By Phillip Whitten
BOLZANO, Italy, November 9. IT was a low-key gathering of some of the world's top sprinters in the Italian Alpine town of Bolzano, close to the Austrian border. But despite the early date and the laid-back atmosphere, the Bolzano Meeting 2003 produced some unusually fast times.
The meet also served as a test for a handful of athletes from the newly-formed Race Club in Islamorada, Florida.
Britain's Mark Foster, a Race Club member representing the City of Bath, notched two wins. Foster took the 50 meter (sc) fly in 24.02, edging world record-holder Thomas Rupprath of Germany (24.10) and Ukraine's Andriy Serdinov (24.11).
Foster also ran away with the 50m freestyle crown with a speedy 21.92-second effort. Race Club teammate Gary Hall, Jr. was third in 22.37 in his first venture on the road to the US Olympic Trials. Hall also placed seventh in the 50m fly (25.37).
Jeremy Linn, a 1996 Olympic gold and silver medalist, began his bid for a 2004 US Olympic berth here. Linn placed seventh in the 50 breast in 29.64, a race won by 33 year-old German physician Mark Warnecke in 27.75. Linn also finished ninth in the 100 breast (1:04.26). That race was won by Germany's Rene Kolonko in 1:00.94.