Franzi’s Back!! She Swims 1:57.74 to Win 200 Free at German Nationals, World’s Fastest Time in 3 Years

WARENDORF, GERMANY, May 25. WHEN world 200 free record-holder Franziska Van Almsick finished third in the 50 free at the German Nationls here the other day people complimented her on a nice swim.

When she won the 100 the next night with a 55.25 (55.19p), people began to take some notice.

Well, this evening, after roiling the waters of the pool with a world-leading 1:57.74 200 free win, fastest globally in three years and 12th-best performance of all-time, heads turned backwards.

"Of course I am very pleased with my swim but it's just a stepping stone," the 24-year-old Van Almsick was quoted on the German Federation webpage. "I felt very strong, very confident after my 1:59.7 this morning and I believe I am getting back into the kind of shape I was in in my prime a few years ago."

Is there a world-record in the offing at the European Championships in Berlin come July?

"I'd love to break my record there but I never make predictions. I thought I would win [at Atlanta, 1996 Olympics] and I took home the silver so that taught me a lesson. Never get ahead of yourself."

Costa Rican Claudia Poll's win at Atlanta reversed the outcome of the World Championships' 200 from two years earlier, where Van Almsick went her WR 1:56.78 and Poll took the bronze in a then pr of 1:57.61. At Atlanta, Poll won in 1:58.16 to Van Almsick's 1:58.57 — although the latter led off Germany's 800 free relay in 1:58.16, fastest split of the meet.

Only Australia's now-retired Susie O'Neill's 1:57.47 from the Olympic Trials' semi-finals and her Trials'-winning 1:57.70 are faster than Van Almsick's 1:57.74 in the last three years.

Since van Almsick went that WR at Rome, only Poll (NR 1:57.48 to win the '97 Pan-Pac title at Fukuoka) and three Chinese women (Lu Bin, 1:56.89 from Rome, still
the No. 2 performance ever); Chen Yan (1:57.30 to win the National Games title five years ago) and Wang Luna (1:57.32 for runner-up at the National Games) have swum faster.

Arguably, the Chinese times done at their National Games are suspect as shortly after the conclusion of the World Championships eight years ago, Lu and a half-dozen of her compatriots tested positive at the Asian Games in Hiroshima that October.

In any event, Van Almsick's time is her second-best ever, fastest in eight years and No. 3 all-time on the European list. No. 2 is Heike Friedrich's 1:57.55 that won the East German World Championship Trials in
'86 — and there is credible evidence she didn't just sprinkle strawberries and cream on her Frosted Flakes during her career.

(Friedrich also won the 200 free at the Seoul Olympics two years later and her time of 1:57.65 is still the Olympic record.)

Van Almsick split 27.45 and 57.09 en route to her 1:57.7. When she set the WR her splits were 27.71, 56.86, 1:27.12, 1:56.78. In fact, of the all-time
Top 13 200 free performances, only Van Almsick and Lu have split a sub 57.0 going out. Lu's 100 clocking en route to the silver at Rome was 56.62, so she actually led the eventual winner by nearly a quarter of a second at the halfway mark.

But Van Almsick got home in 59.92 to the Chinese woman's 1:00.27.

The other world-leading performance tonight came in the men's 50 back, where Stev Theloke added the Euro record to the 100 standard (54.43) he has held the last four years.

Theloke went 25.26 to break the old European record of 25.31 by compatriot Thomas Rupprath from the World Championships semis alst year. Rupprath, who last night set an ER in the 100 fly (51.87, history's second-best performance), tied Theloke for top spot in the heats with a 25.33. In the finals he was second (25.41).

America's Lenny Krayzelburg, WR-holder in the 100 back and defending Olympic gold medalist in both back-strokes, holds the 50 WR with his 24.99 time-trial swim from the '99 Pan-Pacs in the Sydney Olympic Pool. The fastest 50 back in a meet is a 25.13 by the U.S.A.'s Jeff Rouse, Atlanta 100 back gold medalist, who swam that time at a meet in Scotland in the spring of '95.

Theloke's 25.26 makes him fourth on the all-time performers/performances' list. Since the stroke 50s are an official part of the European Championship program, he and Herr Rupprath will have another opportunity to join Super K as the only men under the "magic" 25.0 mark.

In other events, Anna Poleska, who helped push Tara Kirk and Agnes Kovacs to their record-breaking swims at NCAAs and was third in the 200 breast for Alabama, won in 2:28.49. Poleska holds the German record with her 2:27.76 that won the Olympics Trials.

In the 200 IM, 200 fly champ Annika Mehlhorn won in 2:15.66, eighth globally. Her pr-NR is 2:13.86 from last year's World Championship Trials.

The 50 back saw 100 winner Sandra Volker triumph again, taking the title in 28.66. Her world-record is 28.25.

On the men's side, Mark Warnecke won the 50 breast in 28.03. His NR is 27.59 from the semis at Fukuoka, which ranks him sixth all-time on the performers list. America's Ed Moses is WR-holder with a 27.39.

The other final saw Stephen Kunzelmann win a tight 100 free race over Torsten Spanneberg, 50.08-50.11.

In the men's 400 medley relay, Arizona State's Sebastian Halgasch went a pr 56.33 leading off his club's quarter.

RESULTS

Women's 50 m Backstroke
1 VÖLKER, Sandra
00:28,66
2 PIETSCH, Janine
00:29,36
3 BUSCHSCHULTE, Antje
00:29,60
4 MEHLHORN, Saskia
00:30,15
5 QUACK, Sina-Johanna
00:30,67
6 WIESNER, Anne
00:30,72
7 HIRSCH, Maria
00:30,96
8 SADEK, Leony
00:31,22

Men's 50 m Breaststroke
1 WARNECKE, Mark
00:28,03
2 KRUPPA, Jens
00:28,58
3 FISCHER, Michael
00:28,73
4 KAMPMANN, Bastian
00:28,89
5 NOWAKOWSKI, Björn
00:29,10
6 FLEISCHER, Frank
00:29,29
7 SCHNEIDER, Reiner
00:29,49
8 LORENZ, Timo
00:29,57

Women's 200 m Breaststroke
1 POLESKA, Anne 00:33,60; 01:11,85
02:28,49
2 WEILER, Simone 00:33,55; 01:12,31
02:30,69
3 SCHOELLHAMMER, Lisa 00:34,11; 01:12,45
02:30,70
4 BERNHARDT, Vipa 00:34,98; 01:13,94
02:32,74
5 HÜGING, Ina 00:34,91; 01:13,76
02:33,75
6 KUC, Marina 00:34,31; 01:13,22
02:34,60
7 RUHNAU, Caroline 00:34,17; 01:13,57
02:35,99
8 GERKENS, Janina 00:35,15; 01:14,53
02:36,69

Men's 50 m Backstroke
1 THELOKE, Stev
00:25,26 ER
2 RUPPRATH, Thomas
00:25,41
3 HELBIG, Toni
00:25,72
4 KROLL, Robert
00:26,08
5 HALGASCH, Sebastian
00:26,28
6 FAHRLAND, Ernest
00:26,66
7 KEIL, Dominik
00:26,96
7 WEINERT, Andre
00:26,96

Women's 200 m freestyle
1 VAN ALMSICK, Franziska
00:27,45; 00:57,09
01:57,74
2 FREITAG, Meike
00:28,98; 01:00,00
02:00,44
3 RIES, Alessa
00:28,21; 00:58,71
02:00,62
4 DALLMANN, Petra
00:28,49; 00:59,30
02:01,05
5 STEFFEN, Britta
00:28,68; 00:59,54
02:01,27
6 SZALAI, Silvia
00:29,36; 01:00,44
02:01,46
7 HARSTICK, Sara
00:28,98; 00:59,91
02:02,58
8 STOCKBAUER, Hannah
00:28,99; 01:00,25
02:03,20

Men's 100 m freestyle
1 KUNZELMANN, Stephan
00:23,82
00:50,08
2 SPANNEBERG, Torsten
00:24,06
00:50,11
3 HERBST, Stefan
00:24,28
00:50,56
4 THIELE, Jens
00:24,41
00:50,59
5 LODZIEWSKI, Sven
00:24,54
00:50,92
6 ZIMMER, Moritz
00:24,38
00:50,96
7 DEHMLOW, Carsten
00:24,37
00:50,98
8 OESTERLING, Johannes
00:24,74
00:51,04

Women's 200 m IM
1. MEHLHORN, Annika 1983 02:15,66
2. HETZER, Nicole 1979 02:17,00
3. KLENZ, Sabine 1974 02:18,97
4. SCHILLER, Katharina 1984 02:19,13
5. ROHMANN, Teresa 1987 02:20,61
6. BÖSING, Britta 1984 02:21,55
7. ROLLE, Carolin 1984 02:21,61
8. STEINMETZ, Franziska 1986 02:22,19

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Author: Archive Team

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