GENEVA, Switzerland, March 14. THE Swiss national championships got underway today with Olympian Dominik Meichtry cruising to victory and Lukas Rauftlin threatening a Swiss mark.
Meichtry, who is currently in full-blown wedding-planning mode with fiance Jessica Hardy, topped the men's 400-meter freestyle event in 3:55.50. That was a smooth time for him, considering he's more focused on the FINA World Championships this year. His top time ever is a 3:49.11 from Eindhoven in 2011. Liess Nils placed second in 3:57.59, while Mitrovic Jovan earned second in 3:58.61.
Lukas Rauftlin scared the Swiss record in the men's 100-meter back with a time of 55.48. That swim fell just a bit off Jonathan Massacand's swift time of 55.21 from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sergio Zarro placed second in 58.62, while Elijah Stolz took third in 59.25.
Julia Hassler turned in a 4:17.08 for the women's 400-meter freestyle title. Meanwhile, Annick van Westendorp touched second in 4:18.75, while Cherelle Oestringer earned third in 4:23.91. Laetitia Perez snagged the women's 100-meter backstroke crown in 1:03.61. Martina van Berkel (1:04.36) and Laurence Fedrigo (1:05.65) picked up second and third in the finale.
Nico Van Duijn captured the men's 50-meter fly with a winning time of 24.65, while Alexandre Haldemann (25.06) and Sven Pfeuti (25.46) touched second and third in the finale. In the women's 50-meter fly, Maria Ugolkova touched out Danielle Villars, 28.06 to 28.16, for the title. Svenja Stoffel placed third in 28.22.
Yannick Kaser, the Swiss record holder with a 2:12.09 from last May, won the men's 200-meter breast in 2:16.37. Luca Pfyffer finished in a second-place tie with Jeremy Desplanches as the two posted matching 2:17.99s. Sheena Cameron followed with a 2:34.89 to claim the women's 200-meter breast. Sara Staudinger (2:36.13) and Jennifer Bovay (2:36.28) completed the podium.