CANET, FRANCE, June 6. SWIMMING'S version of this summer's "Magical Mystery Tour" made its appearance at this French resort city yesterday to start Round 2 of the Mare Nostrum Series — and the results were some
outstanding distance freestyle times.
In the men's mile 20-year-old hometown hero Nicholas Rostoucher — who set a pr-NR of 15:13.26 in the Olympic prelims last September — went a seasonal-best 15:19.40 to barely edge Russia's Alexei Filipets' 15:19.71 in a highly competitive race.
On the women's side Russia's up-and-coming 16-year-old Irina Oufimtseva, who leads the world in the 400 free, went a pr-NR 800 free 8:35.95 to win handily.
Oufimtseva's previous best was an 8:38+ from last year's European Junior Championships, where she finished third.
Filipets just missed a bronze medal in the mile at Sydney when he clocked 14:56.88 to American Chris Thompson's bronze-winning 14:56.81. This year
the Russian star has been 15:02.43 during the Russian Spring Nationals at Moscow in April — No. 2 globally to defending Olympic Grant Hackett's 14:49+.
The Russian record is 14:54.76 by the "Leningrad Locomotive," the now-retired Vladimir Salnikov, who swam for the Soviet Union during his sterling
career. Salnikov did that time during the Soviet winter nationals at the Moscow Olympic Pool in February of 1983 and it is still the Euro record too,
but Filipets is getting down there.
Filipets ranked fourth globally last season and is a definite medal contender at next month's World Championships.
The men's mile and women's 800 were the only events swum yesterday with the balance of the meet continuing today and tomorrow.
– Bill Bell
Women's 800 meter Freestyle
1 8:35.95 OUFIMTSEVA Irina 85 RUS
2 8:54.30 YOSHIMURA Shiho 87 JPN
3 8:58.36 PERROTIN Marion 83 FRA
4 9:02.82 TAIT Karen 83 NZL
5 9:09.84 RODRIGUEZ Anna 83 ESP
6 9:11.40 KOBRICH Kristel 85 CHI
7 9:26.37 GOMEZ Mireia 80 ESP
8 9:26.79 MATIKAILMEN Pauliina 86 FIN
Men's 1500 meter Freestyle
1 15:19.40 ROSTOUCHER Nicolas 81 FRA
2 15:19.71 FILIPETS Alexei 78 RUS
3 15:38.85 MATSUDA Takeshi 84 JPN
4 15:44.44 CROS Sylvain 80 FRA
5 15:50.73 AZUMA Koji 84 JPN
6 16:01.69 AYALON Shilo 81 ISR
7 16:14.19 HALIKA Mickey 78 ISR
8 16:16.98 VIDAL Daniel 79 ESP