Italy's Brembilla Upset in the 1500 as Med Games Close; Spain Wins Team Title -- September 8, 2001
TUNIS, TUNISIA, Sept. 7. THe final day of competition here at the 15th Mediterranean Games saw a stunning upset in the men's 1500 free, as five more records tumbled.
Greece's Spyridon Giannotis was the victor in the mile, thwarting Italy's Emiliano Brembilla's bid for a third gold to go along with his No. 1s in the 200-400 free.
The Greek distance ace clocked a pr-NR 15:26.98 for the win, while Brembilla touched in 15:31.67 for the silver and Spain's Javier Nunez took the bronze
In his defense, it should be noted that Brembilla has gotten away from swimming the mile of late and is focusing his efforts on the 200-400-800 frees. His best mile is a 14:58.65 that won the gold at the 1997 European Championships, a time that ranks him ninth on the all-time performers'list.
Giannotis had a former pr-NR of 15:29+ from last year's Olympics.
The two men's record-setters of the evening were Algeria's Salim Iles, who raced to his sescond gold of the meet with a 22.86 Games mark in the 50 free; and Italy's Luis Laera, a 30-year-old Olympian who went a pr 56.00 to win the 100 back.
Iles' pr-NR is 22.59 from the French World Championship Trials last May while Laera's old 100 back pr was a 56.56 from last year's European
Slovenia's Peter Mankoc won his first and his country's second gold with a 2:03.62 200 IM, taking the measure of Italy's Simone Ciancarini (pr 2:03.91)
and Greece's Ioannis Kokkodis (2:04.25).
The final men's gold went to Italy, which set a meet record en route to the 400 free relay title with its 3:21.25-3:21.65 edging of France. Bronze went to Croatia (3:23.00).
In women's competition, Nina Zhivanevskaya set a Games record with her 2:12.95 200 back title, giving her four golds -- both backstrokes and the 400 medley-free relays -- where she led off the former in the fastest time of the Games (1:01.98) and the 400 free relay, where she led off in 57.18.
Her winning 200 back time is also her seasonal best and ranks her 13th globally. On the all-time performers' list the Spanish star ranks ninth in
the 100 (1:00.98) and eighth in the 200 (2:09.53).
Spain's Paula Carballido also got into the record books with her Games standard in the 200 IM (pr 2:17.80).
The final overall medal totals show Spain with 11 golds, four silvers and six bronzes. Italy is next with eight golds plus 10 silver and 10 bronzes.
Greece, by virtue of its six silvers and six bronzes, edges France for third. The French also had three golds but only five silvers and a pair of bronzes.
As for the battle of the sexes, Spain's women were dominant with 11 golds and Italy's men scored six of their own. Only three other countries (Italy with two and Slovenia and Greece one each) won golds on the distaff side.
Among the men France won three; Algeria, Croatia and Greece two each and Slovenia one.
Olympic and World Champion 200 IM champ Massi Rosolino was expected to compete but was a no show.
-- Bill Bell