KIRSTY Coventry set a new world record as she struck gold on the opening day at the World Short-Course Championships in Manchester on Wednesday.
Coventry won gold in the 400m individual medley in 4:26,52 to set a new record which could be difficult to break.
Her record comfortably beat the previous one of 4:27,83 posted by the Ukraineâ€™s Yana Klochkova in 2002.
Coventry, coming out for the final barely 20 minutes after setting a championship record of 57,99 in the 100 backstroke semi-finals. The new record is a timely boost for Coventry who will be taking part in the Beijing Olympics in August.
Coventry finished ahead of Britainâ€™s Hannah Miley, who set a new European record of 4:27,27 to claim silver while Spainâ€™s Mireia Belmonte won bronze.
Coventryâ€™s performance capped a stunning tournament by the Olympic gold medalist after she had earlier dipped under 58 seconds for the first time in the womenâ€™s 100m backstroke to lead the semi-final from start to finish.
She clocked a time of 57,99 during the second heat to smash her previous record time of 58.41 set during the heats. The performance also eclipsed the championship record of 58.02 set by Janine Pietsch of Germany in 2006.
In February Coventry won the womenâ€™s 200 metres medley with a record of 2:10.08Â at the Missouri Grand Prix
At the All Africa games in Algiers, she won six gold medals in the 800m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 10m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 200m individual medley and 400m individual medley. She also won three silver medals at the same event in 100m breaststroke, 4X100m medley and 4x200m freestyle.
During the same year she came 2nd in the 200m backstroke and Individual Medley (IM) at the 12th FINA World event.
In 2005 finished first in the 100m and 200m backstroke at the 11th FINA World Championships. At the same tournament she also finished 2nd in the 200m and 400m (IM).
At the 2004 Olympics won a gold medal in the 200m backstroke, silver in 200m backstroke and bronze in the 200m (IM).
By Paul Nyakazeya