Swimmer Rikke Møller Pedersen broke a world record during the 200 metre breast stroke semifinal yesterday at the FINA World Championships. She is the first Dane in 61 years to set a world record in long-course swimming.
By clocking in at two minutes, 19.11 seconds, the Dane bested the previous world record, held by the US’s Rebecca Soni, by nearly half a second.
Pedersen will have to deliver a similar performance in the event final today in order to meet her goal of bringing home hardware. At age 25, this could be the first time the swimmer wins a medal in a long course championship meet. The summer Olympics in London last year saw Pedersen come in fourth in the event that brought her victory on Tuesday.
Pedersen had a good, solid start to the race, keeping her competitors at bay and finishing several body lengths ahead of the other contenders vying for a spot in the final.
Even though the performance was a significant improvement over her fourth-place finish in the 100 metre breast stroke earlier in the week, the swimmer was not caught off guard when she discovered she had broken the record.
“It doesn’t come as a surprise to me, but I am super delighted,” Pedersen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper after becoming the new world record holder.
The Dane will be continuing her quest for a medal tonight as the favourite to win gold.