European Championships: Several World Bests, Meet Records Charted on First Night, Alexander Dale Oen Blasts 100 Breast

BUDAPEST, Hungary, August 9. THE first night of the European Long Course Championships featured some unbelievable swims, including one particularly scary outing by Norway's Alexander Dale Oen in the 100 breast semis.

Finals
Men's 400 free
France's Yannick Agnel touched out Germany's Paul Biedermann in the middle distance showdown. Agnel claimed the title in 3:46.17, while Biedermann placed second overall in 3:46.30. Agnel improved his third-ranked time of 3:46.26, but did not move up the rankings, while Biedermann jumped from 15th in the world (3:48.77) to fourth right behind Agnel.

Hungary's Gergo Kis took third in 3:48.14 to move to ninth in the rankings, while Russia's Nikita Lobintsev placed fourth in 3:48.46 to tie for 11th.

France's Sebastien Rouault (3:48.84), Great Britain's Robbie Renwick (3:49.13), Germany's Clemens Rapp (3:49.27) and Italy's Cesare Scioocchetti (3:51.54) also competed in the finale.

Women's 400 IM
In an battle that has been brewing all summer, Great Britain's Hannah Miley had way too much in the tank for Hungary's Katinka Hosszu as she emerged with the distance medley crown. Miley threw down a swift time of 4:33.09 to demolish the 2002 meet record of 4:35.10 set by Yana Klochkova. She also moved atop the heap of the great IMers this year, clearing the previous top-ranked effort of 4:34.59 set by Li Xuanxu of China in April.

Hosszu, meanwhile, finished second in 4:36.43, finishing off her now third-ranked season best of 4:34.68 set at the Los Angeles Grand Prix. Hosszu's teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos placed third overall in 4:37.92 to grab 10th in the rankings.

Slovenia's Anja Klinar (4:38.13), Russia's Yana Martynova (4:42.50), Norway's Sara Nordenstam (4:43.00), Ireland's Grainne Murphy (4:43.45) and Czech Republic's Barbora Zavadova (4:45.24) placed fourth through eighth in the final.

Women's 400 free relay
Germany's Daniela Samulski, Silke Lippok, Lisa Vitting and Daniela Schreiber won the event in 3:37.72, using Schreiber's strong anchor leg of 53.97 to move from fourth to first in the final stretch. Great Britain's Amy Smith, Fran Halsall, Jessica Sylvester and Joanne Jackson placed second in 3:38.57, while Sweden's Josefin Lillhage, Therese Alshammar, Sarah Sjostrom and Gabriella Fagundez took third in 3:38.81 after Sjostrom's swift 53.77 leg put them in the lead.

The Netherlands, which had its vaunted relay decimated by illness as well as a pregnancy, fell to sixth overall in 3:39.47. Femke Heemskerk, the long standout from the foursome of Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Inge Dekker and Marleen Veldhuis, did have the strongest leg of the day with a sterling 52.93 anchor.

Men's 400 free relay
Russia's Evgeny Lagunov, Andrey Grechin, Nikita Lobintsev and Daniil Izotov turned in a strong time of 3:12.46 to not only win easily, but also break the preliminary meet record of 3:13.12 set by France today. Lagunov's relay leadoff of 48.23 is the fastest 100 free in the world this year, bettering Alain Bernard's previous best time of 48.32 set in April. Izotov, meanwhile, had the best relay-start leg of the evening with a 47.87 anchor.

France's Fabien Gilot, Yannick Agnel, William Meynard and Alain Bernard placed second in 3:13.29, while Sweden's Stefan Nystrand, Lars Frolander, Robin Andreasson and Jonas Persson finishted third in 3:15.07.

Semifinals
Women's 50 fly
Sweden's Therese Alshammar lowered the meet record in the sprint fly qualifying with a 25.50. She downed compatriot Anna-Karin Kammerling's 2002 standard of 25.57, but came up just short of her own top-ranked effort of 25.49 set on the Mare Nostrum circuit.

Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom qualified second in 25.66 to move to second in the world, while Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen placed third in 26.02 to improve her fourth-ranked season best time of 26.04. France's Melanie Henique (26.23), The Netherlands' Hinkelien Schreuder (26.36), Israel's Amit Ivri (26.51), Estonia's Triin Aljand (26.56) and Norway's Ingvild Snildal (26.68) also made the finale.

Men's 100 back
France's Camille Lacourt eclipsed his meet record in the event with a smoking fast time of 52.58. That swim beat his previous mark of 53.27 set during prelims and moved him well into the lead for the top-ranking in the world. Liam Tancock held the previous best this year with a 52.85 during the British Nationals held in April.

France's Jeremy Stravius placed second in 53.47 to move to fifth in the world, while Russia's Vitaly Borisov finished third in 54.23 to near the top 10 in the world.

Greece's Aristeidis Grigoriadis (54.24), The Netherlands' Nick Dreibergen (54.34), Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber (54.46), Russia's Stanislav Donets (54.50) and Austria's Markus Rogan (54.51) also earned spots into finals, while Tancock surprisingly missed making finals with a ninth-place 54.72.

Men's 100 breast
Norway's Alexander Dale Oen clocked a sterling time of 59.29 to crush his 2008 meet record of 59.76. Additionally, Dale Oen nearly cleared the fastest time set in a non-techsuit – Brendan Hansen's 2006 world record of 59.13. Dale Oen also became just the third man under 1:00 this year, easily surpassing the previous top times in the world of Ryo Tateishi (59.84) and Kosuke Kitajima (59.91). Dale Oen will have one more crack at bettering his time in finals.

France's Hugues Duboscq (1:00.56) and Hungary's Daniel Gyurta (1:00.56) qualified second and third for ninth and 10th in the world.

The Netherlands' Lennart Stekelenburg (1:00.71), Italy's Fabio Scozzoli (1:00.72), Ukraine's Igor Borysik (1:00.97), Lithuania's Giedrius Titenis (1:01.21) and Germany's Hendrik Feldwehr (1:01.23) qualified fourth through eighth to comprise the championship field.

Women's 200 back
Spain's Duane Da Rocha Marce (2:10.56) and Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (2:10.71) led the way in qualifying. Simmonds, however, eased through the race to save up for finals as she's already been a top-ranked 2:06.79 at British Nationals in April.

Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth (2:11.25), Poland's Alicja Tchorz (2:11.68), Germany's Jenny Mensing (2:12.23), The Netherlands' Sharon Rouwendaal (2:12.37), Czech Republic's Simona Baumrtova (2:12.37) and France's Alexandra Putra (2:12.82) earned the other spots into the finale.

Men's 50 fly
Spain's Rafael Munoz Perez, who drew a probation from the FINA Doping Panel after three failure to file/missed doping tests, paced qualifying with a 23.15. That performance far surpassed his previously top-ranked time of 23.45 set in April at the Spanish Open Nationals. He also closed to within striking distance of Milorad Cavic's meet record of 23.11 set in 2008.

France's Fred Bousquet finished second in 23.30 to move to third in the world, while Germany's Steffen Deibler qualified third in 23.56 finishing just off his fifth-ranked season best of 23.51.

Croatia's Mario Todorovic (23.62), The Netherlands' Joeri Verlinden (23.66), Serbia's Ivan Lendjer (23.81), Denmark's Jakob Andkjaer (23.83) and Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin (23.90) picked up the other transfer spots into finals.