Day 2 at Euro Short Course: How Swede It Is!

VALENCIA, Spain, Dec. 15. SWEDEN continued to dominate the victory stand on the second day of competition at the European Short Course Championships in Valencia, winning four gold medals to go with the two they won yesterday.

Olympic silver medalist Therese Alshammar, 23, got things going for the Swedes, when she repeated her 1999 triumph in the 100m free, clocking 53.13. The time was almost a second slower than her world mark of 52.17 set in March at the world short-course championships in Athens. But it was easily fast enough to ensure the win. Alshammar's teammate, Johanna Sjoberg, was second in 53.82 as the Swedes swept one-two. Martina Moravcova of Slovakia was third in 53.97.

Anna-Karin Kammerling chalked up the second Swedish win of the evening, breaking her own world short course for the 50m fly. Kammerling flew to a 25.60 clocking, 4-hundredths of a second under the world mark she set at these same championships one year ago.

Only minutes later, and still dripping wet, she anchored Sweden's 4×50 meter freestyle relay to a world record 1:38.21. The team of Annika Lofstedt, Alshammar, Sjoberg and Kammerling broke the mark of 1:38.45 in the seldom-swum event set by almost exactly the same Swedish team last December 10. The only new member of the team was Lofstedt, who replaced Malin Svahnstrom.

Great Britain finished right behind Sweden in 1:38.39, also under the old record.

Sweden's Emma Igelstrom, who won Thursday's 50m breaststroke sprint, swam to her second gold with a close win over Poland's Alicja Peczak in the 200m breaststroke. Peczak, who served a two-year suspension for steroids, led almost the entire way, but Igelstrom came storming back in the final few meters to nip the Pole, 2:24.05 to 2:24.17. Anne-Marie Gulbrandsen of Norway was third in 2:25.55.

The only sour note in a very Swede evening came when Olympic champion Lars Frolander was upset by Germany's Thomas Rupprath in the 100m fly, depriving the Swede of the "Superstar 2000" jackpot of DM100,000 (US$45,000). Frolander had won the first three meets that counted toward winning the jackpot, but was frustrated by the German in his bid for a fourth, and decisive, title. Rupprath finished in 51.31 seconds, with Frolander second in 51.76. The Swede holds the short course world mark at 50.44.

A tired Rupprath, who had qualified first in the 50m backstroke, paid for his upset win when he faded into fourth place in the dorsal sprint. Croatia's Ante Maskovic won in 24.60, beating Iceland's Orn Arnarson, winner of the 200m backstroke title yesterday. The battle for second was fierce, with only two-hundredths of a second separating second and fourth. Arnarson finished in 24.81, Lithuania's Darius Grigalionis swam 24.82 and Rupprath touched in 24.83.

Italy's Alessio Boggiatto, who finished fourth in the 400 IM at the Sydney Olympics after qualifying first, was all business tonight. Taking advantage of a huge backstroke leg, the Italian cruised to victory in the 400 IM in 4:10.61. Spanish veteran Frederik Hviid was second in 4:12.94, just ahead of Israel's Mickey Halika in 4:13.48.

The Czech Republic scored its first win when Ilona Hlavackova took gold in the women's 100m backstroke.
Hlavackova finished in a championship record 58.82, the only swimmer under a minute. Britain's Kathy Sexton was second in 1:00.04, while injured defending champ, Nina Zhivanevskaya of Spain, was third in 1:00.09.

Switzerland's Chantal Strasser won the longest women's event at the championships, taking the gold in the 800m freestyle in 8:27.23. Britain's Rebecca Cooke was second in 8:29.94. Only six swimmers contested the event, as many of Europe's top competitors are taking a break after the Olympics. Ukraine's Yana Klochkova, who won four titles including the 800 freestyle at the 1999 edition of these championships, did not defend her 800 crown.

Italian Olympic champion Domenico Fioravanti won the men's 100m breaststroke title, coming from fifth at the 50-meter mark to win in 58.89 seconds. Daniel Malek of the Czech Republic took the silver in 59.67 and Britain's Darren Mew the bronze in 1:00.04.
Russia's Roman Sludnov, the long course world record-holder, did not defend the title he won last year.

The medal count after the first two days:
G S B Total
Sweden 6 2 1 9
Italy 4 0 0 4
Germany 3 1 1 5
Czech Republic 1 1 2 4
Croatia 1 1 1 3
Ukraine 1 1 1 3
Iceland 1 1 0 2
Switzerland 1 0 0 1
Britain 0 5 2 7
Denmark 0 2 0 2
Poland 0 2 0 2
Russia 0 1 1 2
Spain 0 1 1 2
Norway 0 0 2 2
Slovenia 0 0 2 2
Austria 0 0 1 1
Israel 0 0 1 1
Lithuania 0 0 1 1
Slovakia 0 0 1 1

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