By David Rieder
MONTE CARLO, Monaco, June 9. THE first stop of the Mare Nostrum series in Monaco wrapped up with a handful of speedy swims, most notably from French swimmers Camille Muffat and Jeremy Stravius. Stravius took two event victories, while Muffat recorded a world-leading swim in the 400 free. In addition, the second day featured the four man semi-finals and two-man finals of the meet's noted Monaco 50s.
Muffat clocked a 4:02.84 in the women's 400 free to easily out-distance Great Britain's Jasmin Carlin. Only Bronte Barratt (4:03.52) has swum within two seconds of that performance this year. Carlin touched second in 4:06.67, while, Denmark's Lotte Friis took third in 4:07.60. Hungary's Katinka Hosszu ended up fourth in 4:07.99.
Hosszu, however, would return to earn two victories to add to her win in the 400 IM on Saturday. Hosszu won the 200 fly in 2:09.94, while Great Britain's Jemma Lowe came in second at 2:11.05. Switzerland's Martina van Berkel rounded out the top three win 2:12.22. Hosszu also took the women's 200 IM in 2:11.52, jumping to eighth in the world this year. Countrywoman Evelyn Verrastzo took second in 2:12.99, and Russia's Victoria Andreeva came in third at 2:13.70.
Stravius crushed the men's 200 free with a winning time of 1:46.88. Stravius already has the third-fastest time in the world this year, having clocked a 1:45.61 earlier this spring. Only Sun Yang (1:44.99)and Yannick Agnel (1:45.48) have swum faster. South Africans finished second and third, as Myles Brown came in at 1:48.83, and Chad Le Clos grabbed third in 1:50.29.
Stravius also took the win in the men's 50 back. After topping the semi-final in 25.56, he matched the fastest time in the world to win the final. He matched his own 24.61 set at French Nationals this spring. He also took down Junya Koga's meet record of 24.81 from 2011. In that head-to-head finale, Stravius defeated Russia's Vitaly Borisov, who touched in 25.56.
Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte posted her second world-leading swim in as many days when she clocked a 30.11 to lead semi-finals of the women's 50 breast. She cleared Yuliya Efimova's second-ranked 30.56 by a wide margin, along with Valentina Artemyeva's meet record of 30.56. She nearly topped Efimova's European record of 30.09 from 2009. Meilutyte swam just a tick slower in the final, winning the head-to-head race with Russia's Artemyeva, 30.19 to 31.01.
Le Clos won his second victory of the meet in the men's 100 fly. He led wire-to-wire and touched in 52.11, not far off of the 51.79 he had previously clocked to rank fifth in the world. Germany's Stephen Deibler fell well short of his world-leading 51.19 to finish second in 52.72, while Russia's Nikita Konovalov touched third in 53.17.
Germany's Britta Steffen moved up to eighth in the world with her 100 free win. The 2008 Olympic champion in the event clocked a 54.05 to edge Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom. Sjostrom touched second in 54.15, and Muffat took third in 54.54. The Czech Republic's Simona Baumrtova topped the women's 100 back in 1:00.59, while Great Britain's Georgia Davies took second in 1:00.95. Davies' fellow Brit Elizabeth Simmonds came in third at 1:01.76.
Japan's Daiya Seto set a meet record with his win in the men's 400 IM. Seto posted a 4:13.09, edging the 4:13.27 that Hungary's Laszlo Cseh set two years ago. Cseh came in second at 4:17.37, and South Africa's Michael Meyer finished third in 4:21.30. Hungary's Peter Bernek won the men's 100 back in 1:57.77, tying Brazil's Leonardo De Deus for the tenth-fastest time in the world this year. Frenchmen went 2-3; Eric Ress took second in 2:00.95, and Benjamin Stasiulis took third in 2:02.62.
Three teenagers dominated the women's 200 breast, as Russia's Irina Novikova cruised to a victory in the women's 200 breast with a 2:26.74 performance. China's Xiang Li finished second in 2:29.23, and Russia's Anna Belousova took third in 2:30.53. Russia finished 1-2 in the men's 100 breast as Viacheslav Sinkevich added to his victory in the 200 breast on Saturday. Sinkevich touched in 1:01.25, followed Kirill Strelnikov, who touched in 1:01.91. Slovenia's Damir Dugonjic came in third at 1:01.98.
Damir Dugonjic set a meet record to top the final of the men's 50 breast, defeating Germany's Hendrik Feldwehr, 27.49 to 27.90 as he edged Feldwehr's 2011 meet record of 27.66. In the men's 50 fly final Roland Schoeman beat Deibler, 23.24 to 23.69, while Jeanette Ottesen Gray clocked the fastest time in the world in the women's 50 fly to defeat Spain's Melanie Henique, 25.69 to 26.68.
Japan's Aya Terakawa edged Anastasia Zueva's meet record in the women's 50 back when she clocked 27.53 to defeat Spain's Mercedes Paris Minguet, who touched in 28.04. Russia's Andrey Grechin touched out Japan's Shinri Shioura, 22.05 to 22.14, to take the men's 50 free title, and the Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo ended the meet with a win in the women's 50 free. Kromowidjojo touched in 24.52, ahead of Sjostrom's 24.84.