Coventry: OR 59.00 100m Back
Craig Lord
No signs of fatigue from that sub 4:30 medley this morning - African swim queen challenges sub-59 100m back to clock second-best ever in lane next to Coughlin

Nothing personal, you understand, Kirsty Coventry seemed to say, but if I can make you wonder I will. Sub 4:30 400m medley in the morning and fresh as a daisy for a 59.00 African record in the 100m backstroke later in the day in the lane next to world record holder Natalie Coughlin. The American was cruising, it should be noted and at 59.61 looked as though she was just warming up.

The prelims altered the all-time top 10 thus:


  1. 58.97 Coughlin
  2. 59.00   Coventry BEIJING Prelims
  3. 59.11 McGregory
  4. 59.21 Hoelzer
  5. 59.36 Nakamura BEIJING Prelims
  6. 59.41 Zueva
  7. 59.50 Manaudou
  8. 59.59 Seebohm
  9. 59.81 Zhao
  10. 59.83 Ito 
"I think I was still running off the adrenalin and was a bit hyper from this morning, so I didn't have to build up too much energy for that race," said Coventry, who won a gold, silver (in the 100m back) and bronze in Athens 2004. "Tomorrow in the semi-finals you are going to see some really fast times, and it'll be even faster for the final."

"I have my work cut out here - the women's 100m backstroke has been the fastest progressing event in the past year in swimming," said Coughlin, the first woman inside 59sec. "There is some pressure on me, but I will enjoy it and do my best."

 Coughlin was looking forward to the rest afforded by the topsy-turvy programme. "It's only been the second day, but I kind of like the evening prelims, it gives me a chance to rest before the finals. It's harder to rest in between when you have morning heats and evening finals. I am looking forward to this schedule."