European Short Course Championships: Day Three Finals, Two World Records Tumble

DEBRECEN, Hungary, December 15. THE third night of action at the European Short Course Championships held in Debrecen, Hungary matched the excellence of each of the first two nights of swimming.

For the third night in a row, a pair of world records fell to bring the overall tally to six. Meanwhile, a plethora of national records fell by the wayside as Europe blows off some steam before heading into intense training for Beijing.

Men's 1500 freestyle
Poland's Mateusz Sawrymowicz lopped four seconds from his national record in the distance event when he clocked a winning time of 14:24.54. That performance eclipsed his previous standard of 14:28.43 set in Helsinki in 2006.

Meanwhile, Hungary's Gergo Kis destroyed his own national standard in the event with a second-place effort of 14:29.58. Previously, he had held the record with a 14:42.08 set back in 2005 in Trieste. That's an incredible time drop!

In third place, Italy's Federico Colbertaldo made it 3-for-3 with a national-record time of 14:31.31 to erase Massimiliano Rosolino's standard of 14:36.93 set in 2000.

Click here to view event results PDF file.

Women's 400 freestyle
France's Laure Manaudou easily claimed the middle distance crown with a top time of 3:57.43, a second-and-a-half off her world record performance of 3:56.09 from last year. However, it was good enough to beat the second-place finisher by more than three seconds.

That swimmer happened to be Italy's Federica Pellegrini, who placed second in 4:00.78, less than a second off her national record time of 3:59.96. Coming in third, Hungary's Agnes Mutina stopped the clock in 4:02.35.

In other action, Spain's Erika Villaecija Garcia lowered her national record with a fourth-place 4:02.74 to down her 4:03.83 from 2006.

Click here to view event results PDF file.

Women's 100 IM
Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppaelae took a chunk out of her national record when she raced to a title-winning readout of 1:00.23. Her previous best had been a 1:00.45 set in Helsinki in 2006.

Meanwhile, Poland's Aleksandra Urbanczyk grabbed second-place honors with a 1:00.53, also a national record as she lowered her previous record of 1:00.75 clocked in 2004.

France's Sophie De Ronchi placed third with a time of 1:00.66, just off her national standard of 1:00.34 from the French National Championships last week.

Click here to view event results PDF file.

Men's 200 butterfly
After setting a pair of world records in the first two days of competition, Hungarian star Laszlo Cseh didn't have enough left in the tank to challenge Franck Esposito's world record of 1:50.73 set in 2002.

Cseh did, however, wind up crushing his national record of 1:53.08 set in 2006 with a winning performance of 1:51.55.

"My plan was to start very fast and try to keep the distance," Cseh said. "The last fifty was very close, but I made it. I was able to stay ahead. I am very happy that I could beat the world champion from Poland. I am now done at this meet, and I am very satisfied with my three gold medals. Now, I will have some time off to finish my exams this semester, and to celebrate Christmas with my family. After that, I will start my final preparation for the Olympics in January. I will have to be in my best form ever in order to win."

Cseh had nearly all he could handle with Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski looking to track the Hungarian down in the final 25 meters, but Korzeniowski came up short with a second-place performance of 1:51.61.

Greece's Ioannis Drymonakis rounded out the podium with a third-place time of 1:54.28.

Click here to view event results PDF file.

Men's 100 freestyle
France's Alain Bernard surfaced from a star-studded championship heat victorious as he lowered his French national record with a winning time of 46.39. He previously set the record last week at the French National Championships with a time of 46.44.

Sweden's Stefan Nystrand, who owns the world record with a 45.83 at the Berlin World Cup stop, settled for silver with a 46.73.

Italy's Filippo Magnini missed out on lowering his national standard of 46.52 when he stopped the clock in 46.90 to take third place.

In other action, Ukraine's Yuriy Yegoshin cut his national record down from a 47.87 in 2005 with a fourth-place effort of 47.65.

Click here to view event results PDF file.

Women's 50 backstroke
The women's 50 backstroke world records are an endangered species this year. First, Leila Vaziri of the United States took down the long course standard during the World Championships in Melbourne. Then, China's Yang Li one upped her at the World Military Games with the standing 28.09.

Today, Croatian Sanja Jovanovic crushed the previous short course record of China's Li Hui (26.83). The Croatian, who had held her national record with a 26.91 from last month, dropped .33 seconds from the mark with a time of 26.50.

Meanwhile, Germany's Janine Pietsch took second in 27.11, while Austria's Fabienne Nadarajah placed third in 27.50, just inside her national record of 27.51.

Click here to view event results PDF file.

Men's 50 breaststroke
World record holder Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine snagged the European title with a quick time of 26.75, not at the level of his global standard of 26.17 but still quick enough to claim the crown.

Norway's Aleksander Hetland missed out on lowering his own national record of 26.93 set during preliminary action when he clocked a second-place time of 26.95.

Meanwhile, Italian record holder Alessandro Terrin settled for bronze with a time of 27.09, also off his standard of 26.60.

Click here to view event results PDF file.

Women's 200 medley relay
Although the record is not recognized by FINA, the German foursome of Janine Pietsch (27.19), Janne Schaefer (29.64), Annika Mehlhorn (26.52) and Britta Steffen (23.32) surpassed the women's 200 medley relay world record today. The German quartet clocked a time of 1:46.67 to clear the previous record of 1:47.44 set by the Netherlands in Trieste in 2005.

Meanwhile, Sweden's team of Magdalena Kuras, Hanna Westrin, Anna-Karin Kammerling and Josefin Lillhage placed second in 1:48.07, while France's squad of Laure Manaudou (27.13), Anne Sophie Le Paranthoen, Alena Popchanka and Malia Metella finished third in 1:48.39.

Click here to view event results PDF file.

Top Semifinal Performances
Slovenia's Peter Mankoc clocked the fastest time of the men's 100 IM with a 53.45, while Germany's Thomas Rupprath took second in 53.77. The duo will take aim at the world record of Ryk Neethling (51.52) during finals with Rupprath's European standard of 52.58 as a consolation prize.

Russian teenager Yuliya Efimova will have the European record in her sites after posting a strong 1:05.56 during semis of the women's 100 breast. Emma Igelstrom holds the continental record with a 1:05.11. She might be swimming by herself as Austria's Mirna Jukic took second in 1:06.46.

The men's 100 backstroke final should provide some exciting swims as five swimmers posted sub-52 times in semis. Germany's Helge Meeuw led qualifying with a 51.26, while Austria's Markus Rogan took second in 51.52 and Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber placed third in a Spanish record time of 51.53. Russia's Stanislav Donets also took fourth in 51.56, while Iceland's Orn Anarson of took fifth in 51.84.

In the women's 100 fly, the Netherlands' Inge Dekker clocked the lone sub-57 time of semis with a 56.99. During finals, she will definitely take a run at Inge de Bruijn's national record of 56.61.

Special thanks to Norbert Agh for contributing to this report.