By Bill Bell
CHALON-SUR-SAONE, FRANCE, April 19. A pair of French men's records fell on Day 5 of the French Championships/European Championship Trials here this
evening. Only one of those was in the finals.
That was the 1500 free, where 21-year-old Nicolas Rostoucher trimmed not quite three seconds off his old NR of 15:13.26 from Sydney with a 15:10.66. Second was Sylvain Cross (15:21.96). It's early in the year but the winner's time ranks him second globally behind Australian world record-holder Grant Hackett's 14:50+ from last monmth's Commonwealth/Pan-Pac Trials in Brisbane.
The other standard lowered was the 200 back, where 23-year-old Simon Dufour topped his old record of 1:59.79 from this same meet in Y2K with a 1:59.44 in the semis — third-fastest globally.
The No. 1 time of course belongs to America's Aaron Peirsol, who broke fellow Yank Lenny Krayzelburg's world-record (1:55.87 from the 1999 Pan-Pacs in the Sydney Olympic Pool) with his 1:55.15 from the U.S. Nationals in Minneapolis a month ago. Second is Australia's Ray Hass, who won the Commonwealth Games Trials in a pr 1:58.59.
In the other semi-final 100 back Roger Pierre won in 2:02.82.
Although she didn't break a record, 200 free national record-holder Solenne Figues went a world-leading 1:59.80 in the semis, just off her pr 1:59.67 from Sydney. The other semi went to Belarus' Elena Popchenko, 100 free winner in an NR 54.95, who swam a pr 2:00.09. She's her country's NR-holder in the 50 back-flys too.
The Belarus 200 free records belongs to Natalya Baranovskaya with her 1:59.28 from the Sydney finals. Second in the same semi as Popchenko waw Romania's Camilia Potec (2:00.41). Potec was '99 Euro 200 free champ with her NR 1:58.79.
The continental record is 1:56.78 by Germany's Franziska van Almsick from the 1994 World Championships in Rome, which also happens to be to be the world record too.
The other woman's final was the 100 back, won by 200 champ Roxanna Maracineanu with her 1:02.26, well off her NR 1:01.10 from the Olympic finals.
In the other men's final, 100 free runner-up Romain Barnier won with a 1:50.62, well off his pr 1:49.39 from '00.
In the 100 fly, Franck Esposito — who went history's second-fastest 200 (1:54.62) last evening — won one semifinal in 53.59. The other semi went to Germany's Thomas Rupprath (53.82). The 25-year-old German's pr-NR is 52.54 from the prelims of last year's World Championshiophip Trials while Esposito's pr-NR is 52.52. In Saturday's finals, both will be after former Southern Methodist University's NCAA champ Lars Froalnder's Euro Record of 52.00 from the Olympics.