DEBRECEN, Hungary, May 26. CHAMPIONSHIP records by Milorad Cavic and Radoslaw Kawecki highlighted the second to last evening of finals at the 31st LEN European Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.
Women's 1500 freestyle
With neither of the top two finishers from the last European Championships in 2010 in the field, Spaniard Mireia Belmonte Garcia took full advantage. Garcia improved upon her preliminary time of 16:21.60 by more than 16 seconds, winning in 16:05.34 to jump to the top of the world rankings in the event and improved upon her third-place showing two years ago. China's Li Xuanxu is now second in the world rankings at 16:09.55.
Hungary's Eva Risztov collected a silver medal in 16:10.04, the third-fastest time this year, while Erika Villaecija Garcia of Spain snuck in for the bronze at 16:15.85. Romania's Camelia Potec (16:17.88), Liechtenstein's Julia Hassler (16:31.66), Greece's Marianna Lymperta (16:36.97), Greece's Theodora Giareni (17:01.57) and Poland's Donata Kilijanska (17:08.61) rounded out the rest of the eight finalists.
Men's 100 butterfly
Reigning Olympic silver medalist Milorad Cavic of Serbia proved he'll be a force again in London with a new Championship record in the men's 100 fly. Cavic held off a quickly-closing Laszlo Cseh of Hungary to win in 51.45, under the previous meet record of 51.73, held by Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia. Cseh touched just behind in 51.77. Cavic's time is now the fastest in the world this year, ahead of Australia's Christopher Wright (51.67). Cseh maintained his third overall ranking. Italy's Matteo Rivolta slipped in for the bronze with a 52.40.
Ivan Lendjer of Serbia (52.54), Rafael Munoz Perez of Spain (52.71), Peter Mankoc of Slovenia (52.89), Nikita Konovalov of Russia (52.96) and Bence Pulai of Hungary (53.04) comprised the rest of the championship final.
Women's 200 freestyle
Olympic and world championship gold medalist Federica Pellegrini of Italy collected yet another major international gold medal and successfully defended her title from 2010, running away with the 200 free in 1:56.76, now the eighth-fastest performance in the world in 2012. France's Camille Muffat owns the top-ranked time at 1:54.87. Germany's Silke Lippok grabbed silver in 1:58.19, followed by France's Ophelie Cyrielle Etienne (1:58.23).
Italy's Alice Mizzau (1:58.39), Slovenia's Sara Isakovic (1:58.90), Spain's Patricia Castro Ortega (1:59.39) and Hungarians Agnes Mutina (1:59.87) and Evelyn Verraszto (2:00.06) finished fourth through eighth.
Women's 50 backstroke
Spain's Mercedes Peris Minguet got her hand on the wall first in a close field, winning in 28.25. That time ranks tenth overall this year. Italy's Arianna Barbieri and Croatia's Sanja Jovanovic tied for silver at 28.31. Germany's Jenny Mensing (28.36), Italy's Carlotta Zofkova (28.72), Czech Republic's Simona Baumrtova (28.75), Poland's Klaudia Nazieblo (28.93) and Bulgaria's Ekaterina Avramova (29.09) also competed in the final.
Men's 200 backstroke
Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki made a statement in the men's 200 back final, setting a new Championship record with a sizzling time of 1:55.28. That topped Russian Arkady Vyatchanin's 1:55.44 from 2010 and is the second-fastest time this year, behind only Ryosuke Irie's 1:54.02 from January. Hungary's Peter Bernek gave Kawecki a run the whole way but settled for second in 1:55.88, the fourth-fastest time of 2012. Israel's Yakov Yan Toumarkin earned the bronze with a time of 1:57.35.
Italy's Sebastiano Ranfagni (1:57.99), Germany's Yannick Lebherz (1:58.39), Germany's Felix Wolf (1:58.39), France's Benjamin Stasiulis (1:58.55) and Hungary's Gabor Balog (1:58.74) placed fourth through eighth.
Men's 50 breaststroke
Slovenia's Damir Dugonjic earned the title of fastest breaststroker of the meet with a gold medal performance in the men's 50 breast. Dugonjic touched first in 27.32, ahead of Italy's Fabio Scozzoli (27.49) and Greece's Panagiotis Samilidis (27.64). Italy's Mattia Pesce (27.65), Slovenia's Matjaz Markic (27.67), Norway's Aleksander Hetland (27.82), Romania's Dragos Agache (27.84) and Czech Republic's Petr Bartunek (27.89) also competed in the championship final.
Men's 4×200 freestyle relay
In the final event of the evening, the German quartet of Paul Biedermann (1:46.70), Dimitri Colupaev (1:47.41), Clemens Rapp (1:47.90) and Tim Wallburger (1:47.16) compiled a time of 7:09.17 to win the men's 4×200 free relay. Italy took silver in 7:13.10, followed closely by Hungary at 7:13.60. Belgium (7:15.58), Austria (7:19.32), Russia (7:19.45), Serbia (7:20.20) and Switzerland (7:22.30).
Women's 50 breaststroke
Eight women punched their ticket to tomorrow night's finale, led by the Czech Republic's Petra Chocova in 31.44. Ireland's Sycerika McMahon (31.51), Russia's Valentina Artemyeva (31.52), Germany's Caroline Ruhnau (31.59), Spain's Concepcion Badillo Diaz (31.66), Norway's Katharina Stiberg (31.84) and Iceland's Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir (31.95) will join her in the championship final. A swim-off will decide the eighth finalist, either Martina Moravcikova of the Czech Republic or Mariya Liver of Ukraine. The two swimmers tied at 31.96.
Men's 50 freestyle
Sweden's Stefan Nystrand earned the top seed in tomorrow's final with a 22.06, ahead of a tightly packed bunch separated by less than two-tenths of a second. Ukraine's Andriy Govorov (22.20), Italy's Marco Orsi (22.22), France's Frederick Bousquet (22.22), Finland's Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (22.24), France's Alain Bernard (22.26), Romania's Norbert Trandafir (22.33) and Greece's Kristian Gkolomeev (22.37) will also compete for medals tomorrow.
Women's 200 butterfly
Defending champion Katinka Hosszu earned the top seed in finals with a 2:07.03. She will be joined in the final by Sweden's Martina Granstroem (2:08.65), Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:09.09), Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia (2:09.14), Germany's Franziska Hentke (2:09.40), Spain's Judit Ignacio Sorribes (2:10.47), Slovakia's Denisa Smolenova (2:11.08) and Switzerland's Martina Van Berkel (2:11.31).
Women's 50 freestyle
World record-holder Britta Steffen has a chance to add another gold medal to her trophy case after qualifying first in the 50 free in 24.56. Others competing in the championship final include the Netherlands' Hinkelien Schreuder (24.81), Greece's Nery-Mantey Niangkouara (25.09), Estonia's Triin Aljand (25.12), France's Anna Santamans (25.20), Greece's Theodora Drakou (25.21) and Belarus' Sviatlana Khakhlova (25.26). After a three-way tie for eighth place, a swim-off will determine the final competitor.