PHOENIX, Arizona, May 23. TODAY was the fastest day at the European championships, with a few swimmers showing that they could be serious medal contenders in London in two months.
Laszlo Cseh had a great battle in the 200 IM final with Great Britain's James Goddard, one of many swimmers who could be battling him for the bronze medal in London. Cseh's time of 1:56.66 almost bumped Michael Phelps off the top of the world rankings, but interestingly is a second faster than he swam at last summer's world championships to place third. Goddard was fast, too. His 1:57.84 is faster than he went at the British Olympic Trials a couple of months ago and right on the time he went at worlds last year. Markus Rogan of Austria, who could also be in that 200 IM medal chase, was third with a 1:59.39. Gal Nevo, who trains at Georgia Tech in the United States, earned his Olympic qualification in the event with a 1:59.74 for fourth place.
Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy made a big statement today in the men's mile with a 14:48.92. If our research is correct, he dropped 14 seconds off his personal best time. He was less than two seconds off Yuri Prilukov's European record pace through 1200 meters but couldn't match Prilukov's blistering pace at the end, getting within three seconds of the record. The time is third fastest in the world, just behind Tae Hwan Park's 14:47 and well behind Sun Yang's 14:42.
Paul Biedermann won the 200 free in 1:46.27, which is a little faster than he went at the German nationals a couple of weeks ago and moves him up a spot in the world rankings, from seventh to sixth.
The Gyurta brothers from Hungary did well today. Gergely won bronze in the 1500 free with a 15:04.38, a personal best time. Older brother Daniel was on his European record pace in the 200 breast semifinals for 150 meters before shutting it down the last 50 meters, posting a 2:10.06.
Sarah Poewe made it official that she will be participating in her fourth Olympic team today with a win in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.70. Poewe swam in the 2000 Olympics for South Africa, then changed nationalities and has competed for Germany ever since.
We've got a full recap of today's swimming from Hungary on swimmingworld.com.
Zhang Lin has been competing at the Chinese Youth Championships in a last-ditch effort to qualify for China's Olympic team, but he has seen lackluster results. After falling about a second short of the A cut in the 200 free, Zhang posted a 3:56.32 in the 400 free, more than 15 seconds off his best time and nowhere near the 3:48.92 he would need to go to London. He could still make the team if he beats 48.82 in the 100 free, but he has never swum close to that mark.
In yesterday's show, we reported that Jonty Skinner might be joining Dennis Pursley at Alabama next year, and the Crimson Tide athletic department confirmed the hiring on Tuesday. Skinner once swam at Alabama and served as head coach for a year before working for USA Swimming in various capacities. This will be his first stint on deck since coaching the Resident Team in Colorado Springs until 2000.
David Rieder contributed to today's Streamlined News.