ALSHAMMAR ROCKS FREE RECORD: HOW SWEDE IT IS!
Lisbon, Portugal – Therese Alshammar led a Swedish charge on the record books with an amazing world record of 52.80 to win the 100m freestyle at the European short-course championships in Lisbon, Portugal.
The 22-year-old Stockholm sprinter, who has left Nebraska to train in Hamburg, shaved 0.21 off the 1993 standard set by China’s Le Jingyi. At the half-way turn, Alshammar was inside Le’s pace, clocking 25.30, to the Chinese 1996 Olympic champion’s 25.49 split on her way to winning the world short-course title in Palma de Majorca six years ago.
Since September, Alshammar has been training with Sandra Voelker, the German who was second to Le in 1996 but third in Lisbon behind Susan Rolph of Britain, whose 53.26 was a commonwealth record and the fifth fastest ever. Voelker clocked 53.34. The Swede’s best short-course time in September was 55.20 but Dirk Lange, the coach at Hamburg said that Alshammar had responded amazingly well to a weight-training program this season and had progressed even beyond his expectations, which had been a low 53sec swim.
Lange celebrated a second victory when Mark Foster, who also trains for some of the year in Hamburg when not at home at Bath University in England, retained his 50m freestyle crown over Dutchman Pieter Van Den Hoogenband, 21.71 to 21.79.
Alshammar’s national teammate, Anna-Karin Kammerling lowered Jenny Thompson’s world record in the 50m butterfly, from 26.00 to 25.64, while the Swedish women’s 4 x 50m freestyle relay established a world record of 1:38.45 for victory.
Lars Frolander wowed Sweden still further by taking the 100m butterfly title from Britain’s James Hickman, 51.19 to 51.43, but a still bigger upset came in the women’s 200m breaststroke, in which Agnes Kovacs of Hungary was defeated by little-known German, Anne Poleska, in 2:24.78, a championship record, to 2:25.41.
Nina Zhivanevskaya, the Russian-born Spaniard, dipped below 1 minute to win the 100m backstroke in 59.87, while Iceland won its first title in Lisbon. Orn Arnarson retained his 200m backstroke crown in 1:54.23, a championship record.
Yana Klochkova of Ukraine switched from medley to distance freestyle to win the 800m in an impressive 8:22.37, also a championship record, to defeat defending champion Flavia Rigamonti of Switzerland. The men’s distance title of the day, over 400m, went to Italy’s Massimiliano Rosolino in 3:42.00 ahead of Jorg Hoffmann, Germany’s veteran distance star (3:42.88).