VALENCIA, Dec. 16. An unprecedented three-way tie for first, two more wins for the powerful Swedish team, and a new European mark by Italy's Massi Rosolino, suspected of using human growth hormone, highlighted the third day of competition at the 2000 European Short Course Championships in Valencia, Spain.
Three men tied for gold in the 50m breaststroke, an unprecedented triple dead-heat. World record-holder at 26.70 and defending champion Mark Warnecke of Germany, double Olympic gold medalist Domenico Fioravanti of Italy and Daniel Malek of the Czech Republic all hit the wall in the 50m breaststroke final in 27.11 seconds.
Meanwhile the powerful Swede Viking machine kept on rolling as 19 year-old Stefan Nystrand won his second gold medal and brought Sweden its seventh title of the with ain impressive victory in the 100 m freestyle.
The Swede, who made short shrift of Britain's Mark Foster on Day one, took the lead at the start and turned in 22.49 at the 50–21-hunddredths of a second under world record pace. Though he couldn't sustain the pace, he was never seriously challenged and finished in 47.56 seconds, ahead of Russia's Denis Pimankov (47.69) and Switzerland's Karel Novy (47.87).
The Swedes picked up their eighth gold medal–and set a world best short course time in the process–
winning the 4 x 50m medley relay. The team of Therese Alshammar, Emma Igelstrom, Anna-Karin Kammerling and Johanna Sjoberg clocked 1:48.31, breaking the mark of 1:49.47 set by the same quartet almost precisely one year ago.
In the men's 1,500 meters, Italy's Massimiliano Rosolino swam to his third gold medal of these championships, this time erasing the 18-year European record of the great Vladimir Salnikov when he ran away with the metric mile to crush his opposition. Spain's Frederik Hviid was some 17 seconds behind Rosolino.
The Italian clocked 14:36.93, to wipe Salnikov's 14:37.60 from 1982 from the record book. The time still is more than four seconds slower than the American record, set in March by Erik Vendt, 17 seconds from the world mark (14:19.55), held by Australia's Grant Hackett.
Rosolino, 22, who won gold, silver and bronze in Sydney, is one of five Italian Olympic gold medalists (the only swimmer)–and one of 61 Italian Olympians–who tested with astronomically high human growth hormone levels in out-of-competition testing done last June. The test results currently are being investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Salnikov, who watched the race, presented the gold medal to Rosolino. Afterward, he commented: "Records should not last 18 years. This could usher in a new era."
A Russian who could usher in anew era is 15 year-old Irina Ufimtseva, who scored a major victory in the women's 400 meters. Seizing the lead at the start, Ufimtseva just continued to lengthen it, winning by almost three seconds ahead of her closest pursuer in
4:06.71. Jana Pechanova of the Czech Republic was second (4:09.52) while Rebecca Cooke of Britain finished third (4:10.80).
The men's 200 fly saw Germany's Thomas Rupprath, who yesterday pulled off a major upset win over Olympic champion Lars Frolander in the 100 fly, follow up with another.
Rupprath carved out an enormous lead right from the start. He was almost a full second ahead of the filed at the 50, and was well inside world record pace at the halfway mark. It was too fast, and the German paid a heavy toll in the back half off his race. Still, he was so far ahead through the 100 that he was able to hang on and win in 1:53.28. Britain's James Hickman, the short course WR-holder and two-time defending European champ, finished fourth. Russia's Anatoli Poliakov took the silver in 1:54.01 while Britain's Stephen Parry won the bronze (1:54.37).
The medal count at the end of Day Three:
G S B Total
Sweden 8 2 1 11
Italy 6 0 0 6
Germany 5 3 2 10
Czech Republic 3 2 2 7
Russia 1 3 1 5
Ukraine 1 1 2 4
Croatia 1 1 1 3
Iceland 1 1 0 2
Switzerland 1 0 1 2
Slovakia 1 0 1 2
Britain 0 5 6 11
Spain 0 3 1 4
Poland 0 2 0 2
Denmark 0 2 0 2
Norway 0 0 2 2
Slovenia 0 0 2 2
Austria 0 0 1 1
Israel 0 0 1 1
Lithuania 0 0 1 1