By David Rieder
ANTWERP, Belgium, January 15. THE second of two days of long course meters racing at the Flanders Swimming Cup featured some of Europe's top swimmers setting some early season standards as the Olympic year begins. Many times recorded compared well with times posted over in Austin at the USA Swimming Grand Prix.
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh doubled up with wins in the 100 fly and 400 IM. Cseh edged Belgium's Francois Heersbrandt for the win in the 100 fly, 52.74 to 52.79. The Netherlands' Joeri Verlinden finished third in 52.99. In the 400 IM, the defending Olympic silver medalist clocked 4:21.72 to comfortably defeat Great Britain's Xavier Mohammed. Cseh's time falls well behind the 4:16.95 that Michael Phelps clocked in Austin and also Conor Dwyer's 4:21.16 and Tyler Harris' 4:21.66. Mohammed took second in 4:23.31, and Belgium's Ward Bauwens took third in 4:23.88.
Hungary's Daniel Gyurta has typically focused on the 200 breast, the event in which he won the 2004 Olympic silver medalist and two-time World champion. In Antwerp, however, Gyurta posted a fast 100 breast time of 1:00.43. Gyurta edged Great Britain's Daniel Sliwinski, who touched in 1:00.75, while the Netherlands' Lennart Stekelburg ended up third in 1:02.45.
Denmark's Lotte Friis added to her win in the 800 free on Saturday with a 400 free win in 4:08.32. Great Britain's Eleanor Faulkner finished more than two seconds back in second, clocking 4:10.36, and Aimee Wilmott, another Brit, picked up third in 4:12.18. Friis' countrywoman Jeanette Ottesen earned her third win of the meet in the women's 50 fly, clocking 25.75. Belgium's Kimberly Buys took second in 26.18, and the Netherlands' Maaike De Waard touched third in 27.69.
The Netherlands' Sebastiaan Verschuren took the win in the men's 200 free in 1:48.38, the fourth-best time posted thus far in 2012. Only Ricky Berens (1:47.92), Matt McLean (1:48.02), and Jarrod Killey (1:48.28) have been faster. Belgium's Pieter Timmers touched out Great Britain's Ieuan Lloyd for second, 1:49.50 to 1:49.51. In the 1500 free, Rob Muffels took the win in 15:32.68, while Hungary's Gergely Gyurta took second in 15:33.61. Great Britain's Joel Knight earned third in 15:34.27.
Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer touched out the Netherlands' Nick Driebergen to win the men's 50 back, 25.64 to 25.66. Great Britain's Charlie Boldison came in third at 26.33. Belgium's Jasper Aerents won the 50 free over Hungary's Dominik Kozma in 22.42. Kozma touched in 22.49, and Jasper Von Mierlo finished third in 22.93. Hungary's Peter Bernek broke 2:00 to win the 200 back in 1:59.16, while Driebergen took second again, clocking 2:00.81. Great Britain's Joseph Patching earned third in 2:02.03.
The Netherlands' Moniek Nijhius won the women's 50 breast in 31.49, while Denmark's Rikke Mohler-Pederson took second in 31.93. Belgium's Kim Janssens ended up third in 31.99. Pederson bounced back to win the 200 breast in 2:26.75, behind just Rebecca Soni's 2:22.73 in 2012. Sweden's Joline Hoestman took second in 2:27.59, and Belgium's Fanny Lecluyse finished third in 2:30.61.
Great Britain's Sophie Allen took the 200 IM in 2:13.23, while countrywoman Wilmott touched second in 2:14.26. Buys ended up third in 2:15.46. Great Britain went 1-2 again in the 100 back, with Lauren Quigley winning in 1:01.38 and Jessica Fullalove taking second in 1:01.68. The Netherlands' Annamarie Worst picked up third in 1:02.63.
Sweden's Michelle Coleman won the women's 100 free in 55.03, just ahead of the 55.20 that Denmark's Pernille Blume posted. Great Britain's Jessica Lloyd grabbed third in 55.41. Great Britain's Elena Sheridan earned the win in the women's 200 fly in 2:11.08, followed by countrywoman Tilly Gray, who finished in 2:12.64. Ottesen, making a rare appearance in a race of this distance, finished third in 2:13.11 after leading the first half of the race.
Team Brabo from Belgium won the women's 400 medley relay in 4:09.81, while their men's 400 free relay took the win in 3:20.33.