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Dutch Men Swim World Best Time in 4x50 Freestyle Relay at Dutch Open Swim Cup in Eindhoven  -- March 31, 2004

EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands, March 31. FOUR swimmers from the PSV swim club swam a World Best Time in the 4x50 freestyle to conclude a great Dutch Open Swim Cup in their hometown of Eindhoven.

Mark Veens started the first 50 in 22.98, followed by Gijs Damen (21.74) and Klaas Erik Zwering (22.09), before Pieter van den Hoogenband anchored the relay in 21.53 for a total of 1:28.34.

The previous record was held by a German team, set on January 6th 1991 in Perth. FINA doesn’t officially recognize world records in this event, the time will therefore be recorded as a World Best Time. The Netherlands also holds the fastest time for this event in a short course pool, set during the European short course Championships in Dublin, last December.

The four day meet had some very interesting finals in the freestyle events. The Dutch have a good chance to make finals with the relays during the Olympics, an a lot of swimmers want to earn a spot on those teams.

The 100 freestyle was won by Pieter van den Hoogenband, but his 49.33 was just a training speed for him. Former backstroker Klaas Erik Zwering placed second in 50.15, just ahead of Mark Veens who swam 50.42 during the prelims. Hoogie also won the 50 meter in 22.66, just ahead of Barcelona silver medallist Mark Foster (22.86).

Van den Hoogenband's time for the 200 freestyle was more impressive, clocking 1:46.92 after a split of 51.83. Number two, Dimitrios Manganas, proved to be a valuable swimmer for the Greek 4x200 freestyle relay in Athens, he finished in 1:50.43.

The women’s freestyle events showed interesting duels between Chantal Groot and Marleen Veldhuis. Both swimmers of Top Swimming Amsterdam have to compete with Inge de Bruijn for the two available spots on several events. Inky will make her first appearance next week, when she participates in Amsterdam with her Tualatin Hills Swim Club.

Veldhuis won all freestyle duels, closely followed by Groot. At the 50 both women swam under 26 seconds (25.34 and 25.44), with Annabel Kosten in third place (25.65). These three women also formed the top of the 100 freestyle, with Marleen Veldhuis (55.42) a length ahead of Groot (56.08) and Kosten (56.30). Veldhuis led from the start in the 200 and finished in 2:02.20, 0,71 seconds faster than Groot.

Chantal Groot did win the 100 butterfly, but she wasn’t satisfied yet with her time of 1:00.31.

On the men’s side, the were several nice races, like the one between breaststrokers Thijs van Valkengoed and Junior Lennart Stekelenburg in the 100. Stekelenburg led halfway, but Van Valkengoed finished first in 1:03.37 to the 1:04.20 of Stekelenburg.

Also the non-Olympic 50 butterfly was a nice race, with the three top performers within 0.3 seconds. Mark Foster gained enough by his brilliant start to finish first in 24.36, closely followed by Joris Keizer (24.48) and Ewout Holst (24.65). Keizer won the 100 butterfly easily without competition in 53.95, after splitting 24.96.

The 200 IM had an international top three, with Ioannis Kokkodis finishing first for Greece in 2:04.01. German Christian Keller followed him closely (2:04.48), a second ahead of Ioannis Drymonakos from Greece (2:05.41).

Although the pool in Eindhoven was completely restyled for this meet, it is quite old and not very fast. The construction of a brand new Olympic sized pool in Eindhoven will start this summer and will be ready in 2006. This is going to be the first 10-lane 50 meter pool in the country.

The swimmers have another chance in qualifying for Athens when the meet continues on Thursday in Amsterdam, for the last four days of the Dutch Open Swim Cup. The Dutch team will be finalised at the Dutch Nationals, starting April 15th in Amsterdam.