CANET, France, June 15. THE first night of the two-day Canet stop of the Mare Nostrum produced some seriously strong swimming just a month-and-a-half out from the World Championships in Barcelona.
Jeanette Ottesen Gray vaulted to seventh in the world rankings this year with a winning time of 24.76 in the women's 50-meter freestyle event. That put her ahead of Aliaksandra Herasimenia's 24.85 from the Turkish Open, and just behind Sarah Sjostrom's 24.70 from The Netherlands Cup. Germany's Dorothea Brandt took second in the splash-and-dash with a time of 25.19, off her fourth-ranked season best of 24.51. Brazil's Alessandra Marchioro wound up third in 25.26.
Ottesen Gray then doubled up with a smoking time of 57.73 in the women's 100-meter fly. That swim just missed her third-ranked season best of 57.63 from the Monte Carlo stop of the Mare Nostrum meet, but was plenty good enough to secure her a second title today. Norway's Ingvild Snildal finished second in 59.11, while Brazil's Daynara De Paula took third in 59.19.
South Africa's Chad Le Clos dominated the men's 100-meter fly with a season-best effort of 51.64. That swim beat his previous top time this year of 51.79 from South African Nationals, and moved him to third in the world rankings behind only Steffen Deibler (51.19) and Evgeny Korotyshkin (51.53). Hungary's Bence Biczo finished second in 53.55, while France's Romain Sassot placed third in 54.23.
Shinri Shioura gave his Japanese record a run in the men's 50-meter free with a winning time of 22.22. That swim fell just .19 off his national record of 22.03 from Japanese Nationals earlier this year. South Africa's Roland Schoeman finished second in 22.29, while Cuba's Hanser Garcia checked in with a third-place time of 22.38.
Japan's Aya Terakawa, who already owns the top-ranked swim in the world this year with a blistering time of 58.84 from Japanese Nationals in the women's 100-meter back, broke 1:00 again with a 59.92 as she focuses on her run to the Barcelona World Championships. Spain's Duane Da Rocha touched second in 1:00.75, while Canada's Sinead Russell snared third in 1:00.81 albeit misidentified as American due to her Unattached-Florida Gator entry.
Jeremy Stravius, also top-ranked in the world in the men's 100-meter back with a 53.09 from French Nationals, nearly cracked that time with a blazing effort of 53.19 to win the event this evening. New Zealand's Gareth Kean placed second in 54.95, while Spain's Juan Miguel Rando snared third-place honors in 55.36.
Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen, who stands ninth in the world this year with a 31.00 from the Barcelona Mare Nostrum stop this week, cruised to victory in the women's 50-meter breaststroke this evening with a time of 31.18. Germany's Caroline Ruhnau placed a distant second in what proved to be the closest race of the finale. Ruhnau touched out Spain's Marina Garcia by the slimmest of margins, 31.87 to 31.88. Israel's Amit Ivry also broke 32 seconds with a fourth-place 31.99.
Pedersen doubled up with a sterling time of 2:21.55 in the women's 200-meter breaststroke. That swim fell just a second off her top-ranked performance of 2:20.53 from the Denmark Open this year. Garcia placed second this time with a 2:25.34 after taking third in the sprint tonight. That swim edged her previous season best of 2:25.77 from the Spanish Open that ranks her ninth in the world, but was not enough to surpass Runa Imai's 2:25.13 for eighth in the world. Ukraine's Viktoriya Solnceva finished third in 2:25.76 to move to 10th in the world.
Damir Dugonjic, the fifth-ranked swimmer in the world with a 27.33 from The Netherlands Cup, took home the win in the men's 50-meter breaststroke finale with a time of 27.50. New Zealand's Glenn Snyders placed second in 27.61, off his season-best time of 27.39 from New Zealand Nationals. South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh wound up third in 27.66.
Germany's Marco Koch cleared his fifth-ranked season best of 2:10.40 with a winning time of 2:10.34 in the men's 200-meter breaststroke. He still stands fifth in the world, as he was unable to leapfrog Daniel Gyurta's fourth-ranked 2:10.25 for fourth. Japan's Daiya Seto touched second in 2:11.57, while Germany's Christian Vom Lehn placed third in 2:13.15.
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu vaulted to fourth in the world in the women's 200-meter IM with a sizzling time of 2:09.75 to win the shorter distance medley. That swim jumped her in front of Zsuzsanna Jakabos' 2:10.27 from The Netherlands Cup for fourth in the world. China's Zhang Wenqing touched a distant second in 2:13.55, while Japan's Miho Teramura finished third in 2:14.29.
Hosszu had a tougher time of it in her second win as she clipped Spain's Melanie Costa, 1:57.89 to 1:57.99, for the women's 200-meter free title. That time came up a bit short of her ninth-ranked season best of 1:57.14 from the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrum series. New Zealand's Smanatha Lucie-Smith earned third in 1:58.62.
Finland's Matias Koski clipped Ukraine's Sergiy Frolov at the wall in the men's 400-meter freestyle with a time of 3:50.70. Frolov touched just behind with a second-place effort of 3:50.83. South Africa's Devon-Myles Brown picked up the third-place finish with a 3:51.33.
Israel's Gal Nevo won the men's 200-meter IM in 2:02.03, while South Africa's Michael Meyer claimed second in 2:02.18. Canada's Evan White earned third in 2:02.56. Japan's Yuki Kobori (1:47.81) captured the men's 200-meter free title. Germany's Yannick Lebherz (1:49.70) and South Africa's Brown (1:49.71) completed the podium.
Costa earned her second podium of the night, having already shown some versatility with a second-place finish behind Hosszu in the 200. Costa clocked an 8:37.17 to win the women's 800-meter free, while her compatriot Beatriz Gomez took second in 8:38.55. Lichtenstein's Julia Hassler rounded out the top three in 8:38.95.