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Pellegrini sets world record in 200 Freestyle

August 11, 2008 |  4:50 am

BEIJING -- Or is that trading boyfriends?

In any event, Federica Pellegrini of Italy has three things that Laure Manaudou of France once had in her possession: boyfriend and swim star Luca Marin of Italy, he of the somewhat frightening orange swim suit that he wore here in the 400 IM.

(Hmm. My name is Luca. Wasn't that a popular song in the '80s by Suzanne Vega?)

The two other things were Manaudou's coach and, as of Monday night at the Olympics, the world record in the 200-meter freestyle, which Pellegrini lowered to 1 minute 55.45 seconds. Manaudou had held the record since the World Championships in Melbourne in March, 2007, in 1:55.52.

Drama seems to not only follow Manaudou around, it rides shotgun. The British newspaper the Guardian had an entertaining piece on Monday -- before the race -- about the soap-opera life of the French star with this headline:

"Olympics: Manaudou retains dignity despite sex, lies and videotape." And the sub-headline: "French swimmer who lost in love and turned up on YouTube is relaxed about retaining her 400m title."

-- Lisa Dillman

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