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Popov, DeBruijn Lead the World -- June 14, 1999

Alex is back! Russia's Alex Popov demonstrated he is fully recovered from a knee surgery suffered last November when he recorded the world's top time this year in the 100m freestyle. Swimming in the Mare Nostrum meet in Barcelona (June 5-6), the Russian Rocket stroked the 100m freestyle in a swift 49.45 to re-establish himself as the king of the 100 free. Popov also won the 50 in 22.55, which ranks fourth globally.

Meanwhile Holland's Inge DeBruijn just keeps getting better. The Dutch star, who trains at Tualatin Hills, Oregon, under coach Paul Bergen, zoomed to the top of the world lists in both the 50m and 100m freestyle, replacing Britain's Sue Rolph in both events. At the Trofeu Brasil meet (June 3-6) in Rio de Janeiro, DeBruijn sped to times of 24.94 in the 50, a European record, and 54.92 in the 100--both times a hefty six-tenths of a second faster than Rolph. She also won the 100 fly in 59.46, second this year only to Misty Hyman.

There were other fast times last week as well. In Rio, Ukraine's Denis Silantiev posted times of 53.18 and 1:57.28 in the 100 and 200 fly. The 200 time ranks second globally behind France's Franck Esposito (1:56.17). Brazil's Gustavo Borges clocked 49.98 to win the 100 free.

In Barcelona, Britain's Sue Rolph bested Jenny Thompson to win the 50 and 100 free. Rolph posted times of 25.51 and 55.88, ahead of Thompson's 25.71 and 56.15.