By Lennart la Fleur
LANDSKRONA, Sweden, July 7. FOR the first four days of the Swedish Nationals and European Championship Trials, Emma Igelstrom has been red hot, setting national records five times in the 50 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM.
But she saved the best for last.
On the final day of competition here at the southern coastal Swedish city of Landskrona, Igelstrom destroyed the Swedish and European record in the 100m breaststroke with a brilliant 1:07.27.
The time is the fastest in the world this year, vaulting her past Australia's Leisel Jones, the Olympic and World Championship silver medalist, who had led at 1:07.31. It also puts her in a tie with Japan's Masami Tanaka as the fourth fastest woman in this event in history.
Igelstrom took more than half a second off the European record of 1:07.79 set by Hungary's Agnes Kovacs at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Emma opened very fast, making the turn at 31.61 seconds. Then she just kept opening water between herself and the rest of the field, coming home in a strong 35.66 for the second 50 meters.
After the race, Emma told SwimInfo: "I am overwhelmed by my race today. I would not have believed I was going to break the European record in this meet. Now I hope the ones who have said I am only a short-course swimmer will realize I can also swim well in long course. I do really look forward to the up-coming European Championships in three weeks."
As Igelstrom was not tapered for this meet, many people watching the race today would not find it impossible to believe that she will challenge the world record in Berlin at the European championships.
Women's 100 free and 100 fly
The high Swedish standard in female swimming was shown both in the 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle finals.
In the 100 free, Therese Alshammar trailed Johanna Sjoberg for more than 80 meters. But the short course WR-holder went to her reserve tank to eke out the win, 55.51 to 55.66.
In her second final of the evening, Sjoberg again found herself in a two-way dog fight, and again, she finished second. In an upset, the 100 fly fell to Anna-Karin Kammerling, whose 59.17 was just enough to edge Sjoberg, at 59.51.
Other Women's Events
Junior Ida Mattsson set the pace in the women's 400m freestyle. In the final 100 meters, long distance queen Asa Sandlund made her move, closing the distance between them with every stroke. But it was too little too late for the USC student. Mattsson hung on for the win, touching in 4:17.22, a new Swedish junior record, to Sandlund's 4:17.47.
Sara Nordenstam won the 400 IM (4:51.70) while Carin Moller took the 200 backstroke (2:19.25).
The women's team from Vasby finished off the meet by setting a new Swedish record in 4 x100 medley, 4:15.52. The men's medley relay was won by Malmo, at 3:50.16. Malmo also won the combined team title.
The men´s champions of the night were;
200 fly – Tero Valimaa, a Finnish citizen, competing for Neptun, 2:01.22
50 free – Stefan Nystrand 23.09
100 breaststroke – Martin Gustavsson 1:03.47
800 free – Micke Jacobsson 8:20,38
100 backstroke – Jens Petersson 58.18.
European Championship Team Named
As the meet served as the selection for the National Team for the European Championships, the members of the team were announced directly after the meet. The team selected is:
Therese Ahlshammar, SK Neptun
Sara Nordenstam, Vasby
Cathrin Carlzon, Sodertalje
Johanna Sjoberg, Sodertalje
Emma Igelstrom, Sparvagen
Malin Svanstrom, Vasby
A-K Kammerling, Sundsvall
Lisa Wanberg, Malmo
Josefin Lillhage, Vasby
Lotta Wanberg, Malmo
Ida Mattsson, Trelleborg
Jennie Lindh, Kalmar (substituting for Camilla Johansson who declined the selection)
Erik Dorch, Linkoping
Stefan Nystrand, Sodertorn
Lars Frolander, Linkoping
Mattias Ohlin, Trelleborg
Eric la Fleur, Malmo
Jens Peterson, SKK
Martin Gustavsson, Malmo