By Lennart La Fleur
LANDSKRONA, Sweden, July 4. DESPITE nasty weather, Sweden's big international stars — Emma Igelstrom, Therese Alshammar and Lars Frolander — all swam to impressive victories on the first two days of the Swedish National Championships in Landskrona, as they prepare for the European Championships to be held in Berlin in less than a month. Four national marks also fell during the first two days of competition.
Day 1: July 3: Igelstrom Sets National Mark
Emma Igelstrom, who won double gold at the Short Course World Championships in Moscow this Spring, set Swedish and Nordic records in the prelims of the 200m breaststroke. Igelstrom, best known as a sprinter, clocked a very strong 2:27.36.
After the race, she said: "Had anyone before the race said that I was going to beat the record, I would not have beleived it. I am still lifting weights heavily. My goal is the upcoming European Championships."
With her record in the 200, Igelstrom now owns all the Swedish records in breaststroke, both in short and long course.
The second national record set on the first day was by the Vasby SS women's team, wwho clocked 8:15.51 for the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Therese Alshammar also seems to be preparing well for the upcoming European Championships. She is using the Nationals as a heavy speed practice by participating in many events. On the first night she won two titles. In the 50m free, she won in 25.52 seconds, followed by Johanna Sjoberg at 25.87. Therese's second title came in the 50 back at 29.78.
Other champions the first day saw last season's SMU senior Micke Jakobsson winning the 400 IM at 4.26.99 and the returning University of Arizona sophomore, Eric la Fleur, defending his title in the 50 backstroke in a personal best of 26.75. Former University of Michigan swimmer Martin Gustavsson won 50 breaststroke at 29.05.
The weather the first day was the worst possible. The pool, being located "seaside," was attacked by strong winds, heavy rain – and temperatures it the range of only 13 degrees Centigrade (55 Fahrenheit). The meet serves also as the qualification meet for the European Championships in Berlin, Germany late July – early August.
Day 2: July 4: Frolander Impresses
On the second day of the Swedish Nationals, Olympic champion Lars Frolander, a former NCAA champion at SMU, swam in splendid isolation, posting one of his best pre-Championship meet performances ever with his 52.88 in the 100m fly. He confirmed his strength by having the best split in the men's 4×100 free relay, clocking 48.89. The fastest first leg in this relay was turned in by Eric la Fleur at 50.85.
In the 100 fly, 18 year-old Erik Andersson, won a bronze with a new Swedish junior record time of 54.99.
Two more Swedish national records were broken on Day Two, again both in women's events. Sara Nordenstam won the 200 fly int the new record time of 2:13.79 and USC's Asa Sandlund, clocked 16:49.48 to set a national mark in the 1500 meters.
Emma Igelstrom missed breaking her newly-set record in the 200 breast by 3-hundredths of a second, clocking 2:27.39, but she was never challenged.
In the classical race of 200 meters freestyle, where Sweden has had many good relay performances, the national standard has deteriorated dramatically. Today the race was won by Jonas Persson – a junior champion – in a lackluster 1:54.13.
The Linkoping ASS team with Lars Frolander on the third leg won the men's 4 x 100 free relay at 3:23.86.