SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Australian Eamon Sullivan set the 50-meter freestyle world record again, lowering the mark to 21.41 seconds on Thursday.

Sullivan, competing in the semifinals of the Australian championships at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre on Thursday, broke the mark of 21.50 seconds set by France's Alain Bernard at the European championships last weekend in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Bernard had bested Sullivan's mark of 21.56 set last month. The previous record of 21.64, held by Russian Alexander Popov, was set in Moscow on June 16, 2000.

"It's sort of sweet to get this back after missing it last night," Sullivan said. "I felt great in the warmup tonight and great in the swim."

The 22-year-old Sullivan said he is optimistic he could again lower the world record Friday in the final.

"I hope so, I always like to think I can take off another couple of hundredths in the finals."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.