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Asian stars in the pool at the Beijing Games

updated: 2008-08-14

Beijing - Twenty-year-old Chinese swimmer Liu Zige smashed Australian Jessicah Schipper's world record in the women's 200-meter butterfly Thursday, pocketing host China's first swimming gold at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Liu, who seemed to came out of nowhere, took the gold in a stunning two minutes and 04.18 seconds, chopping off Schipper's previous record by more than one second.

Her teammate Jiao Liuyang also beat Schipper in the last lap, finishing second in 2:04.72. Schipper was third in 2:06.26, well off her own best time.

Schipper led the race in the first 100 meters, but Liu overtook her after the 150-meter turn. Amid thundering roars from home fans, Liu stormed to touch first.

Liu, who entered the final as the fastest, swam side-by-side with Schipper. "I myself was shocked with the result. I think I really gave out all by best. I never though I could get a gold until l touched the wall," Liu said.

The Shanghai girl thanked her fans for their support. "The atmosphere of Water Cube is great. I could feel people's support, which made my very excited in the race."