American Marshall wins backstroke in world record time

BERLIN -- American swimmer Peter Marshall broke his own world record in the 100-meter backstroke Saturday on the first day of the short-course World Cup meet.

Marshall clocked 49.64 seconds, 0.30 faster than the record he set earlier in the week in Stockholm -- where he also broke the 50 backstroke record.

American Randall Bal finished second in 50.55.

Marshall said he still had room to improve.

"The last stroke was a little too long, this is why I didn't touch so well," Marshall said. "I'm a bit surprised by my performances during the World Cup series, but I think that I still profit from my tough preparation for the U.S. trials."

The 26-year-old swimmer didn't qualify for the Beijing Olympics and had planned to retire after the Berlin meet, the seventh and last leg of the World Cup. Given his recent successes, however, he is reconsidering his plans.

"After this event, I'll go on a monthlong trip to southeast Asia with some former college roommates," Marshall said. "I thought I was going to figure out my future during this vacation, but now I might consider participating in the U.S. trials for the world championship."

Li Tao of Singapore set a World Cup record in the women's 100 butterfly, clocking 56.28 seconds to beat the previous mark set by American Natalie Coughlin in 2002 by 0.06.

South Africa's Cameron Van Der Burgh won the 50 backstroke in 26.05, missing his world record from Stockholm by 0.11.

"My start today was a catastrophe, so that's why I wasn't able to get near my world record," he said. "I'm sure I can go for the world record in tomorrow's 100-meter race."

In other events, Olympic gold medalist Alain Bernard of France won the 100 freestyle in 46.28, Coralie Balmy of France won the 200 freestyle in 1:54.05 and Sanja Jovanovich of Croatia took the 50 backstroke in 27.29.