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Saturday, October 17, 2009
Hardy breaks own mark at World Cup news services

DURBAN, South Africa -- American Jessica Hardy bettered her own 50-meter breaststroke short-course world record at the World Cup on Saturday.

Hardy swept home in 29.45 seconds to beat her previous mark of 29.58 set in Manchester, England in April 2008.

"I haven't been swimming as well as I would have liked so to have started so well in the World Cup series is great," Hardy told reporters.

"It was an easy swim and I would have been happy with just a good time," she added.

The 22-year-old was in control of the race from the start as she held off the German pair of Kerstin Vogel, who finished second in 30.57, and Caroline Ruhnau who came third in 31.01.

Meanwhile, American Peter Marshall broke the 50-meter backstroke short-course world record with a time of 22.75 seconds.

Marshall eclipsed the mark of 22.87 set by compatriot Randall Ball in Berlin in November 2008.

"I thought I had a good chance of breaking the record," the 27-year-old said. "I felt pretty good swimming the 100 [on Friday] and my sprinting is pretty good at the moment.

"As the [World Cup] series goes on my endurance will improve which will improve my 100 meters times."

Marshall was rarely tested in the 50, comfortably holding off second-placed Stanislav Donets of Russia (23.63). Ashley Delaney of Australia was third in 23.74.

Hardy and Marshall weren't alone as Sweden's Therese Alshammar has set her sights on more records after breaking two short course world marks on Saturday.

The 32-year-old Alshammar posted a time of 24.75 seconds in the 50-meter butterfly final, the last race of the meeting, to eclipse the record of 24.99 set by Australia's Marieke Guehrer in Berlin in November 2008.

Guehrer came second in Durban in 25.07 while Netherlands' Hinkelien Schreuder claimed third place in 25.50.

Alshammar had already broken the 100-meter individual medley world record in the morning heats as she clocked 58.51 to better the previous mark of 58.54 set by Australia's Emily Seebohm in Hobart, Australia in August this year.

"I hope for more world records otherwise I wouldn't be standing here," Alshammar told reporters after her second win.

The Swede, who won silver medals in the 50 and 100 freestyle at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, said her training regime and a growing maturity helped her set records.

"I had a great year in the pool last year and then I trained for six months in Sydney. It was a great experience and I learnt not to expect too much too soon and when things happen for you it makes it all the more special," she said.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.