BARCELONA, June 11. UKRAINIAN Olympic medalists Yana Klochkova (double gold) and Denis Sylantyev (silver) plus World Champion Oleg Lisogor recorded solid if not spectacular wins on Day 1 of the XXII GP International "Ciutat de Barcelona" at the Olympic Pool.
Lisogor won the 50 breast — a race where's he is defending World and European champion — while Klochkova won the 200 IM and Sylantyev the 200
The meet, concluding Wednesday, is the final stop of the four-meet Mare Nostrum Series which began a week and-a-half ago in Monte Carlo, then moved on to Rome and Canet last weekend.
Klochkova, keeping her undefeated streak alive in the series, won her fourth 200 IM with a 2:15.52. Her European record and Sydney gold medal-winning swim was 2:10.68, history's second-best performance. She swam a world-leading 2:12.95 at Monte Carlo and is defending European Champ with her 2:12.57 from Helsinki two years ago.
Still smarting from her defeat by America's Maggie Bowen at last summer's World Championships in Fukuoka, Klochkova has told European journlaists her goal for the summer is gold at Berlin (European Championships) and hopefully the world-record — 2:09.72 by China's Wu Yanyan from the 1997 National Games in Shanghai.
Wu later tested positive for steroids and was banned from swimming for four years.
Sylantyev, who went a seasonal pr 1:56.29 to win at Canet and is undefeated in the series, won tonight in 1:56.90 to Russia's Anatoliy Poliakov's 1:57.74. Poliakov's pr is 1:55.68 from the World Championships where he was fourth. The Russian record is 1:55.27 by Denis Pankratov that won him the gold at Atlanta six years ago.
Sylantyev's NR is 1:55.76 and that time earned the blonde Ukrainain star second at the Olympics. He'll be battling France's Franck Esposito, Euro record-holder with his 1:54.62, No. 2 all-time, for top honors at the Euro title meet next month.
Although he swam at Rome, Esposito did not swim at either Canet or here this evening.
China had a quartet of winners in Qi Hui, who defeated the USA's Amanda Beard in the 200 breast for the second-straight meet; men's backstroker Yu Rui, who went a seasonal pr 2:00.75 to win by a second over Spain's Jorge Sanchez's 2:01.70; woman sprinter Yanwei Xu, who won the 50 in 25.72 and 50 flyer Xi Zheng.
Qi, rounding into form for the Pan-Pacs at Yokohama in August and then the Asian Games this fall in Busan, South Korea, won the 200 breast — where she holds the world-record at 2:22.99 — with a 2:27.16 to Beard's 2:28.01. The winning time was not far off the meet record of 2:26.86 by countrywoman Luo Nan from last year's meeting.
Zheng won the short fly in a tight race with France's Malia Metella, 27.66-27.74. The world record is held by Holland's Inge deBruijn (25.64) and the meet record belongs to Slovakia's Martina Moravcova (27.64) set in
last year's competition.
Romanian Cezar Badita, back from a drug suspension, won his second-consecutive 200 IM with a seasonal pr 2:02.64 to 2:03.64 for Hungary's (and USC's) Tamas Kerekjarto, making his European seasonal debut. Don't be surprised to see this duo plus (probably) Finland's world record-holder Jani Sievinen, Great Britain's James Hickman and even Germany's new Euro record-holder in the 100 fly, Thomas Rupprath, on the blocks for the finals in Berlin.
Russian sprint Czar Alex Popov showed his heels to the field in the 50 free with a solid 22.54-23.01 win over Algeria's Salim Iles. Croatia's Duje Draganja and Yugoslavia's Michael Cavic have suggested that Popov's time has come — and gone — in the 50 and that they're the "new kids on the block."
Well, Popov won three of the four 50s in the series and says he's not quite ready for that rocking chair yet.
Another Hungarian making his summer debut was sprinter Attila Zubor, who won the 200 free in 1:50.54 to Greece's Athanaios Okonomou's 1:50.76. Zubor's pr is 1:49.82 from last year here and the Hungarian record is 1:49.00 by former USC standout and NCAA 200 free champ Bela Szabados.
Russia's 100 breast World Champion/record-holder Roman Sludnov won the 200 in 2:15.54 to Hungary's Richard Bodor's 2:17.47. Sludnov won at Canet in 2:14.4.
The men's 50 fly went to Olympic and World 100 champ Lars Frolander of Sweden (24.00). Finland's Jere Hard (24.19) won the silver. Hard is defending Euro champ (NR 23.88) with Frolander second (23.96). The latter
was also runner-up to Australia's Geoff Huegill at Fukuoka (23.50-23.57). Frolander's time is the continental standard.
In the women's 50 back, the Czech Republic's Ilona Hlavackova won in 28.87, while on the men's side America's Neil Walker claimed the gold with a 26.22-26.27 win over South Africa's Gerhard Zandberg. USA's Lenny Krayzelburg holds the world record with his 24.99, nd has the 100 meter back world record too.
The 50 breast went to Great Britain's Zoe Baker (31.48), Poland's Otylia Jedrejczak won the 200 fly (2:11.30), Spain's Nina Zhivanevsyaka the 200 back (2:14.28) and Romania's Camelia Potec won the 200 free (2:00.39) to complete the first day's events.
– Bill Bell