ALSHAMMAR HAMMERS ANOTHER RECORD!
Lisbon, Portugal – Therese Alshammar sent smoke rising from the water yet again at the European short-course championships in Lisbon, Portugal, with a world record of 24.09 to win the 50m freestyle title.
The Stockholm sprinter who trains in Hamburg with coach Dirk Lange, powered to victory after leading the race from start to finish and stopping the clock 0.14 under the 1994 record of China’s Le Jingyi. She clocked 24.27 to set a European record in the semi-finals and placed her rivals firmly on the defensive.
Alshammar, 22, had set the world record of 52.80 in the 100m freestyle on Friday to clear the name of Le Jingyi from the individual short-course record books.
In Lisbon, her race was held up after the starter’s claxon sounded several times in error after the start of the race and the swimmers were recalled. An engineer worked on the problem for several minutes before the competition resumed.
The delay had obviously not disturbed the Swede at all as she thundered away from Britain’s Sue Rolph and her own teammate Anna Karin-Kammerling, who finished tied for second with an oddly distant 24.90.
Alshammar said: “I am feeling wonderful. This is my best ever but I’m done for these championships.” However, she indicated better could have been possible because her race had been delayed by a faulty starter’s claxon. “This final went well but not as well as it could have gone – I don’t know why they stopped the race. I don’t think there was a false start,” said the Swede.
Alshammar’s Hamburg teammate, Sandra Voelker, suffered a worse fate as far as the starter was concerned. She missed her own 50m backstroke world record by just 0.04 to retain her title in 27.31 after faltering as she emerged from her start because the claxon was still sounding. The race was not recalled and Voelker raced on well ahead of nearest rival, Russian-born Spaniard Nina Zhivanevskaya.
“I am satisfied but I was prejudiced due to that false start,” said Voelker. “They should have stopped the race. I’m not in my best shape – I think I’ll be faster next year.”
Ukrainian Yana Klochkova continued to impress as a distance freestyler with a 4:05.12 championship record to win the 400 meters. If she wins the 200m medley on Sunday, she will have won four individual titles, more than any other swimmer at these championships.
James Hickman of Britain retained his 200m butterfly title comfortably though the race was robbed of his teammate Stephen Parry, who clocked 1:54.32 in the morning heats before withdrawing from the final suffering from flu symptoms. Hickman’s 1:53.52 victory was well shy of his world record but good enough to see off Germany’s Thomas Rupprath and Ukraine’s Denis Silantiev, whose times were slower than Parry’s heats effort.
The most impressive male performance of the day came from Roman Sloudnov of Russia, whose 58.85 victory in the 100m breaststroke was only 0.06 shy of Frederik Deburghgraeve’s world record. The 19-year-old was challenged all the way by Patrik Isaksson of Sweden, who faded in the closing 10 meters to finish second in 59.32, with home star Jose Couto providing the host Portuguese with a popular first medal of the championships in 59.70.