TUNIS, Tunisia, Sept. 5. TWO newcomers to the rarified ranks of the gold medal podium position and a veteran European champion were the newsmakers on
Day 2 of the Mediterranean Games' swimming competition here today.
Italy's Michele Vancini, who dropped his pr in the 200 breast to 2:14.79 at the Italian summer Nationals in Genoa early last month, knocked nearly two seconds off that time with his gold medal-winning and Games record-setting swim, clocking a fine 2:13.08 — 10th on the global list.
The old Games record belonged to France's Stephane Perrot (2:13.76) from the comeptition four years ago in Bari.
Runner-up was Vancini's Olympic bronze medalist teammate Davide Rummolo, who clocked 2:13.29. Rummolo was third at Sydney in a pr 2:12.73 and finished
2000 ranked fourth globally — his highest placing ever.
In the 200 back the gold went to Croatia "comet" Marko Strahija, who touched in 1:59.87 — his seasonal pr and just off his career pr of 1:59.85 from the
Strahija is a former Ohio State University standout and won the Big 10 200 back title during his stay witb Coach Bill Wadley's Buckeyes during the late '90s.
The Croatian record is 1:58.62 by ex-University of California star Gordan Kozulj, who clocked that time en route to the gold at last year's European
Championships in Helsinki.
The final individual men's gold of the evening went to Italy's Emeliano Brembilla, who won the 400 free in 3:49.27. The time broke his own Games record of 3:49.32 from 1997 and gave the Italian star his second gold of the meet, as he won the 200 free opening night — also in Games-record time.
Brembilla was 400 free bronze medalist at the World Championships in Fukuoka (pr 3:45.11), a time that ranks him third globally. Yet he's still more
than a second and-a-half off the Italian standard 3:43.40 by Massi Rosolino, which won him the silver at Sydney.
Greece upset Italy in the 800 free relay, clocking a Games and national-record 7:23.33 for the gold to the Italians' 7:23.38. Brembilla anchored in 1:50.34.
In women's competition, Greece won its first gold medal when European Jr. champion Zoe Dimoshaki won the 200 free in 2:02.09, just off her pr-NR 2:01.94 from the EJCs in July.
Spain's Ninz Zhivanevskaya won the 100 back (1:02.34) and Italy's Roberta Crescenti the 100 breast (1:11.00) to complete the night's events.
After two days, Italy has four individual men's golds (200-400 frees, 200 breast, 100 fly) and three silvers (100 fly, 200 free, 800 free relay) to lead the standings. On the women's side, Spain has three individual golds (100 free, 200 fly, 100 back) and a gold in the 800 free relay to rank No. 1.
– Bill Bell