- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

SYDNEY (AP) - Sweden’s Therese Alshammar broke her own 50-meter butterfly world record at the Australian swimming titles Tuesday, but the mark may be in doubt due to a possible breach of rules governing swimsuits.

Alshammar set a time of 25.44 seconds in the morning qualifying heats to take 0.02 seconds off the record of 25.46 she set at Barcelona, Spain on June 13, 2007.

But officials later discovered that Alshammar was wearing two suits. Swimming Australia said that under swimming governing body FINA’s new rules that were ratified last weekend, Alshammar could be disqualified as it states that swimmers may only wear one suit.

Competition organizers were meeting about the issue and were not available for comment.

Last Saturday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, FINA adopted new rules for the high-tech suits that helped produce more than 100 world records in just over a year.

The guidelines “revise the requirements for swimsuit approval” and it was said they would be in place for the world championships in Rome on July 17. FINA stipulated that swimsuits should not cover the neck and will not extend past the shoulders and ankles.

Regardless of the decision, the 31-year-old Alshammar will not have another chance to break her mark at the Australian championships. As a foreigner, she is not allowed to compete in semifinals or finals and there is no B final for the race.

Alshammar, the reigning world champion in the non-Olympic event, has been training with Australian swimmers in Sydney for the past two months.

“I am a bit shocked myself, and I am very happy,” Alshammar said. “I have had a great couple of months in Australia, it is the best place in the world for swimming.”

It continued the Swedish swimmer’s strong performances in the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre pool _ her three Olympic medals all came at Sydney in 2000.

Alshammar had a disappointing Beijing Olympics, heading to last year’s Games as a strong medal prospect in the 50 freestyle. But she missed the final at the Water Cube after she discovered a tear in her swimsuit just before the start of her semifinal, and failed to qualify for the last eight.

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