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LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - Dana Vollmer of the United States set the fastest qualifying time in the heats of the women's 100 metres butterfly on the opening day of the Olympic swimming competition on Saturday.
The reigning world champion broke Inge de Bruijn's 12-year-old Olympic record of 56.61 when she sailed through her heat in 56.25 seconds, almost a second ahead of her nearest rival, China's Lu Ying (57.17).
Australia's Alicia Coutts was third overall while Swedish world record holder Sarah Sjostrom qualified fourth fastest in 57.45.
"I am really happy with how fast it was, and I feel like it is only going to get faster," said Vollmer.
"I am going to keep working on what I have been working on, having a tighter rhythm, hitting my walls... Just making sure I do all those extra things."
The top 16 qualified for Saturday night's semi-finals, with the fastest eight from the semis advancing to Sunday's final.
Australia's Jessicah Schipper, a bronze medallist in the event in Beijing four years ago, missed out after finishing 24th overall, while Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak, the 2004 Olympic champion over 200m, was 25th.
Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Greg Stutchbury