By Craig Lord
MOSCOW, April 6. EMMA Igelstrom made sure that Sweden enjoyed another great day at the World Short Course Championships in Moscow when she established her second individual world record of the meet to win the 100m breaststroke title in 1min 05.38sec, just 0.02 seconds under the 1999 standard of now-retired South African Penny Heyns.
Another South African, Sarah Poewe, the defending champion, raced to the silver medal in 1:06.16, 0.05 seconds faster than the time in which she won the title in 2000, with China's Luo Xuejuan third in
1:06.36 and Amanda Beard of the US fourth in 1:06.87. Her teammate Staciana Stitts was eighth in 1:08.58.
Given that Igelstrom had taken up what appears to be the daily quota of one world record per finals session, perhaps it was no surprise that the women's 4 x 100m freestyle world record of 3:34.55 survived an
onslaught from Sweden that ended in a 3:35.09 second victory.
Despite a second-berth split of 52.37 seconds from Therese Alshammar, her teammates Josefin Lillehage (55.02), Johanna Sjoberg (53.69) and Anna Karin
Kammerling (54.01) could not match the 1997 world and championship record established by China when the Short Course championships were held in Sweden.
Among the Chinese quartet on that occasion was Shan Ying, who has now been temporarily suspended, along with another Chinese swimmer, Jiawei Zhou, by the Chinese Swimming Association after they tested positive for clenbuterol in a drugs test carried out on January 31, 2002 (see next story).
A brief Fina statement said: "The Chinese Swimming Association is now proceeding to a further investigation on these two cases in order to decide
the sanctions in accordance with the FINA Rules."
Behind Sweden were Australia's Sarah Ryan, Petria Thomas, Giaan Rooney and Elka Graham, with a Commonmwealth record of 3:35.97sec, with China third in 3:36.18 and the US fourth in an American record of 3:37.10, that success ensuring that the US women set US records in all three of their relays.
Lindsay Benko led the way with 53.77, followed by Colleen Lanne, 54.65, Tammie Stone, 54.47, and Haley Cope, 54.21.
The best American performances of the night produced silver medals for Gabrielle Rose, in the 200m medley, and Peter Marshall, in the 50m backstroke.
Rose looked like a woman ready to cause one of the upsets of the championships when she raced ahead of Yana Klochkova, of Ukraine, for almost seven lengths of the eight in the medley. It was not until the red
lane markers going into the turn that the Olympic champion and winner of the 400m freestyle here in Moscow drew level with the wilting Rose.
Klochkova pressed ahead to win in 2:08.82, well shy of Alison Wagner's world record, but good enough to keep Rose at bay, the American setting a personal best of 2:09.77, well up on fast-finishing Russian Oxana Verevka, third on 2:11.25.
Rose said: "I'm really happy with that. Yana is double Olympic champion so that's not at all bad for me. I was happy to do my best time and my best for the United States."
Matt Welsh, of Australia, collected his second backstroke title of the championships, with a 23.66 second victory over 50m, 0.24sec outside the world
record established by American Neil Walker at the championships in Athens 2000 but 0.38 seconds ahead of Marshall, who took the silver in 24.04, just ahead of the 24.17 of Toni Helbig, the first German to win a medal at these championships.
Asked what he thought of racing next to Welsh, Marshall said: "It was nice to be next to him but I don't want to look up to him. I want to beat him."
Two other Australians proved to be a thorn in the side of Mark Foster, of Britain, in the 50m butterfly. Twenty four hours after losing his 50m freestyle crown, the 31-year-old who trains in Bath, England, forfeited the butterfly title he won in 1999 and 2000 to Geoff Huegill, in a championship record of 22.89 seconds, while the second member of the Green and Gold shoal in the race, Adam Pine, collected the silver medal in 23.29 to Foster's 23.36.
A black band drawn around his arm as a mark of respect for the late Queen Mother, Foster got off to a good start, emerging from his dive a small margin ahead of Huegill in the next lane. However, within five strokes the 22-year-old who had already won the 100m title earlier in the week, drew level and Foster's chances of retaining his crown vanished at that point, given that Huegill has the greater staying power of the two
The man who took Foster's freestyle title over 50m raised great expectations for a blistering 100m freestyle final tomorrow. Jose Martin Meolans raced well under world record pace at the 50m, in 22.26 to
Alexander Popov's 22.70, before fading off the Russian's pace to stop the clock at 47.11 seconds, a South American record 0.03sec inside Brazilian
Gustavo Borges's best and the fourth fastest ever behind Popov, Lars Frolander, the reigning champion who withdrew from the race in Moscow, and Neil Walker of the US.
In the second semi-final, Salim Iles, of Algeria, also raced inside Popov's half-way pace, at 22.61, before fading to 47.38. Popov was not entered in the 100m here in Moscow.
Scott Tucker will be the only American in the final, qualifying fifth best in 48.05, after Jason Lezak, a medal favorite, miscalculated his heats swim in the morning and, at 49.66, found himself in 19th and out
of the semis.
Lezak said: "It would have been my ninth event. I thought I'd done enough and I\if I could go back I would do it differently, but the relay means a lot more to me."
Alison Sheppard, the Scot with a bronze medal in the 100m medley and six national records to her credit already at these championships, qualified fastest for tomorrow's final of the 50m freestyle when she equaled her own Commonwealth record of 24.26, ahead of defending champion and world record holder, Therese Alshammar from Sweden.
In the semi-final of the 50m backstroke, Haley Cope, of the US, set a championship record of 27.56 seconds to qualify fastest for today's final ahead of Jennifer Carroll, of Canada, on 27.59, with Diana MacManus, of the US, on 27.77, a tenth of a second ahead of world record holder Li Hui, of China.
Oleg Lisogor, of Ukraine, qualified fastest for the final of the 50m breaststroke, in 26.86, David Denniston, of the US, going through to the final fourth fastest in 27.46sec.