EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) -- Alain Bernard shattered the 100-meter freestyle world record Friday with a time of 47.60 seconds at the European swimming championships.
In the first semifinal Bernard took nearly a quarter of a second off the old record of 47.84, set by Pieter Van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Van den Hoogenband, the European and Olympic champion, did not race due to illness.
Bernard sat on his lane marker and punched the water in delight as he looked up at his time on the scoreboard.
"This is a surprise for me," Bernard said. "I wanted to do my best today and then go really fast tomorrow. It is extra special to do this in the Netherlands."
Bernard turned in 22.88 - inside Van den Hoogenband's old mark - and stormed down the second lap to finish nearly a second in front of fellow Frenchman Fabien Gilot, who was second.
Short course world record holder Stefan Nystrand of Sweden, racing in the second semifinal, was the third fastest qualifier for Saturday's final and world champion Filippo Magnini of Italy was fifth fastest.