CANET, France, June 12. THOUGH the usual suspects won all the races today to close out the Canet stop on the Mare Nostrum circuit tour, plenty of great long course swimming took place under the French sun, including another barrier-breaking time for Rikke Pedersen in the 200 breast.
Pedersen continues to show that swimming under 2:20 in the 200 breast is not a big deal just two years after Rebecca Soni first did it at the London Olympics and Pedersen followed a year later. Today, Pedersen dipped under the barrier for the fourth time this year — and her fifth time overall — with a 2:19.67. It’s six hundredths of a second slower than her fastest of the year, a 2:19.61 from the Eindhoven Cup, and 56 hundredths off her world record of 2:19.11 from last year’s world championships, but she’s still the only swimmer under 2:21 this year, and a full four seconds faster than the second-ranked European on the world rankings.
Kanako Watanabe of Japan, the second-fastest in the world with a 2:21.09 to her credit, was a distant second with a 2:24.14 today. Jessica Vall of Spain claimed third with a 2:25.99.
Pedersen started the finals session with a warm-up of sorts in the 50 breast, posting a 31.00 to get the win over American Katie Meili and her 31.52.Amit Ivry of Israel was third with a 31.58.
Nathan Adrian let Hanser Garcia and Anthony Ervin enjoy the top two seeds for the men’s 100 free final, qualifying third for the race. But Adrian took control of the race and won with a 48.43, just two tenths slower than his best time of the season. Garcia outsplit Adrian in the final 50 meters, 25.28 to 25.45, to help him place second with a 48.77. That puts Garcia just outside the top 20, with a 48.76 needed to get onto the list. Poland’s Konrad Czerniak was third with a 49.07. Anthony Ervin of the United States tied for eighth in prelims with Emmanuel Vanluchene of Belgium with a 49.92, then won the swimoff to get into the final and place fifth with a 49.70.
Notably, Florent Manaudou of France missed out on qualifying for the championship final with a 49.97 to qualify 11th. He won the B final with a 48.74 to post the second-fastest swim of the day and put him 19th on the world rankings.
Daiya Seto continues to amaze on the Mare Nostrum circuit. The Japanese star swept the individual medley races with a 1:57.32 over Ryosuke Irie’s 1:59.36. That vaults Seto up to second in the world behind the 1:55.38 by Kosuke Hagino. Irie was the surprise of the race, given that his prime racing focus has been backstroke. A cursory search of race results does not show Irie racing the 200 IM much in the past two years, though it might be tough for him to crack the duo of Seto and Hagino for an international roster spot in the event. The swim puts Irie in a tie for 15th in the world with countryman Ken Takakuwa. Placing third today was Hungary’s David Verraszto with a 2:00.02.
A day after setting two national records in the 50 free and 100 fly, Jeanette Ottesen was back in the pool for just one quick race today, and won her third title of the meet. She took the 50 fly with a 25.49 to miss her season best — and world-leading time — of 25.41 from the Maria Lenk meet in April. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, continuing to show some diversity beyond her sprint freestyle prowess, finished in a tie for second with a 26.00 to improve on the 26.28 she posted to win at the Arena Grand Prix in Charlotte. Also posting a 26.00 was Great Britain’s Fran Halsall, who has been a bit faster this year with a 25.83. Therese Alshammar continues to work her way up the world rankings in her return to the sport with a 26.06 for fourth place and seventh in the world.
Myles Brown of South Africa also claimed his third win of the meet, taking the 800 free with a 7:54.46. Never slower than 30.33 on his 50-meter splits, Brown got into the top 10 globally with the win, taking the eighth spot. He had posted a 7:57.63 in January that had him 15th before today. Damien Joly of France posted a 7:58.92 for second, while Marc Sanchez of Spain rounded out the podium and the swimmers under eight minutes with a 7:59.01.
Though Ottesen is the 2011 co-world champion in the 100 free, she skipped that race today in Canet. In her place at the top of the podium was fellow Dane Pernille Blume thanks to a 53.89. Blume sits in a tie for seventh in the world with her 53.69 from the Danish Open. Veronika Popova of Russia claimed second with a 54.24, while Vanderpool-Wallace put up an impressive double to take third with a 54.38.
Denmark’s other win today came in the women’s 100 back, as Mie Nielsen posted a 59.85, the only swim under 1:00 at the meet. Georgia Davies and Daria Ustinova battled for second, with Davies getting the touch by .01 with a 1:00.92 to Ustinova’s 1:00.93.
The Japanese men’s team will celebrate two 1-2 podium finishes tonight. Irie and Junya Koga took the top two finishes in the 100 back, with Irie posting a 53.24 to Koga’s 54.29. Ryan Murphy got into the top three with a 54.84, but is still looking to beat his quick times from the Arena Grand Prix in January, specifically a 53.98 in the 100.
Yasuhiro Koseki and Kazuki Kohinata showed good form in their top-two finish tonight in the 200 breast. Koseki’s winning time of 2:09.77 puts him seventh in the world and now among the top Japanese 200 breastrokers, which is already a very crowded field. Kohinata was second with a 2:10.30, just off his sixth-ranked 2:09.67 from Japanese nationals. Alexander Palatov of Russia was in the hunt for the top two, but couldn’t match the blistering final 50 meters set by the Japanese and was third with a 2:11.87.
Cammile Adams, who just made the move to the elite squad at SwimMAC Carolina, showed that the transition is going well so far with a 2:08.54 to win the 200 fly. Alys Thomas of Great Britain got to the wall for second in a three-way battle with a 2:10.12 over Shuang Li of China (2:10.39) and Elena Sheridan of Great Britain (2:10.96).
Pawel Korzeniowski was unable to win as decisively in his 200 fly race, taking the win in 1:56.12 over the 1:56.68 by Alexander Kudashev. Viktor Bromer of Belgium also put together a solid swim, placing third with a 1:57.53.
Sakiko Shimizu had the lead after butterfly in the women’s 400 IM over Aimee Willmott, but Willmott took command on the backstroke leg and never faltered, winning in 4:35.41 to Shimizu’s 4:38.20. Willmott holds on to the No. 3 spot in the global rankings with her 4:33.64 from the Flanders Cup, while Shimizu was also two seconds off her season best, a 4:36.86 from the Japanese nationals.
Camille Muffat added the 400 free title to yesterday’s win in the 200 free, but Jazz Carlin didn’t make it easy. Muffat was ahead of Carlin by three seconds at the 200-meter mark, but Carlin saved up for the final stretch, splitting a 29.39 to Muffat’s 30.53. Muffat barely held on for the win with a 4:04.58 to Carlin’s 4:04.82. Coralie Balmy was a distant third with a 4:07.68.
In the men’s 50 butterfly, Konrad Czerniak gave Poland a sweep of the men’s butterfly events, posting a 23.59 for the win over world record holder Rafael Munoz and his 23.65. Ben Proud of Great Britain was third with a 23.72. Notably, Cullen Jones of the USA claimed fourth place with a 23.93 after failing to qualify for the 50 free final yesterday.
In the men’s 50 breaststroke, Adam Peaty claimed the sprint breaststroke double with a 27.19, moving him up to fourth in the world. Andrey Nikolaev of Russia was second with a 27.52 and Damir Dugonic of Slovenia was third with a 27.54.