The shortcourse world championships started off with a bang in Manchester in England on Wednesday, AP reports.

The decision by swimming`s world governing body FINA not to ban the new high-tech Speedo suits resulted in another heap of records in the pool.

Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe started things off by setting the world record in the 400 metre individual medley.

The United States team of Ryan Lochte, Bryan Lundquist, Nathan Adrian and Doug Van Wie matched the feat in the men`s 4x100m freestyle relay - the first time the four had ever raced together.

Then the Dutch team of Inge Dekker, Fernke Heemskerk, Marleen Veldhuis and Ranomi Kromowidjojo established a new world mark in the women`s 4x200m freestyle relay, where Australia claimed bronze.

The records were set in the final three races of the night and eight of the nine swimmers involved wore the new Speedo suit. Only Van Wie - who used a TYR brand suit - did not wear an LZR.

The LZR has now been worn for 21 of the 22 world records set since it was introduced in February.

FINA announced it would not ban the contentious suit because it has seen no scientific proof that it gives swimmers an unfair advantage, despite critics who say it is overly buoyant.

Italy head coach Alberto Castagnetti has said wearing the suit is "technological doping".

In the medley, Coventry timed 4 minutes, 26.52 seconds. Yana Klochkova of Ukraine set the previous world mark of 4:27.83 in 2002.

Local favorite Hannah Miley of Britain finished second in 4:27.27 and Mireia Belmonte of Spain took bronze in 4:27.55 - both also ahead of Klochkova`s old mark.

Shortly before the race, Coventry also posted a championship record in the 100 backstroke semi-finals, swimming 57.99.

"Going from the 100 backstroke into the 400IM is a totally different mentality, but it gives me more confidence going into Beijing," Coventry said. "Events like this are definitely helping me to prepare for Beijing."

The US men`s record in the 4x100 relay was set with a time of 3:08.44. Sweden set the previous mark of 3:09.57 in 2000.

Powerhouse Australia was a disappointing fifth.

The Dutch women finished in 7:38.90 in the 4x200 freestyle relay. China had set the previous mark of 7:46.30 at the 2002 short-course worlds in Moscow.

The next three finishers - Britain, Australia and the United States - were also ahead of the old mark and Australia`s Kylie Palmer broke the world record for a single leg with a remarkable swim of 1:52.54 - 0.9 seconds better than any other swimmer in the race and more than a second better than Libby Trickett`s old mark.

In the men`s 200m freestyle final, Kenrick Monk took gold from fellow Australian Kirk Palmer.

Palmer led at 100 metres but Monk won in 1:43.46, beating his teammate by 0.04 seconds for his first individual world title.

Also, Mary Descenza set a championship record by swimming 2:04.27 to win the women`s 200 butterfly final, breaking Australian Jessica Schipper`s previous time of 2:05.11 set at the last shortcourse worlds in Shanghai in 2006.