MONTE CARLO, June 10 . A new wrinkle has been added to the mix in the hunt for gold in the men's 200 meter breaststroke at next month's World Championships in Barcelona.
Russia's 22-year-old Dmitri Komonikov set a European record here today in the 200 breast, swimming a world-leading 2:10.39 during Round 2 of the Mare Nostrum series.
The 22nd annual International Meeting saw Kormonikov eclipse the old Euro standard of 2:10.87 by Italy's Domenico Fioravanti, which he swam to win the gold at Sydney. Komonikov's old pr and Russian record was a 2:11.81 from the Rome stop of the Mare Nostrum tour last summer.
Komonikov's record vaults him past America's Ed Moses, who had been the 2003 world-leader with his 2:10.49 from the dual meet against Australia a couple of months ago; and Japan's world record-holder, Kosuke Kitajima, who swam a then No. 2 2:10.59 twice at his country's World Championship Trials in April.
Komonikov now ranks third on the all-time world performers-performances' list. Only Kitajima's 2:09.97 global mark and America's Mike Barrowman's U.S. record of 2:10.16 — that won him the gold at Barcelona 11 yars ago — are faster.
Comparing the two swims, Kitajima went out considerably quicker — 1:02.61 to Komonikov's 1:04.07 — but the Russian's last half was a quick 1:06.32 vs. Kitajima's 1:07.36.
50 100 150 200
Kitajima 29.72 1:02.61 1:36.05 2:09.97
Komonikov 30.67 1:04.07 1:37.86 2:10.39
Moses' pr is a 2:10.40 from the World Championship Trials two years ago in Austin, and that 2:10.49 from the "Duel in the Pool" is his second-best ever, fastest in two years, and No. 2 on the all-time USA list (third performer, fourth-performance all-time).
Similar to Kosuke's record-setting swim last year in Korea, Kormonikov had minimal competition this afternoon, with second-placer (and Russian teammate) Andrey Ivanov touching in 2:14.57. His pr is a 2:12.66 from last year's European Championships.
Japan's Yuki Sato was third (2:16.08) with Austrian ace Max Popoprigoda next(2:16.77).
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While Komonikov was grabbing the headlines(and setting himself up to win a 7000 Euro bonus for the meet's best performance along with the possibility of winning even more lucre if his record stands up as the best overall mark of the four-meet series), Holland's King Pieter van dcn Hoogenband showed that he'll be tough to beat at Barcelona too.
The world 100 free record-holder won in 49.78 (49.76p)His split was 24.41. Italy's Christian Galenda (50.07) and Lorenzo Vismara (50.28) were next.
Russia picked up another gold when Anatoli Poliakov won the 200 fly (1:58.25) with Romania's Stefan Gherghel (1:59.18) runner-up. Gherghel has won the NCAA 200 yard fly the last two years while swimming for the University of Alabama.
Romania scored a gold when Razvan Florea won the 100 back in a national record 56.26 and Australian Adam Lucas won the 200 IM in 2:03.86 to complete the men's individual events.
In women's racing, Belarus' Alena Popchenka, who had a great spring competing at theSouthAfrican and French nationls, won the 200 free in 1:59.36 to Australia's Kasey Giteau's 2:01.06, a personal best. A few races later, "Pop" returned to win a second gold in the 100 fly (59.28) with Holland's Inge Dekker (59.98) second. Dekker went a pr 59.96 in the prelims.
Austria's Mirna Jukic, who swept both breaststrokes at the Rome stop over the weekend, showed no sign of letting up today as she won the 100 in 1:08.62 to Sweden's Emma Igelstrom's 1:09.07.
Igelstrom was last year's Euro champ in the 100 breast (1:07.87) with a continental standard 1:07.27 from the Euro trials earlier in the summer.
Russia's Stanislava Komorova won the 200 back (2:11.63).
Monte Carlo has a "Skins" shootout format for the 50 stroke events, starting with a field of 16, then reducing it to eight, four and finally a two-swimmer "shootout."
Taking the ladies first, the 50 back top quarter-finalist was Spain's Nina Zhivanevskaya (28.77) with the Czech Republic's Hana Hlavacova second-fastest (29.95).
In the 50 breast, Igelstrom was fastest (32.04) with Germany's Janine Schaffer (32.66) and Jukic (32.69) having the fastest time in the other quarter. Igelstrom's NR, second on the all-time Euro list, is a 31.17. The world-record is 30.57 by Great Britain's Zoe Baker from last year's Commonwealth Games.
In the 50 fly, world record-holder Inge deBruijn of Holland was top qualifier (26.66) and Martina Moravcova was first in the other quarter (27.49). The 50 free saw Holland's Marleen Veldhuis (25.89) and Finland's Hanna Maria Seppala (25.99) win their respective quarter-final races.
On the men's side, Russia's quadruple Olympic gold medalist, Alex Popov, was fastest in the 50 free quarters with a 22.69, and France's Julian Sicot (22.70) was next.
The 50 back's top qualifier was Russia's Arkady Vyatchanin (26.36) followed by Spain's David Ortega (26.39). The 50 breast's fastest man was the Ukraine's world record-holder Oleg Lisogor (28.55) and in the fly it was Holland's Joris Keizer (24.06.
The meet concludes Wednesday.