European Championships: Laure Manaudou Lowers Own European Record in 100 Back

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands, March 20. DURING the third night of swimming at the European Championships held in Eindhoven, France's Laure Manaudou scorched the 100-meter back with a European record during semifinals.

Manaudou dropped a time of 59.50 for the top seed, much to the amazement of the crowd. That performance smashed her previous continental standard of 59.87 set at the 2007 World Championships.

Additionally, it is the fifth-fastest time in the history of the event with Natalie Coughlin owning the world record in 59.21 as well as a 59.44, while Kirsty Coventry holds a 59.42 and 59.47.

The swim also moved Manaudou back into third all time ahead of Hayley McGregory's recent sterling time of 59.81.

In other action, Gergo Kis of Hungary clocked a meet-record time of 7:51.94 to win the men's 800 free. He eclipsed the 7:57.33 he'd set in preliminary action, which had been his national record in the event. Italy's Samuel Pizzetti finished second in 7:54.09, while Romania's Dragos Coman snared bronze in 7:54.37 – a new national record.

Mirna Jukic of Austria walked away with the women's 100 breast title when she hit the wall in 1:08.18, which just missed her national record of 1:07.98 set in earlier action. Russia's Alena Alekseeva finished second in 1:08.91, while Sweden's Joline Hoestman touched out Belgium's Elise Matthysen, 1:08.94 to 1:08.95, for third.

In the men's 200 free, Paul Biedermann finally caught up to the illustrious Michael Gross for the German national record in the event. Biedermann clocked a time of 1:46.59 to eclipse Gross' standard of 1:47.44 set way back during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. France's Amaury Leveaux finished second in 1:46.99, while Italy's Massi Rosolino took third in 1:47.33. Leveaux' time surpassed his own national record of 1:47.89 set in earlier action.

After wowing the crowd during semis with the big time of 1:57.90 for the meet record, Hungary's Laszlo Cseh settled for the victory with another swift effort of 1:58.02 in the men's 200 IM. That crushed the field led by Austria's Dinko Jukic, who touched second in 1:59.65. Lithuania's Vytautas Janusaitis placed third in 2:00.17.

In another final, Marleen Veldhuis punched the pad in 53.77 to win the women's 100 free for host Netherlands. Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala took second in 54.04, while Netherlands' Inge Dekker finished third in 54.12.

In other semifinal action, Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia claimed the top seed in the women's 200 IM with a 2:11.67, while Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov topped the men's 200 fly qualifying with a 1:55.94. Additionally, Israel's Guy Barnea paced the men's 50 back in 25.43, while France's Hugues Duboscq clocked a meet-record time of 2:09.85 in the men's 200 breast.

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