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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sloudnov Breaks His Own Record

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FUKUOKA, Japan — Russian breaststroker Roman Sloudnov gatecrashed Australia's pool party when he broke his own 100 meters world record at the world championships on Monday.

Sloudnov sliced 0.03 seconds off his 24-day-old mark of 59.97 seconds when he won his semifinal in 59.94 after the Australians had threatened to steal the limelight again following Ian Thorpe's heroics the previous night.

The familiar strains of Advance Australia Fair were already resounding around the Marine Messe Fukuoka swimming pool when Petria Thomas won the women's 200 meters butterfly final and Matt Welsh captured the 100 backstroke to give Australia four golds in two days.

Australia also collected a silver when Leisel Jones finished second to China's Luo Xuejuan in the women's 100 meters breaststroke final.

Germany also won two golds Monday when Hannah Stockbauer led most of the way to win the women's 800 meters title and the women's relay team won the 4x100 freestyle crown.

Swimming's most powerful country, the United States, had to be content with just one gold medal to Anthony Ervin in the men's 50 meters freestyle sprint.

Sloudnov, a 21-year-old student from Omsk, is the only man to swim 100 meters breaststroke in under one minute.

He was third at the turn behind American Ed Moses and Canadian Morgan Knabe, but turned up the pace on the return length and his rivals had no answer to the Russian's smooth power.

"I broke the world record [last month], and I said to myself that I should try to do it today at this race," Sloudnov said.

Thomas lead all the way to win the four-lap butterfly final in a time of 2:06.97. Germany's Annika Melhorn was second in 2:06.97 with American Kaitlin Sandeno third in 2:08.52.

"It's about time, let me tell you. It's been coming for a long time and I'm glad I've finally got it," Thomas said.

Welsh, who has had to live in the shadow of American backstroke world record holder Lenny Krayzelburg, also made the most of the absence of his great rival when he won the 100 meters final in a time of 54.31, starting from the outside lane.

Orn Arnarson snatched the silver for Iceland in 54.75 and Germany's Steffen Driesen took the bronze in 54.91.

Ervin added the world title to his Olympic victory when he won the men's one-lap dash in 22.09. Dutch double Olympic winner Pieter van den Hoogenband was second in 22.16 while Tomohiro Yamanoi of Japan and South Africa's Roland Schoeman tied for bronze in 22.18.

Luo Xuejuan, 17, established a clear lead on the first length of the women's 100 meters breaststroke final and held on to win in 1:07.96 offering China their first gold in the pool. Jones was second in 1:07.96 with World and Olympic 200-meters champion Agnes Kovacs of Hungary third in 1:08.50.

Stockbauer, European champion in 1999, easily won the 800 meters in 8:24.66, more than four seconds clear of Americans Diana Munz and Sandeno.