ROME, June 4. MEGAN who?
That's what some knowledgeable observers were beginning to wonder this evening after America's Amanda Beard made it two-for-two over China's 200
breaststroke world record-holder, Qi Hui, at the Meeting Seven Hills.
Beard, who only two days ago defeated Hui in the 200 breast finals at the opening Monte Carlo stop of the Mare Nostrum Series, did it again here in the Olympic Pool via a 1:09.51 100m breaststroke victory.
To top it off, her American teammate, Sydney 200 breast silver-medalist Kristy Kowal, U.S. record-holder, was second by a scant .01 (1:09.52). Qi
took the bronze (1:09.82) and Sweden's Emma Igelstrom was next (1:09.84).
"Megan" of course is America's Megan Quann, defending Olympic 100 breast gold medalist and U.S. record-holder off her winning 1:07.05, history's seventh-quickest century (third performer). Quann is not here but won this spring's U.S. Nationals title in 1:08.37 with a seasonal-best 1:08.09 in the prelims.
She's yet to score a major win following her Sydney victory, having been shut out of the medals at last year's World Championships. She'll have her hands full trying to make the U.S. Pan-Pac team this summer what with Beard and Kowal in the hunt plus Stanford's American record-holder/NCAA champ Tara Kirk, who won the 100-200 yard breaststroke races at NCAAs and set U.S.-collegiate records in both too.
Kirk is just completing her sophomore year on The Farm but she'll be ready to race come the U.S. Nationals at Ft. Lauderdale in August, the selection meet for the Pan-Pacs in Yokohama later that month.
In the men's 200 breast, Russia's Dmitri Komornikov, who won at Monte Carlo in 2:12.35 — second-fastest globally for 2002 — sliced his pr to 2:11.81 while winning again.
The time is a Russian record. The old standard was 2:12.21 by Andrei Korneev from the European Championship Trials nine years ago. Komornikov's time also edges him closer to Australia's world-leader, Jim
Piper, who swam a 2:10.88 Commonwealth record during the Trials at Brisbane in March.
Second was Sydney bronze medalist Davide Rommulo (2:15.83) while third in a pr (season and career) was 16-year-old Japanese newcomer Yuuko Sato, who dropped his best from a 2:17.2.
The home team's Emiliano Brembilla splashed to gold in the 400 free (3:49.98) with Romania's Dragos Coman (3:51.19) next, followed by Italy's Nicola Selleri (3:54.54).
America's Erik Vendt, Most Valuable Swimmer at NCAAs for his wins in the 400 IM and 1650 free — both in USC school-record time — was fifth (3:57.12). Vendt was silver medalist in the 400 IM at both Sydney and then last summer at Fukuoka, and has plans to move up a step on the podium come Athens.
The women's 200 back saw Russia's Svetlana Komarova set her second NR in as many meets as she improved upon her 2:12.10 from Monaco with a 2:11.81 this
evening. Second was Australia's Clementine Stoney — the world-leader — with a 2:14.01 and taking the bronze was France's Perth World Champion, Roxanna Maracineanu (2:14.21).
Her countryman, butterflyer Franck Esposito, who set a Euro record in the 200 six weeks ago (1:54.82, history's seceond-best performance) won easily in 1:56.99. Monte Carlo winner Denis Sylantyev (1:57.45) was next.
Australia's Jessica Abbott (4:51.21) was fastest in the 400 IM, compatriot Jodie Henry tied with Germany's Sandra Volker for first in the 50 free (25.52) and America's Hayley Peirsol won the 800 free (8:40.05).
Peirsol is sister of world 200 back record-holder Aaron and was runner-up at the U.S. Nationals in a pr 8:34.94.
The 100 fly went to Monaco 200 fly champ Otylia Jedrejczak in a seasonal pr 59.93 with Australia's Rachel Coffee next (1:00.85). Third was Italy's Sara
Jedrejczak is the Polish national record-holder with her 58.66 from the Sydney prelims, and ranks 10th on the all-time performers' list.
The meet concludes Wednesday (June 5).