By Phillip Whitten
PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain, July 7. The weather may be balmy on this beautiful Balearic isle, but the waters were turbulent at the state-of-the-art Son Hugo Aquatic Complex, where six more world marks were shattered on the fifth day of the European Masters Swimming Championships.
World Records Italy's Fabrizio Momoni got the ball rolling in the day's first event, the men's 400m freestyle, when he became, at 62, the first man over sixty ever to break five minutes in the 400.
Momoni swam a beautifully-paced race, splitting 2:29.33 for his first 200 and 2:29.76 for his back half to touch in 4:59.09. The time destroyed both his European record of 5:13.92 from 1999, and the world mark of 5:04.45 by the USA's Dru Gallagher in 1999.
Great Britain's Simon Mellor, 28, set a world record in the 25-29 division, but had he been pushed he might have become the first Masters swimmer to break four minutes in the long course 400 free.
Splitting 57.59, 1:59.76, and 3:01.38, Mellor tried valiantly to crack the four minute barrier, urged on by the cheering crowd. But with a 13-second lead over his nearest pursuer, he didn't have the incentive to dig deep for that something extra that might have pushed him to a sub-four minute swim. He touched in 4:01.10, cracking the USA's Alex Kostich's standard of 4:03.63 from 1997. The old Euro mark was 4:07.72 by Roland Lee in 1992.
Britain's Jane Asher completed her sweep of world marks in the 50 through 400 meters freestyle for women 70-74 at this meet, when she took the one lap sprint
in 35.25. Her time just squeezed by the global standard of 35.28 set by the USA's Gail Roper in 1998. Asher's time also erased the European record of 36.54, set by Odette Lusien of France in 1998.
In fact, all of the world records Asher has broken this week were held by giants of the sport, notably Roper and Clara Walker.
Ireland's Claire O'Dwyer notched her second world mark in two days in the women's 60-64 age group, taking the 50 free down to 32.76. The old world and continental record belong to Switzerland's Olga Krejci at 32.92
The 200 meter breaststroke also witnessed two new global marks. In the men's 45-49 division, Germany's Jurgen Bruhn battled countryman Thomas Paehr, as both bettered the world mark of 2:41.02 set seven years ago by another German, Gerhard Preiner. At the end, Bruhn emerged on top in 2;38.65, almost two seconds ahead of his rival, Paehr, who touched in 2:40.61.
Britain's Jennifer Merritt nabbed the final WR of the day, going 3:04.70 for the women's 200m breaststroke and knocking four full seconds off the world and Euro standard. The old record, 3:08.74, was set by Germany's Christine Heeren in 1999.
European Records: 400m Freestyle
While world records were hard to come by, European records fell with regularity, six in the men's 400 meter freestyle alone.
Julius Feicht (GER) set the first when he touched in 7:41.44, shaving 41-hundredths off the old mark held by Sweden's Nils Ferm since 1998.
Britain's Don Bland even-split his race (2:58.53 -
2:58.48) to finish in 5:57.01 and take the 70-74 race in record time. Germany's Valentin Weber was the old record-holder with his 5:58.13 from 1997.
In the 50-54 division, Sweden's Sven Von Holst lowered his own mark from the 4:41.96 he swam last year to 4:39.87.
One age group down, Britain's Simon Veale led the top three finishers under Britain's Eddie Riach's old 45-49 continental standard of 4:40.95. Veale's new mark stands at 4:34.94. He was followed to the wall by Peter Kauch (GER) in 4:37.62 and Uwe Kussatz (GER) in 4:39.68.
European Records: 100 meter Backstroke
Four Euro marks fell in the 100 meter backstroke.
The women's 55-59 division featured the day's most exciting race, a virtual replay of yesterday's 200 meter dorsal affair, though the results were quite different. Once again, the race was a three-woman contest featuring Sweden's Ohlsson, Germany's Brigitte Merten and France's Maria Balla.
Yesterday the race belonged to Balla, who used her superior conditioning to come back strong, losing Merten shortly after the halfway mark and finally shaking Ohlsson to set a European record. This time it was the Swede who wound up on top of the podium with her 1:22.35, as Merten out-touched Balla for the silver 1:22.74 – 1:22.76. All three were under Ohlsson's old continental mark of 1:23.84 established last year.
In the women's 40-44 age group, Germany's Ute Romberg touched in 1:11.59 to erase Lesley Wilde's Euro mark of 1:12.00. Britain's Wilde was a badly-beaten second today in 1:15.02.
In the 35-39 division, Italy's Silvia Parocchi clocked 1:09.61. The old record, held by West German Olympian Karen Seick, had stood at 1:09.88 since 1996.
Hungary's Jozsef Csikany was the only man to set a continental mark in the 100 back. He took the 55-59 division in 1:12.27 to lower his own record of 1:12.65 set at this meet two years ago. Germany's Folkert Meeuw was a strong second in 1:13.84
Israel's Edith Thein just missed setting her second Euro mark in the women's 80-84 division. Her winning time, 2:01.48 was just seven-hundredths off her own continental record.
European Records: 50 meter Freestyle
Seven records fell in the 50 free, five to the ladies and two to the caballeros.
Russia's Olga Kokorina lowered her own 75-79 record from 41.94, set in 1999, to 41.79.
Olga Krejci, who hails from Lucerne Switzerland, broke Jane Asher's record of 34.47 from 1996 with a sterling 33.83. It seems she was playing a game of "Musical Records" with Asher and Ireland's Claire O'Dwyer. Only a few heats earlier, Asher had taken the 70-74 WR. Then Krejci broke, Asher's 65-69 mark. Several heats later, Ireland's O'Dwyer took Krejci's world and Euro mark in the 60-64 age group.
Germany's Angela Zingler had the 50 all to herself in the 45-49 age group, as her 28.67 snapped her own 28.73 mark set in '99.
France's Aldo Eminent became pre-eminent among European men 70-74 when he touched in 31.15. The time broke German Gerhard Justus'3.43 from two years ago.
Finally, Poland's Leonard Bielicz clocked 25.79 to slash almost a second off the old men's 50-54 record held by Holland's Peter Prijdekker at 26.76. Britain's John Liron, in second place, was also well under the old mark with his 26.31.
European Records: 200 meter Breaststroke
The day's final vent, the 200 meter breaststroke, saw five new European records.
In the 55-59 age group, Israel's Gershon Shefa chopped almost three seconds off the 2:53.92 standard he established two years ago. Shefa's 2:51.10 was just off the world mark of 2:50.44.
Poland's Tomasz Duszynski and Britain's Martin Douglas both swam under the seven year-old record of 2:28.67 set by France's Nicholas Granger. The Pole went out fast and then tried to hang on for dear life. Splitting 1:08.99, he led Douglas by 2.13 seconds at the 100 meter mark. At the end, Duszynski touched in 2:27.98 to Douglas' 2:28.66.
While these times are very fast, the swimmers will have to go a lot faster when they age up. The 30-34 world mark, held by Britain's Nick Gillingham, is 2:20.43.
Italy's Marzena Kulis scored a Euro mark in the women's 35-39 age group, as her 2:48.92 took down the five year-old standard of 2:50.66 held by Germany's Dagmar Hilbig.
For complete results, click on: www.mastersswimming.com/palma2001