Beijing - China made a 1-2 finish in the women's 200m butterfly final with Olympic debutant Liu Zige winning gold in a world record time Thursday at the Beijing Games.
It's the host nation's first swimming gold of the Games and only its third since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where it grabbed four.
Liu Zige of China celebrates winning the women's 200 meters butterfly swimming final at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 14, 2008. Liu smashed Australian Jessicah Schipper's world record in the women's 200m butterfly Thursday, pocketing host China's first swimming gold at the Beijing Olympic Games.[Agencies]
That unexpected win lifted China's medal tally to 18 golds, six silvers and five bronzes.
In front of thousands of home crowd at the Water Cube, Liu clocked two minutes 04.18 seconds to chop over a second off the previous mark set by Australian Jessicah Schipper in 2006. Her compatriot Jiao Liuyang came second in 2:04.72, and Schipper was third in 2:06.26.
"I didn't expect that I could swim so fast, and I was so surprised to win the gold in a world record time," said Liu.
On a day without Michael Phelps gunning for a medal, Japan's Kosuke Kitajima took center stage in the pool when he won the men's 200m breastroke final to repeat the double breastroke gold he claimed in Athens four years ago.
The 25-year-old, who won the 100m breaststroke on Monday in world-record time, cruised to victory in the 200m in an Olympic record 2:07.64, just outside the world record of 2:07.51 he set in Tokyo in June.
He is the first man to sweep the breaststroke gold medals at two straight Olympics.
"I was not thinking about winning two gold medals at two consecutive Olympics," he said. "That was never my goal. I was just focused on doing my best in Beijing."
Also in swimming, France's Alain Bernard took gold in the men's 100m freestyle in 47.21, just 0.11 seconds ahead of Eamon Sullivan of Australia. Both men had set world records in the semifinals.
The Americans' perfect record in the women's 800-meter relay ended when Australia took the gold medal in a world-record 7:44.31. The U.S., which has won every gold medal since the event was introduced in 1996, finished third behind China. The U.S. also held the previous record of 7:50.09 set at last year's world championships.
Seventeen more gold medals are scheduled Thursday, in which Michael Phelps doesn't go for a medal.
Phelps, who is seeking to break Mark Spitz's record of seven golds in one Games, set in 1972, has won five gold medals at the Games and 11 overall.