By Phillip Whitten
DUBLIN, Ireland, December 12. JUST over a year ago, All American Boy, Michael Cavic, graced the cover of Swimming World after his selection as "High School Swimmer of the Year." Now, young Milorad Cavic, of Serbia and Montenegro is the new world record-holder in the short course 100 meter butterfly, as he barely missed becoming the first flyer under the 50 second barrier. The action took place on Day Two of the European Short Course Championships in Dublin, Ireland.
In a stunning upset, Cavic, a University of California sophomore, took the race out very hard — he split 23.23 — shocking the overwhelming favorite, Thomas Rupprath of Germany, and was never challenged. Cavic touched in 50.02, 8-hundredths faster than Rupprath's record set in 2002. The German, who had won this event the last three times in a row, was second in 50.43 with Ukraine's Andriy Serdinov third in 50.88.
Rupprath, winner of the event at the last three editions of these championships, battled in vain to catch Cavic and lost his world record as well as the title as Cavic hit the wall well ahead of the field. Rupprath took the silver in 50.43 and world long-course bronze medalist Andriy Serdinov of Ukraine the bronze in 50.88.
"I love competing in international championships with the Serbian team," said the 19-year-old Cavic.
It was a hectic evening for Rupprath, who was back half an hour later to retain his 50 meter backstroke crown in his third swim of the session.
"The 50 back final was not good but I did enough to win. I felt much better in the semis. On the other hand I'm quite happy with my performance in the 100 fly," the 26-year-old German said.
Rupprath managed only 23.71 in the final after setting a Championship record (CR) of 23.47 in the semis, but won comfortably over Vyacheslav Shyrshov of Ukraine (24.16) and fellow German Toni Helbig (24.19). Rupprath owns the WR in this event at 23.23.
Eighteen-year-old Hungarian Laszlo Cseh broke the European short course record in the 400 IM, touching in 4:04.10, history's second fastest swim.
Cseh took a two second lead after the fly (55.21) and over a four second lead at the 200 (1:56.14). Britain's Robin Frances erased almost the entire lead with his brilliant 1:07.42 breaststroke split, but Cseh had more than enough left to secure the gold. Francis was second in 4:05.20, with Massi Rosolino edging teammate Alessio Boggiatto for the bronze in 4:06.59.
Britain's fast-rising James Gibson dominated the 100 breaststroke to win in a championship record 58.03 over defending champion Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine (58.46) and fellow Brit Darren Mew (58.78).
There were several upsets on the women's side: Malia Metella scored a surprise victory for France in the 100 free. Fourth at the halfway mark, Metella came storming back to dispose of favorite Marleen Veldhuis of Holland (53.42) and long course world champion, Hanna-Maria Seppala of Finland (53.46).
In the second upset, Spain notched its first gold medal when unheralded
Erika Villaecija swam an even-split race to win the 800 free in 8:18.65. Britain's Rebecca Cooke finished more than three seconds back and Hungary's Eva Risztov, the Euro record-holder in this event, was third. Long course world champion Hannah Stockbauer finished a dismal sixth.
The Netherlands twice set world best times for the women's 200 meter freestyle relay. Hinkelien Schreuder, Annabel Kosten, Chantal Groot and Marleen Veldhuis clocked 1:38.13 in the heats to beat the 1:38.21 set by Sweden in December 2000, then lowered it to 1:37.52 when they won the final. Sweden was also under the old mark in 1:37.68. Sweden had the lead after 150 meters, but Marleen Veldhuis' anchor leg of 23.50 gave the Dutch the win.
Austrian teen Mirna Jukic defended her title in the 200m breaststroke, taking her own CR from last year's 2:21.66 to 2:21.09. Leading all the way, Jukic defeated the German pair of Anne poleska (2:21.93) and Simone Weiler (2:22.64).
Germany's Antje Buschschulte defended her 100m back title in 58.40, ahead of Ilona Hlavackova (CZE) in 58.72 and France's Laure Manaudou in 58.79.
In the women's 50 fly, WR-holder Anna-Karin Kammerling won as expected, though her 25.91 was well off her WR of 25.36 and her CR of 25.60. Martian Moravcova was second and Austria's Fabienne Nadarajah third.
In the semis of the women's 100 IM, Britain's Alison Sheppard had the fastest time, 1:01.55, but the top four women are tightly bunched. Hanna Shcherba is second (1:01.62), Alenka Kejzar third (1:01.72) and Sara Parise fourth (1:01.75).