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Russia Dominates as Euro Junior Champs Come to a Close -- July 14, 2002

LINZ,Austria, July 14. MICHAEL Cavic is not Anthony Ervin, at least not quite yet.

The Irvine NOVA sprint star, who'll be a freshman at the University of California Berkeley this fall where Olympic champ Ervin will be a senior, has the explosiveness of his Golden Bear idol but not quite the endurance as was demonstrated this evening in the finals of the 100 free.

The last night of the European Junior Championships saw Cavic, representing Yugoslavia, take his second silver medal of the competion -- to go along with gold in the 50 free -- when he was just outtouched by France's Fabian Gilot, 50.47-50.49. He was also second in the 100 fly.

Cavic was well ahead this evening at the 50 (23.54-23.93) but the winner raced home in 26.61 to Cavic's 27.15.

Cavic was top qualifier (51.10). In his second final of the evening, Cavic finished fourth in the 50 fly.

However, in defense of the Cal "rookie," his focus this summer is getting ready for the "Big Dance," i.e., the European Championships starting in Berlin in 11 days. This was just a "tune up," although of course he would have prefered to have been first.

Both swimmers' times are prs and auger well for their future. Ervin was 51+ out of high school but set a world record (short course meters) at NCAAs in the 50 free his freshman season, then tied with teammate Gary Hall, Jr., for the Olympic gold in the 50 free at Sydney six months later. Last year, Ervin led
the world rankings in the 50-100 frees and was World Champion in both at Fukuoka.

* * * * *

Several swimmers picked up their second or third gold medal of the competition tonight, including Russia's Yuri Prilukov who won the 1500 in 15:14.85, almost 22 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, to complete a sweep of the men's distance events. Earlier, Prilukov had won the 200 and 400m freestyle events in convincing fashion.

Austria's Mina Jukic got her second with a 1:09.91 100 breaststoke victory. In the semis, she had clocked an EJR 1:09.69, breaking the record of 1:09.87 set by East Germany's Sylvia Gerasch 18 years ago.

Jukic had previously won the 200 breast setting a national record and continental junior mark of 2:26.42, and she'll undoubtedly be swimming at Berlin -- along with countrywoman and UCLA All-America Elvira Fischer, an NCAA finalist.

Another gold medalist and likely Berlin competitor is Hungary's up-and-coming Diana Remenyi, a talented 16-year-old who won the 200 IM in a pr 2:16.35. She came from behind at the 100 to top France's 100 back gold medalist, Laure Manaudou, who went a pr 2:17.03 for the silver. Remenyi had earlier won the 400 IM in 4:46.20

Another Hungarian medalist was flyer Katalin Taray, who topped the charts in the 100 with her 1:02.19 win. Teammate Renata Papp made it a clean sweep
with her silver medal-winning 1:02.53.

Hungary will have a small but powerful women's delegation at Berlin with Olympic and World Champion breaststroker Agnes Kovacs leading the team. The Magyars will also feature the multi-talented Eva Risztov, world-leader in the 400 free -400 IM and No. 2 globally in the 200 fly and 800 free; Remenyi and
perhaps Taray and Papp, among others.

Russia, which was both the women's and men's top team in terms of overall medals won, swept the first two spots in the women's 200 free when Polina Shornikova defeated teammate Regina Sytch, 2:02.40-2:03.55. The bear of the east scored a third gold when Stanislava Komarova was an easy victor in the 200 back (2:11.56) with Ukraine's Yana Arnshannikova (2:14.29) runner-up.

Komarova's 200 pr is Russia's national record -- 2:10.43 from last year's World Championships, where she was a finalist.

Russia notched a fourth gold in the women's 4 x 100m medley relay, clocking a European Junior record 4:12.41, to lop almost two seconds off the old mark, 4:14.21 set by Germany just last year.

The Russian men were every bit as dominant as the women, duplicating the women's 200 free sweep with one of their own in the 200 IM. Igor Berezutsky, winner of the 400 IM, stroked to a 2:03.65 pr win over Alexei Zetsepin's 2:04.92. The Euro junior record is 2:02.66 by Great Britain's James Goddard from last year's meet at Malta -- still his pr -- and Goddard will be aiming for a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, starting in 11 days.

Germany scored a pair of wins tonight when sprinter Dainela Gotz went a career-best 25.76 to edge Poland's Agata Korc's NR 25.86 for first-place in the 50 free. Her teammate, 17-year-old backstroker Dominik Keil, won the men's 100 back pr 56.07, then led off his country's victorious 400 medley relay in 57.10.

Germany's winning time, 3:44.99, missed the Euro junior record by a mere .03.

Poland's Lukasz Boral took the men's 200m breaststroke in 2:17.08, with Italy's Paolo Bossini second in 2:17.82.

The final individual gold went to Croatia's Alexei Puninski, who won the 50 fly in 24.57. His time is .02 off the meet-record of 24.55 by Russia's
Alexei Serdinov from the meet in Moscow two years ago.

Second was a tie between Russia's Nikolai Skvartsov and Sweden's Tor Sundin (24.67), while Cavic was fourth in 24.69.

-- Bill Bell

TOP THREE TEAMS (WOMEN)

GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL

Russia 8 6 2 16
Hungary 4 4 2 10
Germany 3 2 3 8

TOP THREE TEAMS (MEN)

Russia 8 6 2 16
Germany 3 1 2 6
France 2 1 1 4

Complete team results under "Results"


Results: European Junior Championships