BARCELONA, June 2. IN the opening round of the Mare Nostrum Series, former SMU NCAA champ Martina Moravcova — who represents Slovakia while working on her MBA at the Texas school — won a tough 50 fly race from Austria's Judith Draxler and Australia's Julia Ham, 27.74-27.81-28.12.
Double M revealed afterwards that she has been ill and "on antibiotics" of late and was therefore "quite pleased" with her swim. Her pr is 26.81 from last season and her seasonal pr is 27.04 from the Vittel Cup in Toulouse, France in late April — fifth globally
The men's race saw Finland's Jere Hard edge Olympic 100 fly champ Lars Frolander, 24.12-24.30 with Spain's Jorge Ulibarri (24.88) third. Frolander also has an SMU connection, having been an NCAA champ for Coach Eddie Sinnot's Mustangs in the late '90s. He still holds the U.S. Open-NCAA record in the 100 yard fly.
Hard's winning swim ties him for sixth on the '01 global with Britain's Mark Foster. His pr-NR is 23.88 from last year's European Championships, a swim that won him the gold and ranked him fourth globally.
Frolander's pr-NR is 23.96, also from the '00 European Championships in Helsinki.
In the women's 50 breast, South Africa's Sarah Poewe — hoping to pick up the mantle from now-retired world record-holder and countrywoman Penny Heyns — won in an easy 32.10 to Canada's Rhiannon Leier's 32.82. Poewe's career-best is 31.56 (a 50 split off her time at Sydney) and Heyns' world-record is 30.83 from the Pan-Pacs — also in Sydney — in August of '99.
Heyns is still the only woman ever under 31.0 for this race (she split a 30.95 at the Goodwill Games three years ago) and led the world last year with that 31.10.
However, as is the case with the 50 fly and 50 back events too, the world record and the all-time world list may both take severe beatings come the World Championships in Fukuoka as all are on the program for the first time.
The men's 50 breast saw Ukranian Oleg Lisogor win in 28.58 to Sweden's Patrik Isaksson's 28.82. Lisogor ranked second globally last season with a pr 27.81 that won the gold at Helsinki He cut that time down to 27.66 at the Ukranian Championships in March — .05 off the NR 27.61 by Alexander Dzhaburiya from 1996. Lisogor ranks third globally behind a pair of Americans — world record-setter Ed Moses (27.39) and Anthony Robinson (27.49) who both swam their times at the US World Championship Trials at Austin.
Moses and Robinson also now rank first and second on the all-time world performers-performances ranking list, and Moses also set the global standard in the 100 breast at Austin while coming within a couple of tenths of the wr in the 200 breast (2:10.16) with his 2:10.40.
Now-retired American Mike Barrowman set the 200 mark en route to the gold at the Barcelona Olympoics nine years ago. The last man to hold both the 100-200 records simultaneously is America's John Hencken in the early '70s, and he went on to win the Montreal 100 breast while finishing runner-up in the 200 to Great Britain's David Wilkie. No man has ever held the
50-100-200 standards but Moses has said that's his goal for Fukuoka.
The women's 50 back title went to hometown favorite Nina Zhivanevskaya (29.29) and the men's to Hungarian Peter Horvath (26.32). Zhivanevskaya's '01 best is 29.18 and she ranks third on the all-time performers' list off her NR 28.69 from last year.
Horvath's time is his seasonal best. His NR is 25.99 from last year's Hungarian Championships in June — 11th globally for the year. The veteran dorsal specialist (27) also swam a pr 55.05 100 back earlier this season and is beginning to make his mark internationally.
— Bill Bell