic win over South Korea's defending champion Park Tae Hwan in men's 400m freestyle, making himself the first Chinese male swimmer to claim an Olympic gold medal. The 16-year-old Ye shattered world record to claim a gold in the gruelling women's 400m individual medley, and compatriot Li took a bronze.

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