HELSINKI, July 6. THE favorites in this morning's six events breezed through the prelims, easily qualifying for the semi-finals and, in the case of the men's 1500 meters, the finals tonight and tomorrow.
Italy's Massi Rosolino, who won the 200 IM last night, posted a 1:49.06 in the 200 free, a tenth of a second ahead of Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband, the defending champion. They were the only sub-1:50 swimmers in this first round.
Switzerland's Remo Lutolf was the surprise lead qualifier in the men's 50 meter breaststroke (28.20). Short course world record-holder, Mark Warnecke was second in 28.27. Italian Domenico Fioravanti, who successfully defended his 100 meter breaststroke title earlier in the week, qualified in a tie for seventh (28.83).
Ukraine's Igor Chervynsky had the fastest 1500 prelim time for tomorrow evening's final, clocking 15:15.52. Romanian Dragos Coman, second in the 400, was second fastest, at 15:19.93. The outside lanes should see a lot of action tomorrow night: 400 meter champion, Emiliano Brembilla (ITA) qualified fifth (15:25.51); Ukraine's Igor Snitko, the pre-meet favorite, was seventh (15:26.98); while 31-year-old German Jorg Hofmann, the former world record-holder, was eighth (15:28.81).
Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak was the fastest woman in the prelims of the 100 meter fly at 59.57, just ahead of Slovakia's Martina Moravcova at 59.63. Moravcova has already earned a bronze in the 50 fly and a silver in the 100 free.
Sylvia Gerasch, 31, the last remaining swimmer from the East German glory days, led qualifiers in the 50 meter breaststroke at 32.06, with 100 meter champion Agnes Kovacs (HUN), the European record-holder, second in 32.20. Britain's Zoe Baker, the former continental record-holder, was right behind at 32.23. Ireland's Robinson girls–Emma (32.58) and Louise–qualified fifth and fourteenth, restoring some honor to that nation's swimming stature after the Michelle Smith-De Bruin faisco.
Finally, Spain's Nina Zhivanevskaya, who swam a lifetime best in winning the 200 back earlier in the week, qualified first in the 100 meter dorsal event in 1:02.30, almost half a second ahead of Germany's Sandra Volker (32.79)