CANET, France, June 9. AS the second stop of the Mare Nostrum Series came to a close in Canet, France Wednesday night, the women took center stage with a number of down-to-the-wire races and several outstanding performances.
A newly minted French citizen, Alena Popchanka set a national record in the 100 butterfly, posting a time of 58.72. Formerly of Belarus, which she represented at last summer’s Olympics, Popchanka held off Slovakia’s Martina Moravcova (58.94) and the Netherlands’ Inge Dekker (59.19). Popchanka also placed second in the 400 freestyle, as her effort of 4:12.00 finished behind only Romania’s Camelia Potec (4:11.91).
Potec added a fourth-place showing in a loaded 200 freestyle. Sweden’s Josefin Lillhage won the four-lap free event in 1:59.02, ahead of the 1:59.14 swim of Poland’s Otylia Jedrzejczak. Costa Rica’s Claudia Poll was third in 1:59.89 and Potec hit the wall in 1:59.94.
The men’s 200 freestyle didn’t feature the depth of the female field, but South Africa’s Ryk Neethling and Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski dueled to the wire. Neethling prevailed in 1:49.19 while Korzeniowski was clocked in 1:49.48. Meanwhile, the Ukraine’s Andriy Serdinov won the 100 butterfly (52.19) and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, a day after setting a European record in the 400 individual medley, took the 200 I.M. (2:00.23).
China notched a pair of victories, as Zhang Lin won the men’s 1500 freestyle (15:18.30) and Liu Jing captured first in the women’s 200 I.M. (2:16.89). Sweden’s Therese Alshammar and the Netherlands’ Marleen Veldhuis tied for first in the women’s 50 free (25.04) and France’s David Maitre won the men’s 50 free (22.50). Esther Baron supplied France with a triumph in the women’s 200 backstroke (2:13.14).
Other victors from Canet were Poland’s Beata Kaminska in the women’s 100 breast (1:10.07), Great Britain’s Chris Cook in the men’s 100 breast (1:01.77) and Romania’s Razvan Florea in the men’s 200 back (1:58.97).