TRIESTE, Italy, December 9. THE European Short Course Championships reached the halfway mark on Friday and the competition has been nothing short of spectacular, with five world records highlighting the opening 48 hours of action. After two global standards were set on Thursday, three more were registered during Friday’s evening session, thanks to the talents of Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, France’s Laure Manaudou and the Netherlands 200 freestyle relay.
Fresh off a world record in the 200 individual medley from Thursday, Cseh notched a new mark in the 400 I.M. with a blazing time of 4:00.37. The swim destroyed the 2003 record of 4:02.72, held by Canada’s Brian Johns. Cseh built a sizable advantage after the opening leg and never looked back en route to a convincing decision of Italy’s Luca Marin (4:02.88). Third place was filled by Italy’s Alessio Boggiatto (4:06.38).
As for Manaudou, the Frenchwoman was dazzling in the 800 free, as her time of 8:11.25 obliterated the 2002 mark of Japan’s Sachiko Yamada (8:13.35). Manaudou, expected to chase the world record in the 400 free before the weekend concludes, was followed to the wall by Russia’s Anastasia Ivanenko (8:14.51) and Switzerland’s Flavia Rigamonti (8:20.32), a multiple-time NCAA champion at Southern Methodist University. Manaudou also mined gold in the 100 backstroke with a performance of 58.12, plenty faster than the 58.63 of Denmark’s Louise Oernstedt.
The Netherlands set a world record in the 200 free relay when the quartet of Hinkelien Schreuder, Inge Dekker, Chantal Groot and Marleen Veldhuis clocked 1:36.27. The former record was 1:37.27, set by the University of Georgia in 2004.
One of the finest short-course swimmers in history, Germany’s Thomas Rupprath posted a pair of victories, as he defeated the competition in the 50 backstroke and 100 butterfly. The world-record holder in the 50 back, Rupprath won the sprint dorsal in 23.57, ahead of the 23.95 of Russia’s Arkady Vyatchanin. Rupprath also hit the wall first in the 100 fly, thanks to a showing of 50.55. The silver medal went to Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin (51.32).
The fastest woman in history in the 50 butterfly, Sweden’s Anna-Karin Kammerling defended her domain in her pet event with a gold-medal winning time of 26.05. Kammerling edged the Netherlands’ Inge Dekker, who came through with a swim of 26.20. Meanwhile, the 100 freestyle was won by the Netherlands’ Marleen Veldhuis in 52.84. Finland’s Hanna-Maria Seppala was second in 53.36.
In the breaststroke, the Ukraine’s Oleg Lisogor won the men’s 100 distance by the narrowest of margins with an effort of 58.07. Lisogor barely beat out Greece’s Romanos Alyfantis, who was timed in 58.08. In the women’s 200 distance, top honors were collected by Germany’s Anne Poleska, who covered the race in 2:23.06. Poland’s Katarzyna Dulian was second in 2:23.24.
A European record was notched in the semifinals of the men’s 100 freestyle. The reigning world champ, Italy’s Filippo Magnini stroked to a swim of 46.55, which bettered the 46.64 of Duje Draganja from 2004. Draganja was representing Croatia at the time but recently accepted a lucrative offer to compete for the Arab nation of Qatar.