By Pam Roberts, Special Swimming World Correspondent
BERLIN, Germany, April 28. ON the fourth and final day of German nationals, Steffen Deibler set out to prove once more that he is definitely one to look out for at the world championships this summer in Barcelona. After already winning the national title in both the 100 freestyle and 50 butterfly, he added another two titles today.
Deibler was most impressive when he won the 100 butterfly in a time of 51.19, not only winning the national title and beating the qualifying time for worlds, but also setting a new German record and clocking in the world's fastest time of the year. He even beat Michael Phelps' Olympic winning time by 0.02 seconds. Deibler has been on the outside looking in for several years in the 100 fly, placing as high as fourth in the event at the 2012 Olympics. Second place went to Philip Heintz with a time of 52.29, which also should qualify him for worlds, while third went to Marius Kusch with 53.76. The women's 100 butterfly title went to Alexandra Wenk with a new German Junior record time of 59.04 ahead of second placed Theresa Michalak (59.42) and Paulina Schmiedel (59.64).
The men's 200 breaststroke was not the anticipated duel between defending champion and German record holder Marco Koch and top-seeded Christian vom Lehm after Koch got disqualified after the morning's prelim. So it was Christian vom Lehm who blitzed through the water and finished first with a time of 2:08.81, almost seven seconds ahead of second-placed Maximilan Kraus (2:15.80) and third place Eric Wald (2:15.92). Vom Lehm also stayed under the qualifying time for Worlds by almost four seconds and ranks second in the world just behind Russia's Vlacheslav Sinkevich's 2:08.61 .
Another highly anticipated race was the men's 200 freestyle with Tim Wallburger, Yannick Lebherz, Clemens Rapp and Dimitri Colupaev all eyeing the title held by Paul Biedermann. In the end, it was Clemens Rapp who secured the win with a time of 1:47.13 in front of second place (and University of Southern California standout) Dimitri Colupaev (1:47.54) and Tim Wallburger (1:47.70). All of them swam under the qualifying time set by FINA, and will look to put up a strong 800 free relay in Barcelona in Biedermann's absence. In the women's 200 freestyle, the title went to Johanna Friedrich with a time of 2:00.13, with second place going to Leonie Antonia Beck with a time of 2:00.96 and third place going to Kathrin Demler with 2:01.05.
The women's 200 breaststroke title went to Vanessa Grimberg with a time of 2:28.05. The second place went to Caroline Ruhnau with a time of 2:28.57 after she had already placed second in the 50 breaststroke two days ago. Finishing third was Julia Willers with 2:31.53.
After placing second and losing her title to Berlin local Selina Hocke on the 50 backstroke on Friday, it was the other way around today on the 100 backstroke, with Jenny Mensing winning the race ahead of Hocke with a time of 1:01.50, while Hocke finished closely behind with 1:01.52. The third place went to Lisa Graf with a time of 1:01.90, making it just as close a final as the 50 Backstroke from day two of the championship. On the men's side, the national title went to Felix Wolf who posted a time of 54.93 ahead of North Carolina's NCAA swimmer Nicolas Graesser (55.04) and Christian Diener (55.19)
The final races of the championship were the men's and women's 50 Freestyle, with Steffen Deibler going for title number two of the day and four of the championship. And Deibler did not disappoint, finishing with a time of 22.16, again under the qualifying time for the World Championships. He finished ahead of Tim-Thorben Suck (22.62) and Christoph Fildebrandt (22.66). After already winning a national title on the 50 breaststroke, Dorothea Brandt also won the title in the women's 50 freestyle with a time of 24.51 ahead of Daniela Schreiber with a time of 25.24 and Helen Scholtissek with a time of 25.63, leaving both Brandt and Schreiber under the qualifying time for worlds.
As an overall result, Germany's coach Henning Lambertz surely has a few impressive athletes to choose from for the team for the World Championships, Steffen Deibler surely being one of the most promising.