ROME --- When in Rome, throw out the record book.
No need for one at the fastest show on water.
Even with Michael Phelps sitting in the stands, seven more world records fell Thursday. For those who've lost count, that's 29 over five days at the Foro Italico -- and there's still three days to go at the world championships.
At last summer's Beijing Olym-pics, swimmers broke 25 records at the Water Cube, and the world thought that would be tough to beat.
Records fell so fast in Thurs-day's nine events that the crowd barely had time to cheer one swimmer before another mark dropped.
"I think it's only been two or three races that haven't had a world record," said Australia's Jess Schipper, who took down the 200-meter butterfly record.
So, is this a good thing? Or does it cheapen the coin of the realm, so to speak?
"It's hard to say," Schipper said. "It's been a very exciting meet. It's been very fast. But we all knew it was going to be fast coming in here, so nobody can say that they didn't expect this. I think that the world records, while they may have been helped with the suits, it still has a lot to do with the swimmer and the work you've put in."
Ryan Lochte got things rolling by breaking Phelps' mark in the 200-meter individual medley, with the former record holder cheering him on.
Lochte touched in 1 minute, 54.10 seconds. That broke Phelps' gold-medal time of 1:54.23 from Beijing, and Lochte did it wearing the year-old Speedo LZR Racer, just like Phelps the previous night when he broke his own world record in the 200 butterfly.
"Everyone is complaining about all these new suits, blah blah blah, and I go out there and wear the same suit that's been out there and I just give it to them," Lochte said.
He would have liked Phelps in the water, not the stands. Phelps actually had an entire day off, the benefits of a reduced schedule.
"It feels good to do that (world record), but at the same time I wish he was doing it," Lochte said, referring to his biggest rival. "I love a challenge. And I love racing against him, because he is one of the best swimmers ever. Anytime I can race against him, I would be more than happy to."
In one of the most anticipated races of the night, Brazil's Cesar Cielo Filho became the first person to break 47 seconds in the 100 freestyle and have it stand, holding off France's Alain Bernard.
Cielo Filho won the furious down-and-back race in 46.91, beating Eamon Sullivan's mark of 47.05 set during the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics.
Bernard won the Olympic gold when he beat Sullivan in the final. But the big Frenchman had to settle for silver in Rome at 47.12, with countryman Fred Bousquet also reaching the medal stand in third.
Cielo Filho won the 50 free in Beijing, and now he's got a 100 title on his resume.
A look at the seven world records set Thursday during the world swimming championships:
- Ryan Lochte, men's 200 individual medley, 1:54.10
- Jessica Schipper, women's 200 butterfly, 2:03.41
- Cesar Cielo Filho, men's 100 freestyle, 46.91
- Annamay Pierse, women's 200 breaststroke, 2:20.12
- Christian Sprenger, men's 200 breaststroke, 2:07.31
- Zhao Jing, women's 50 backstroke, 27.06
- China (Yang Yu, Qian Wei Zhu, Liu Jing, Pang Jiaying), women's 800 freestyle relay, 7:42.08