Vaziri Wins World Championship, Matches Own World Record
March 29, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana senior Leila Vaziri continued to shock the world at the FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday, March 29, matching the world record she set in the semifinals of the 50-meter backstroke with a gold-medal performance in the finals. The world championship is the first of Vaziri's career.
Vaziri turned in a time of 28.16 in the finals session at Susie O'Neill Pool at Rod Laver Arena, matching the record time she set in winning the semifinals a day earlier. Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia finished second in the finals in 28.46, while Australia's Tayliah Zimmer was third in 28.50.
Perhaps more impressive than Vaziri's recent performances is the fact that she is swimming at her first World Championships and is competing in the 50 back at a major meet for the first time. The Coral Springs, Fla., native entered the World Championships known as a 100-meter backstroke specialist, advancing to the semifinals of the 100 back and finishing 10th before etching her name in the record books in the 50 back.
Vaziri helped add to the United States' medal haul, as Americans have accounted for 11 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals at the World Championships.
The 2007 NCAA bronze medalist in the 100-yard backstroke, Vaziri had already left an indelible mark in IU history prior to her World Championship heroics. Vaziri earned 15 All-America certificates during her Hoosier career, the most in school history.
A YouTube clip of Vaziri setting the world record in Wednesday's semifinals can be found here.