WARENDORF, GERMANY, May 24. THERE'S a new king in the men's 100 meter butterfly and he's not Australia's Michael Klim or Geoff Huegill.
Nor is he American wunderkind Ian Crocker.
Rather it's Germany's Thomas Rupprath, who twice today broke the European record in the 100 fly during the third day of the German Nationals/European
Championship Trials here.
The old European mark was 52.00 by Sweden's Lars Frolander, set in winning gold at the 2000 Olympics. Rupprath's previous best was 52.54, swum at last year's German World Championship Trials. Rupprath set short course world records this year at 100 and 200 meters.
During this morning's prelims the 25-year-old German star clocked a blazing 51.88 (splitting 24.13) and at night touched in 51.97, history's second- and fourth-fastest performances.
Only Australia's Michael Klim's 51.81 world record (split 24.49) from a time trial in December of '99 is faster, while Aussie Geoff Huegill had been the only
other man under 52.0 with his 51.96 (split: 24.12) from the Sydney semis.
Within the space of a few weeks the Euro standards in the 100-200 flys has been tossed aside, and the Championships are still some 60 days out!
France's Franck Esposito, a 30-year-old veteran who was bronze medalist in this race at the Barcelona Olympics, went 1:54.62 at the French Nationals/EC
Trials last month to break his old record of 1:55.03 from the World Championship semis last year — history' second-best performance — and now Herr Rupprath takes down the 100 fly standard.
Klim, who rcently underwent back surgery, is out for the year but Huegill will have his chance to make history at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in late July at almost the same time Rupprath and Esposito will be locking horns at Berlin.