Yannick Lebherz at the 2011 Indianapolis Grand Prix
Courtesy of: Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports
By Pamela Roberts

BERLIN, Germany, May 1. FOUR titles were handed out on the first day of the German Long Course Nationals in Berlin, Germany.

Yannick Lebherz ended up being the talk of the day when he won his seventh national title in a row in the 400m IM. Lebherz finished the gruelling race in a time of 4:15.34, ahead of Jacob Heidtmann who posted a 4:18.86 and Kevin Wedel with a 4:20.33. Both Lebherz and Heidtmann remained under the time that was set as a qualifier for the European Championships later on in the year.


Fifth-place finisher Johannes Hintze posted a 4:23.63 which is also a new national age-group record, and the second-fastest time by a 14-year-old ever.

Lebherz' race was the last A-final of the first day of the meet which is part of a two-meet qualifier for the European Championships in Berlin in August. Nationals are the first part and a second meet held in Essen in July will provide the second part.

The day in Berlin started with finals of the women's 800m freestyle. The winner was Sarah Koehler who hit the wall first at 8:34.42 ahead of Leonie Antonia Beck (8:35.51) and Patricia-Lucia Wartenberg (8:43.49).

Soeren Meissner then snatched up the next title when he won the men's 1500m freestyle with a time of 15:13.44. Second place finisher was Rob Muffels with a time of 15:19.77 and the third place went to Clemens Rapp who posted a 15:20.76.

In the women's 400m IM, Franziska Hentke called this year's national title her own. In a close race, she came out with a win and a time of 4:44.14, just ahead of Alexandra Wenk (4:45.61) and Finnia Wunram (4:45.86).

Following the A-finals were the women and men's 4x200m freestlye relays and the 4x100 mixed freestlye relay. The women's relay was won by the team of SSG Saar Max Ritter. The quartet consisting of Marlene Huether, Anabel Ivanov, Sarah Bosslet and Antonia Massone finished in a time of 8:13.61 ahead of the teams of SG Dortmund (8:16.09) and SG Frankfurt (8:20.41). On the men's side, it was the team of SG Stadtwerke Munich who won the title. Marius Kusch, Philipp Wolf, Max Nowosad and Florian Vogel finished in a time of 7:17.87, way ahead of the teams of SG Essen (7:31.15) and SC Wiesbaden 1911 (7:36.26).

The winners of the 4x100 mixed freestyle relay were the swimmers of W98 Hannover. Jan-Ole Anneken-Konken, Danil Bugakov, Amelie Braul and Franziska Skrubel finished with a time of 3:38.97, ahead of the team of Telekom Post SG Cologne (3:40.57) and SC Wiesbaden 1911 (3:45.54).

In the B-finals that happened towards the end of the sessions, the crowd got to witness some impressive times in both the women's and the men's 400m IM races. In the women's race, the first three swimmers all posted times that would have placed them in the top ten of the A-finals. Franziska Jansen swam a 4:51.42, Alina Jungklaus finished in 4:53.73 and Maxine Wolters posted a 4:56.15. In the men's 400m IM B-final, it was Ruben Reck whose time of 4:28.86 would have placed him in the top 10 of the A-final.


Results: German Long Course Nationals: Day One