CHARTRES, France, November 23. DENMARK and Russia had really strong nights during the second evening of finals at the European Short Course Championships held in Chartres.
Women's 800 free
With newly-minted world-record holder Camille Muffat not competing after throwing down an 8:01.06 at the French Short Course Nationals a week ago, Denmark's Lotte Friis had a wide-open opportunity for victory in the distance free. After hanging with Muffat's pace through 400 meters, Friis faded but still managed to claim a five-second victory over Great Britain's Hannah Miley, 8:10.24 to 8:15.66. Great Britain's Aimee Willmott earned third-place honors in 8:18.90. Friis had a chance to take a run at her Danish record of 8:04.61 set at the Berlin stop of the World Cup in 2009, but could not maintain her speed on the backhalf. Miley jumped into the top 25 all time with her Scottish record.
Men's 400 IM
The Hungarians took the top two spots on the podium with Laszlo Cseh collecting a dominant victory in the distance medley with a 4:00.99. David Verraszto placed second in 4:02.54, while Israel's Gal Nevo earned third in 4:04.80. Cseh clipped his best time this year of 4:01.01 from the Stockholm stop of the World Cup tour, but still finished three seconds back of his second-best all time effort of 3:57.27 from the Euro Short Course Champs in 2009. Verrastzo (4:00.10) and Nevo (4:00.55) have also both been faster, and look to be keeping some in the tank for Worlds in Turkey.
Women's 200 breast
Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen crushed the field in the event with a 2:17.26, just off the European record in the event. Spain's Marina Garcia Urzainqui touched second in 2:20.57, while Ukraine's Ganna Dzerkal placed third in 2:21.94. Pedersen took the top swim of the year by far, bettering the 2:19.33 from Rie Kaneto in Beijing on the World Cup, but fell a bit short of her 2:16.66 from 2009 Euros that stands as the European record and third-best swim of all time. Urzainqui smashed the Spanish record of 2:21.65 set by Mireia Belmonte at the 2007 World Championships, and moved to the outskirts of the top 25 all time.
Men's 100 breast
Italy's Fabio Scozzoli nearly moved to the top of the world rankings this year with a sizzling 57.25 to win the event. Estonia's Martti Aljand took second in 57.75, while France's Giacomo Perez Dortona wound up third in 57.76. Cameron van der Burgh still owns the best time this year with a 57.22 from the Doha stop of the World Cup, while Scozzoli neared his Italian record of 57.01 from the 2009 Euro Short Course Championships. Aljand also gave his national mark a run, having a lifetime best of 57.51 to his credit.
Women's 100 free
Russia's Veronika Popova raced to victory in the sprint free with a 52.86, while Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray touched second in 53.13. France's Charlotte Bonnet picked up third in 53.23. Popova moved to second in the world this year behind Britta Steffen's blistering 52.38 from the Singapore stop of the World Cup. Popova is the first swimmer from Russian to break 53 seconds, bettering the Russian record of 53.20 owned by Anastasia Aksenova.
Women's 100 back
Ukraine's Daryna Zevina stormed down the back half to victory in the event with a swift 57.07. France's Laure Manaudou showed she still has it even as a veteran swimmer with a second-place 57.70. Czech's Simona Baumrtova finished third in 58.08. Zevina and Manaudou moved to second and third in the world this year, behind Rachel Goh's strong 57.02 at the Beijing stop of the World Cup. Zevina gave her Ukrainian record a run, but missed the 56.71 she set at the 2011 Duel in the Pool.
Men's 100 fly
Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin broke 50 seconds to win the title in 49.98, while Spain's Rafael Munoz Perez finished second in 50.39. France's Medhy Metella turned in a third-place time of 50.66 to complete the podium. Korotyshkin joined Chad Le Clos under 50 seconds this year as Le Clos has the top time with a 49.60 at the Doha stop of the World Cup. Korotyshkin owns the world record in the event with a scorching 48.48 from the Beijing stop of the 2009 World Cup during the techsuit era. Munoz Perez's top time is a 49.74.
Women's 50 fly
Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray proved she had plenty in the tank after cruising through semis as she dominated the sprint fly in 25.21 to crush her previous world-leading time of 25.42 from the Singapore stop of the World Cup. Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia touched second in 25.53, while France's Melanie Henique posted a third-place 25.76 after leading semis with a 25.67. Ottesen Gray's time fell just a bit short of her fourth-ranked lifetime best of 24.92, while Herasimenia moved to 17th all time in the event's history.
Men's 50 back
France's Jeremy Stravius held a bit back in semis and turned on the jets in the finale with a winning time of 23.28. Meanwhile, Israel's Guy Barnea touched second in 23.46, while Russia's Vlad Morozov completed the podium with a third-place 23.47. Stanislav Donets still held the top time in the world this year with a 23.12 from the Tokyo World Cup stop, but elected to focus on Worlds instead of Euros. The swim bettered Stravius' previous best of 23.39 from 2009 Euros, and broke the French record of 23.33 set by Ben Stasiulis in 2009 to move to 14th all time.
Mixed 200 medley relay
The French foursome of Jeremy Stravius (23.13), Florent Manaudou (25.90), Melanie Henique (25.61) and Anna Santamans (24.10) closed out the relay title in 1:38.74, while Slovenia's Anja Carman (27.19), Damir Dugonjic (25.57), Peter Mankoc (22.20) and Nastja Govejsek (24.83) finished second in 1:39.79. Norway's Lavrans Solli (24.08), Aleksander Hetland (25.78), Monica Johannessen (26.06) and Cecilie Johannessen (24.18) rounded out the podium in 1:40.10.
Men's 50 back
Another top swimmer, Stanislav Donets of Russia, is not competing in Chartres with a focus on World Championships next month. With that door open, France's Jeremy Stravius checked in with a 23.37 to lead qualifying. Israel's Guy Barnea qualified second in 23.47. France's Ben Stasiulis (23.56), Norway's Lavrans Solli (23.57), Russia's Vlad Morozov (23.77), Switzerland's Flori Lang (23.84), Turkey's Iskender Baslakov (23.86) and Germany's Christian Diener (23.95) completed the finale field. Donets has the top time in the world this year with a 23.12 from the Tokyo stop of the World Cup. Stravius, however, moved to 18th in the all time rankings with his swim.
Women's 50 fly
France's Melanie Henique (25.67), Italy's Silvia Di Pietro (25.78), Belgium's Kimberly Buys (25.91) and Italy's Ilaria Bianchi (25.92) all cleared 26 seconds to take the top four seeds into the finale. Estonia's Triin Aljand (26.02), Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray (26.08), Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (26.16) and The Netherlands' Maaike De Waard (26.41) also will vie for the continental title. Ottesen Gray holds the top time in the world this year with a 25.42 from the Singapore stop of the World Cup, while Henique and Di Pietro moved to fourth and fifth in the world this year with Di Pietro's time the new Italian record.
Men's 100 free
Russia's Vlad Morozov and Evgeny Lagunov went 1-2 in the event with a 46.52 and 46.76. France's Yannick Agnel touched third in 46.96 to round out the sub 47s. Italy's Luca Dotto (47.14), France's Greg Mallet (47.28), Belgium's Pieter Timmers (47.34), Turkey's Kemal Arda Gurdal (47.56) and Belgium's Emmanuel Vanluchene (47.69) also made their way into the finale. Morozov moved to second in the world this year behind Roland Schoeman's 46.50 from South African Short Course Nationals in August. Morozov also shot to 22nd in the all time rankings with the swim.
Women's 100 IM
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu and Zsuzsanna Jakabos set up a Hungarian standoff in the finale with a pair of blistering times in semis. Hosszu edged Jakabos, 59.50 to 59.54, in the sprint medley. Great Britain's Siobhan-Marie O'Connor joined them under 1:00 with a third-seeded 59.79. Great Britain's Sophie Smith (1:00.47), France's Sophie De Ronchi (1:00.98), Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (1:01.23), Ireland's Sycerika McMahon (1:01.24) and Finland's Emilia Pikkarainen (1:01.39) earned the other transfer spots into the finale. Hosszu matched the top time in the world this year set by Sophie Allen at the Tokyo stop of the World Cup, while Jakabos moved to third in the world. Both bettered their lifetime bests of 59.69 and 59.72 to move near the top 25 all time.