VALENCIA, Spain, Dec. 14. Scandinavians won three events, Olympic champion Yana Klochkova won the jackpot, and fellow Olympic champion Massi Rosolino won two titles, setting a European record in one, on Day One of the four-day European Short Course Swimming Championships being held in Valencia, Spain.
Sweden's Stefan Nystrand, 19, deposed Britain's Mark Foster as European sprint king, overtaking the 30-year-old Brit after the turn and out-lunging him at the wall. Nystrand touched in 21.52 to Foster's 21.60.
Foster's European record–21.31–set in 1998, when it was also the world mark, remained unbroken.
Foster had won the 50 at the last three Euro Short Course Champs, in 1996, '98 and '99. He also won the world short course title in 1993, 1999 and 2000.
Nystrand lost a second gold medal when his Swedish team was DQ'ed in the 4x50m medley relay, after beating Germany by one-hundredth of a second. The Swedes were disqualified due to an illegal dolphin kick by their breaststroker. Germany won the race in 1:36.23, well ahead of Ukraine (1:37.48).
Another Swede, 20 year-old Emma Igelstroem, set a European mark of 31.26 in easily winning the women's 50m breaststroke.
Still another Scaandinavian, Iceland's Orn Arnarson, earned gold on this warm Valencia eve. The 19 year-old won the men's 200m backstroke title for the third time in succession, defeating world short-course champion, Gordan Kozulj of Croatia. Kozulj led through the first half of the race but Arnarson took the lead at the 150 meter mark to set a championship record of 1:52.90. Kozulj was second in 1:53.50.
Meanwhile Sweden's Olympic champion, Lars Frolander, took another step toward winning a bonus prize of DM100,00 (about US$45,000) when he posted the fastest 100m fly time (52.96) in the heats. The "Superstar 2000" prize, which is being offered by the European Swimming League (LEN, will go to any swimmers who wins the same event at four designated major meets.
Ukraine's Yana Klochkova won that prize when she led from start to finish to take the women's 200m IM in 2:10.75. The 18 year-old did not threaten her own European record of 2:09.08 set one year ago.
The Ukrainian had also won the event at last December's European short-course championships, July's European long-course championships and September's Olympics.
Only Sweden's Lars Frolander has a chance of emulating her when he defends his 100 meter butterfly title tomorrow.
Italy's Rosolino, a gold, silver and bronze medalist in Sydney, broke the men's European record (sc) in the 400m freestyle and followed by winning the 200 IM, the event in which he won Olympic gold in Sydney.
Rosolino took the 400 free to his rivals from the very start splitting 52.62 at the 100 and 1:47.98 at the 200 to break the race wide open. He touched in 3:39.59, more than four seconds behind Grant Hackett's world mark, but well ahead of the former European record of 3:40.45 held by fellow Italian, Emiliano Brembilla. Britain's Paul Palmer was a distant second in 3:44.80
The Italian followed up an hour later with a win in the 200 individual medley final, his 1:56.62 easily defeating Christian Keller of Germany, who clocked 1:57.68. Rosolino, who led Keller by only .01 at the 100, opened up more than a second's lead in the breaststroke leg, then cruised home on the final 50.
Seventeen year-old Annika Mehlhorn, of Germany, uncorked a superb effort to win the women's 200m butterfly in European record time. Melhorn took the lead from the start, split 1:00.13 at the halfway mark, and just kept chugging. She touched in 2:05.77, almost a second under the old European mark of 2:06.50 set last year by Denmark's Mette Jacobsen, who was second tonight in 2:07.70. Melhorn's time makes her the third fastest woman in history, after Australia's Susie O'Neill and the USA's Mary T. Meagher.