MALMO, SWEDEN, December 1. THE next great European male sprint king may be a young Swedish athlete who made quite a name for himself at the Swedish Junior Short Course Championships here this weekend, reports SwimInfo correspondent, Lennart la Fleur.
The young man's name is Jonas Tilly, 18, who swims for a team in Trelleborg.
In the finals of the 100 free he raced to a Swedish junior record 49.14, then came back to lead off his club's 400 freestyle relay in an even faster and very impressive 48.74!
That swim ranks him No. 1 currently among European sprinters, though it is well off Jason Lezak's #1 global time of 47.34 from the World Cup meet in New York
Tilly also won the 50 free in 22.60 and ranks 16th globally.
The 100 free race was a close battle between Tilly and Magnus Kjellberg, who finished a tick behind in 49.15. Third was Malmo's own Jonas Persson (49.44) while two other swimmers — Petter Stymne (49.50) and Marcus Piehl (49.61) also touched in sub 50.0 clockings. Sweden looks to have some great 4×100 free relay squads for the forseeable future.
Tilly, Persson and Piehl will represent Sweden at next weekend's European Short course Championships in Raisa, Germany, la Fleur — father of current Arizona State swimmer Eric — reports.
However, he notes that defending World and Olympic 100 fly champ Lars Frolander (also the current U.S. Open record-holder in the 100 yard butterfly from his days as a member of Coach Eddie Sinnot's Southern Methodist University squad a few years ago); and current University of Minnesota Big 10 breaststroke champ Martin Gustafsson will not be competing at the ECs.
Frolander is focusing his efforts on preparation for next summer's World Championships in Barcelona. There he hopes to dethrone current Euro champ/record-holder Thomas Rupprath of Germany, whose 51.88 100 fly last summer broke the former's cotinental standard of 52.00 from his gold medal swim in Sydney — and, along with Michael Phelps' identical American record — is history's second-best century.
The record is 51.81 by Australia's Klim, who did that swim at a special time trial in December of '99. Klim is recovering from back surgery but is hopeful of being ready for the USA-Australia "Dual in the Pool" at Indianapolis the second Sunday of next April.
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Among the better swims at the Swedish junior championsships were Jens Peterssen's junior 100 back record (54.18); Joakim Nilsson's 2:15.10 200 breast; a 55.34 100 individaul medley by Erik Dorch; Johan Clar's 3:52.11 to win the 400 free; and Hanna Eriksson's 1:02.11 100 IM.
The Swedish team for the ECs will include Olympic 50-100 silver sprint medalist Therese Alshammar who, with the absence of her Sydney "tormenter" Inge de Bruijn, will be among the favorites in the sprints plus the 50-100 backstrokes; Euro breast champ Emma
Igelstrom; 50 fly WR-holder Anna-Karin Kammerling;
breaststroker Patrik Isaksson; sprinters Stefan Nystrand and Joakim Dahl plus current SMU swimmer Lotta Wanberg.
Several Swedish athletes currently American colleges, including la Fleur, Cal's Mattias Ohlin and Sara Nordenstam, will not cross the pond for the ECs but will try and make the plane to Barcelona come July.