By David Rieder
BARCELONA, Spain, June 12. ONE day after setting a European record in the 50 breaststroke, Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte chased her own continental mark in the 100 breast today, falling just short of it on the second day of competition at the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrum tour.
Meilutyte, the reigning Olympic champion in the 100 breast, posted a 1:05.21 today at the Sant Andreu pool in Barcelona. The time missed out on the European record of 1:05.20 she set on Saturday in Monaco, but matches the time she swam in the semifinals of the event at the London Olympics (Meilutyte won gold in 1:05.47 in London) and broke Leisel Jones' meet record of 1:05.72 from 2010.
Meilutyte remains the only swimmer under 1:06 in the event this year, with Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen holding onto second in the world with a 1:06.20 in today's race, slightly better than the 1:06.40 she swam at the Danish Open in March to sit at the top of the world until Meilutyte's swim on Saturday. Meanwhile, Japan's Kanako Watanabe finished a distant third in today's race with a 1:08.65.
Spain's Mirei Belmonte Garcia doubled, picking up wins in both the women's 200 fly and women's 400 free. Belmonte Garcia fell just one one-hundredth shy of a spot in the world top-ten in the 200 fly, but she earned the victory in 2:08.88. Countrywoman Judit Ignacio Sorribes finished second in 2:10.20, while Switzerland's Martina Van Berkel picked up third in 2:11.65. She later posted a 4:05.99 to win the 400 free, just off her fourth-ranked 4:05.63 from March. New Zealand's Lauren Boyle touched second in 4:07.75, while another Spaniard, Melanie Costa Schmid, finished third in 4:08.38.
Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom earned her third victory of the competition in the women's 100 free. Having already won the 50 and 200 free on Tuesday, Sjostrom put up a 53.92 in the 100, falling just short of her third-ranked 53.66 from earlier this spring. Germany's Britta Steffen finished second in 54.49, and Denmark's Pernille Blume came in third at 55.01.
Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray passed on the 100 free in favor of the 50 fly, and she took that victory in 26.11. Norway's Ingvild Snildal took secondin 26.47, and Brazil's Daynara Paula touched third in 26.74. Meanwhile, Japan's Aya Terakawa picked up her second win of the two-day meet, adding the 50 back title to the 100 back from Tuesday. Terakawa touched out Spain's Mercedes Peris Minguet, 28.06 to 28.08 for the win, while Spain's Duane Da Roche Marce finished third in 28.59.
The top ranked swimmer in the world in the men's 100 fly fell well off his top mark, but Germany's Steffen Deibler picked up a win in 52.52. He leads the world with a 51.19, a time which would have beaten Michael Phelps (51.21) for the Olympic gold last summer. Russia went 2-3, as Nikolay Skvortsov took second in 53.03, and Nikita Konovalov touched third in 53.36.
Two South African sprint stars each earned their second victories of the meet on Wednesday. Cameron van der Burgh took the men's 50 breast title in 27.59, edging Slovenia's Damir Dugonjic. Dugonjic grabbed second in 27.69, while Brazil's Felipe Lima touched third in 27.93. Meanwhile, Roland Schoeman dominated the men's 50 free with a winning time of 22.18. Japan's Shioura Sinri finished runner-up at 22.54, and Cuba's Hamser Garcia Hernandez checked in with a 22.60 for third.
Japan's Daiya Seto swam a strong race in the men's 400 IM. Seto dominated the field and won in 4:12.71. He currently ranks third in the world with a 4:10.90. Ukraine's Maksym Shemberev touched second in 4:20.42, and Russia's Semen Makovich ended up third in 4:20.85. Seto's countryman Yuki Kobori picked up a win in the men's 200 free. Kobori clocked 1:48.50, while Germany's Yannick Lebherz finished second at 1:48.93. Great Britain's Matthew Stanley touched third at 1:49.50.
Japan's Miho Temamura won the women's 200 IM in 2:12.17, while Hungary's Katinka Hosszu grabbed second in 2:12.85. Russia's Victoria Andreeva finished third in 2:13.39. Ukraine's Darya Zevina took the women's 200 back in 2:09.59, while Da Rocha Marce edged Canada's Sinead Russell for second, 2:11.41 to 2:11.54.
New Zealand's Gareth Kean defeated Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber in the men's 100 back, 54.70 to 54.96, while Russia's Vitaly Borisov picked up third in 55.10. Russia's Viatcheslav Sinkevich took the men's 200 breast in 2:10.36. Germany's Marco Koch finished second in 2:11.26, and Spain's Melquiades Alvarez Caraballo grabbed third in 2:11.85. Japan's Ayatsugu Hirai won the men's 1500 free in 15:01.81, while Ukraine's Sergiy Frolov took second in 15:06.93. South Africa's Myles Brown Devon ended up third in 15:20.84.