CANET, France, June 9. IN the absence of Michael Phelps, who withdrew from the Mare Nostrum Series earlier in the week, Peter Vanderkaay carried the banner for Club Wolverine at the Canet (France) stop of the European tour. Contesting the 400-meter freestyle, Vanderkaay walked away with a meet record, clocking 3:48.72 for a convincing win over Russia's Yury Prilukov.
Vanderkaay jumped out to a two-plus second lead by the 200-meter mark and held it together over the last four laps to better Prilukov, who finished in 3:50.33. France's Nicolas Rostoucher picked up the bronze medal in 3:52.76 and Vanderkaay's Club Wolverine teammate, Eric Vendt, was the fourth-place finisher in 3:53.30.
Japan's Kosuke Kitajima, who won gold in the 200 breaststroke at the recent World Championships, was the victor in the four-lap breast discipline with a mark of 2:12.98. Russia's Grigory Falko finished behind Kitajima in 2:14.42. Kitajima's win at Worlds in the 200 breast, it should be noted, arrived with world-record holder Brendan Hansen out of the equation. After defeating Kitajima in the 100 breast in Melbourne, Hansen was sidelined by sickness.
Kitajima also placed second in the 50 breast when his effort of 28.27 was toppled by the Ukraine's Valeriy Dymo (28.08). For the women, American Tara Kirk clocked 31.39 for the win and was followed in second place by Aussie Tarnee White (31.52). In the 200 breast, Kirk was sixth (2:31.89), well of the winning pace of 2:28.38, turned in by Sally Foster (Australia).
Another Japanese standout, Reiko Nakamura set a meet record in the 100 backstroke when she covered the distance in 1:01.49, slightly quicker than the 1:01.63 of Australian Sophie Edington. On the male side, Tomomi Morita (Japan) prevailed in the 100 back in 55.36, a time that handed him a decision of Russia's Arkady Vyatchanin (55.44).
The Japanese run of success continued in the men's 200 butterfly, where Ryuichi Shibata and Takeshi Matsuda posted a one-two finish. Shibata touched the wall in 1:56.83 with Matsuda finishing in 1:57.59. The bronze went to Nikolay Skvortsov of Russia in 1:57.72. In the female version of the event, Australia's Felicity Galvez edged American Kaitlin Sandeno, 2:08.75 to 2:08.96. The U.S. also took bronze, thanks to Kim Vandenberg going 2:10.57.
Ratcheting up his speed to an impressive level, France's Alain Bernard was the decisive victor in the 100 freestyle, as he went a meet-record mark of 48.56. That time easily dispatched of Sweden's Stefan Nystrand (49.30). He was complemented as a winner in the event by Finland's Hanna Maria Seppala (54.97), who bettered Holland's Inge Dekker (55.22) and American Natalie Coughlin (54.36). In the consolation final, the Netherlands' Marleen Veldhuis went 54.90, for the top overall time. Other winners included Finland's Matti Rajakyla in the men's 50 fly (meet record – 24.10) and Dekker in the women's 50 fly with a meet standard of 26.20.