Alain Bernard will ehad to Beijing as
one of the favourites [GALLO/GETTY]
France's Alain Bernard broke the world record in the 100-metre freestyle for the second time in two days, setting a new mark of 47.50 seconds in the final at the European swimming championships.

The 24-year-old took one-tenth of a second off his record of 47.60 recorded in Friday's semifinals, which shattered Pieter Van den Hoogenband's mark set at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Bernard was a relative unknown before these championships.

He finished ninth in the 100 freestyle at last year's world championships and seventh in the 2006 Europeans, but he has now emerged as one of the favourites at the Beijing Olympics in August.

He powered to the 50-metre mark in 22.53 seconds, more than three-tenths of a second inside his own record time, and swam the second 50 in 24.97.

As he turned to look at the scoreboard displaying his new record, Bernard sat on the lane marker, spread his muscular arms wide and roared in delight.

World short-course record holder Stefan Nystrand of Sweden was second, nearly a second slower than Bernard in 48.40, and world champion Filippo Magnini was third in 48.53.

Source: Agencies