BANGKOK, Thailand, August 9. SWIMMERS representing higher institutions from across the globe opened the 24th edition of the World University Games held in Bangkok, Thailand this weekend with some fast times.
Men's 200 butterfly
Japan's Ryusuke Sakata came from behind to score the first gold medal of the meet with a time of 1:55.92, which also stands as a Universiade record. Sakata's time vaulted him from 19th best in the world this year with a previous time of 1:57.31 to 10th, just behind ninth-place Davis Tarwater (1:56.03).
China's Chen Yin went out fast alongside New Zealand's Moss Burmester, 55.10 to 55.08, at the 100-meter mark, but neither man could hold onto the pace. Chen touched second in 1:56.59, while Burmester faded to fifth in 1:58.13. The United States' Daniel Madwed rounded out the podium with a bronze-medal 1:57.16.
Women's 50 breaststroke
Germany's Janne Schaefer ripped off the fourth-fastest time in the world this year with a 30.99 to win the women's 50 breast walking away. The only three times faster this year came from Jessica Hardy (30.63), Leisel Jones (30.70) and Tara Kirk (30.83). Previously, Schaefer stood fifth in the standings with a 31.15.
Australia's Sarah Katsoulis pocketed silver in 31.51, which improved upon her 31.96 from this January. That pushed her to 10th in the world this year behind ninth-place Yulia Efimova's 31.45.
Japan's Nanaka Tamura finished third in 31.78 for the bronze medal, while the United States' Jessica Embick (31.93) and Eleanor Weberg (32.09) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
Men's 200 breaststroke
Russia's Grigory Falko stopped the clock in 2:12.89 to win the gold medal in the men's 200 breast. That time is less than a second off his previous best time this year of 2:12.05 set at the Paris Open last week.
The United States' Ryan Hurley won a battle for silver with a time of 2:13.24, while Kazakhstan's Vlad Polyakov, who trains in the United States, placed third in 2:13.53.
Women's 800 freestyle
Switzerland's Flavia Rigamonti clocked the fourth-best time in the women's 800 freestyle this year with a Universiade-record effort of 8:25.59. That places her behind only Kate Ziegler (8:18.52), Laure Manaudou (8:18.80) and Katie Hoff (8:22.80) in the event.
Italy's Federica Pellegrini touched in a distant second with a time of 8:34.97, which was well off her season-best time of 8:29.01 set at the Italian National Championships in July.
Meanwhile, the United States' Kelsey Ditto finished third in 8:35.30 to win the bronze medal. Her compatriot Kimberly Larson wrapped up eighth place in 8:44.06.
Men's 200 backstroke
Austria's Markus Rogan cruised en route to a gold medal in the men's 200 back with a time of 1:56.66. Even though the time did not improve Rogan's season best of 1:55.74 set at the Paris Open, which stands as the fourth-best time of the world this year, it still is a world-class time.
Japan's Takashi Nakano wrapped up silver in 1:58.14, which cut nearly a second off his season-best time of 1:59.12 to move into ninth in the world this year. Meanwhile, the United States' Nicholas Thoman gave Nakano almost all he could handle with a third-place 1:58.61, which puts him among the top 15 in the world.
Women's 400 freestyle relay
The United States' foursome of Emily Silver, Kara Denby, Courtney Cashion and Andrea Hupman blasted the Games record with a time of 3:40.85, while China's team of Xu Yanwei, Chen Yanyan, Zhu Yingwen and Pang Jiaying took silver in 3:41.38. Germany's squad of Britta Steffen, Sonja Schober, Annika Lurz and Katharina Schiller comprised the rest of the top three in 3:42.68.