RIJEKA, Croatia, December 13. DURING the third night of finals at the European Short Course Championships held in Rijeka, Croatia, the swimming community witnessed history at the 101st world record of 2008 fell by the wayside.
After several near misses to start the evening occurred, there was definitely a possibility that the 100th world record might not be seen until tomorrow. However, once Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov took down Franck Esposito's world record in the 200 fly for the 99th record-setting performance of the year, the dam broke.
France's Amaury Leveaux followed shortly after by lowering his world record in the 100 free for the 100th world record. You knew #100 just had to come in the 100 free as that event has seen startling changes throughout the past year.
Then, Croatia's Sanja Jovanovic gave the hosts something to cheer extra loud for as she lowered her world record in the 50 back for the 101st world record of the year.
Some would actually argue that the 100th world record fell a bit earlier in the meet due to the 200-meter relays, but FINA does not recognize these events. But, just to add to intensity of the evening, The Netherlands' women came out and tied the world-best mark in the women's 200 medley relay.
Men's 1500 freestyle final
For the first night of the meet, a world record did not open competition. Italy's Federico Colbertaldo claimed the metric mile victory with a time of 14:24.21. Russia's Vitaly Romanovich placed second in 14:29.64, while Italy's Samuel Pizzetti finished third in 14:31.60.
Women's 50 back semis
Croatia's Sanja Jovanovic earned the top seed in the finale with a 27.07, while The Netherlands' Hinkelien Schreuder placed second in 27.08. Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (27.17) and Ukraine's Kate Zubkova (27.17) tied for third.
The Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo (27.21), Italy's Elena Gemo (27.28), Italy's Laura Letrari (27.32) and Austria's Fabienne Nadarajah (27.39) completed the championship final.
Men's 50 breast semis
Slovenia's Emil Tahirovic topped the semifinal round with a 26.53, while Italy's Alessandro Terrin finished just behind in 26.55. Slovenia's Matiaz Markic (26.66) and Norway's Aleksander Hetland (26.67) placed third and fourth.
Ireland's Barry Murphy (26.74), Israel's Michael Malul (26.75), Ukraine's Igor Borysik (26.84) and Ukraine's Valeriy Dymo (26.88) also made finals.
Women's 400 free final
France's Coralie Balmy nearly backhalfed her way to her second world record in a week as she blasted a time of 3:56.39 to win the middle distance event. The effort finished just off Laure Manaudou's global standard of 3:56.09.
Most amazingly, Balmy stood three seconds off the world-record pace at times throughout the swim. The swim almost gave her a second world record after setting the 200 free with a 1:53.18 at the French Short Course Championships last weekend.
France's Camille Muffat finished second in 3:57.48, while Italy's Alessia Filippi placed third in 3:59.35 a day after smashing the world record in the 800 free.
Men's 100 IM semis
Out under world-record pace, Slovenia's Peter Mankoc settled for the top seed with a time of 52.49 – well off Ryan Lochte's world record of 51.15. He did, however, break his meet record of 52.63 set back in 2001.
Great Britain's James Goddard took second in 52.68, while Italy's Christian Galenda (52.96) and The Netherlands' Robin van Aggele (53.17) touched third and fourth.
Spain's Alan Cabello Forns (53.18), Ukraine's Roman Shudrenko (53.45), Lithuania's Vytautas Janusaitis (53.52) and Russia's Sergey Fesikov (53.54) grabbed the rest of the transfer spots.
Women's 100 breast semis
Italy's Ombretta Plos held off Switzerland's Patrizia Humplik, 1:05.68 to 1:05.96, for the top seed coming out of the second semifinal round. France's Sophie De Ronchi placed third overall with a 1:06.00 from the first semifinal, while Austria's Mirna Jukic took fourth in 1:06.15 alongside De Ronchi.
Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen (1:06.55), Italy's Roberta Panara (1:06.56), Russia's Valentina Artemyeva (1:06.64) and The Netherlands' Moniek Nijhuis (1:06.73) comprised the rest of the finale.
Men's 100 back semis
Peter Marshall's world record of 49.63 set during the Berlin stop of the 2008 World Cup survived a major challenge as Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber blistered the semifinal round with a European record of 49.66. He crushed the continental record of 50.14 set by Liam Tancock at the 2008 World Short Course Championships.
Russia's Stanislav Donets finished second in 50.46, while compatriot Evgeny Aleshin took third in 50.95.
Germany's Helge Meeuw (51.26), Italy's Mirco Di Tora (51.30), Italy's Damiano Lestingi (51.34), Great Britain's Marco Loughran (51.87) and France's Pierre Roger (51.89) all dipped under 52 to make up the final heat.
Women's 100 IM final
Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala claimed the continental title with a time of 59.24, while Hungary's Evelyn Verraszto placed second in 59.49. Italy's Francesca Segat completed the podium in 59.61, while France's Sophie De Ronchi joined them under 1:00 with a fourth-place 59.98. Seppala did, however, erase her meet record of 59.62 set yesterday.
Men's 200 fly final
Just one more world record to go until the swimming community sees its 100th of the year as Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov used a strong final 50 meters to surpass the men's 200 fly global standard for the 99th world record of 2008. Skvortsov clocked a time of 1:50.60 to clip Franck Esposito's 1:50.73 set back in 2002 in Antibes, France.
Skvortsov split the swim 25.33, 53.53 (28.20), 1:22.19 (28.66), 1:50.60 (28.41). Esposito had the following splits: 24.73, 52.79 (28.06), 1:21.35 (28.56), 1:50.73 (29.38).
Austria's Dinko Jukic finished second in 1:52.31, while Russia's Maxim Ganikhin took third in 1:52.32.
Women's 100 fly semis
France's Diane Bui Duyet led the way with a 57.00, while Hungary's Eszter Dara finished second in 57.12. Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom (57.25) and The Netherlands' Marleen Veldhuis (57.35) touched third and fourth.
Austria's Birgit Koschichek (57.42), Great Britain's Jemma Lowe (57.44), Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen (57.54) and France's Aurore Mongel (57.59) also snagged finale spots.
Men's 100 free final
Just one event removed from the 99th world record, the 100th world record of 2008 fell as France's Amaury Leveaux cleared the 45-second barrier in the men's 100 free.
Leveaux blasted his world record of 45.12 set yesterday with an even more stunning time of 44.94. Yesterday, Leveaux went out in 21.83 and came back in 23.28. Today, he stepped it up a notch with a 21.72 out and 23.22 back, beating both halves of his short-lived global standard.
France's Fabien Gilot placed second in 45.84, while Italy's Filippo Magnini took third in 46.62.
Women's 50 back final
Not long after Amaury Leveaux posted the 100th world-record setting performance of 2008, Croatia's Sanja Jovanovic gave the swimming world its 101st effort with a global standard in the 50 back.
Jovanovic sprinted to a winning time of 26.23, which eclipsed her global record of 26.37 set at the 2008 World Short Course Championships.
Ukraine's Kate Zubkova ripped off a swift time of 26.65 for second, while Italy's Elena Gemo placed third in 26.77.
Men's 50 breast final
Slovenia's Matiaz Markic captured the sprint breast crown with a time of 26.47, while Norway's Aleksander Hetland finished second in 26.64. Slovenia's Emil Tahirovic touched third in 26.66.
Women's 200 medley relay final
The Netherlands' team of Ranomi Kromowidjojo (27.36), Moniek Nijhuis (30.09), Hinkelien Schreuder (25.23) and Marleen Veldhuis (23.05) posted a world-best time of 1:45.73 to tie the world best set by Australia in April of 2008.
Germany's Daniela Samulski, Janne Schaeffer, Lena Kalla and Petra Dallmann took second in 1:46.84, while Italy's Elena Gemo, Roberta Panara, Silvia Di Pietro and Federica Pellegrini finished third in 1:47.05.