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Alshammar, Popov Top 50 Free Prelims -- July 8, 2000

HELSINKI, July 8. Sweden's Therese Alshammar and Russia's Alex Popov led the women's and men's prelims qualifiers in the 50 free at the European Championships today.

Using smooth, powerful strokes, Alshammar clocked 24.96, three-quarters of a second ahead of Austria's Judith Draxler, the second qualifier at a distant 25.70. Only one other woman cracked 26 seconds.

Popov had no trouble in leading the men's field, clocking 22.44. The next four swimmers are all potential medalists: Italy's Lorenzo Vismara at 22.60, Sweden's Lars Frolander at 22.65, Poland's Bart Kizierowski, swimming unrested and unshaved at 22.67, and Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband, also unrested and unshaved at 22.71.

Nina Zhivanevskaya, the Russian-turned-Spaniard who already has won the women's 100 and 200 meter backstroke, was half a second ahead of the field in the 50 back, turning in a 28.96 prelim time. Germany's Sandra Voelker, the former WR-holder, flew home and did not compete today, after her controversial disqualification in the 100 backstroke on Thursday. Fifteen year-old Romanian Diana Mocanu qualified second in 29.40.

Poland's 16 year-old rising star, Otylia Jedrzejczak, led all qualifiers in the women's 200 fly in 2:10.30, a second faster than pre-meet favorite Mette Jacobsen (2:11.34) HELSINKI, July 8. Sweden's Therese Alshammar and Russia's Alex Popov led the women's and men's prelims qualifiers in the 50 free at the European Championships today.

Using smooth, powerful strokes, Alshammar clocked 24.96, three-quarters of a second ahead of Austria's Judith Draxler, the second qualifier at a distant 25.70. Only one other woman cracked 26 seconds.

Popov had no trouble in leading the men's field, clocking 22.44. The next four swimmers are all potential medalists: Italy's Lorenzo Vismara at 22.60, Sweden's Lars Frolander at 22.65, Poland's Bart Kizierowski, swimming unrested and unshaved at 22.67, and Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband, also unrested and unshaved at 22.71.

Nina Zhivanevskaya, the Russian-turned-Spaniard who already has won the women's 100 and 200 meter backstroke, was half a second ahead of the field in the 50 back, turning in a 28.96 prelim time. Germany's Sandra Voelker, the former WR-holder, flew home and did not compete today, after her controversial disqualification in the 100 backstroke on Thursday. Fifteen year-old Romanian Diana Mocanu qualified second in 29.40.

Poland's 16 year-old rising star, Otylia Jedrzejczak, led all qualifiers in the women's 200 fly in 2:10.30, a second faster than pre-meet favorite Mette Jacobsen (2:11.34)