European Short Course Championships: Jeanette Ottesen Has Impressive Day

SZCZECIN, Poland, December 9. THE second day of competition at the European Short Course Championship saw more swimmers post world-ranked times.

Women's 800 freestyle
Lotte Friis, the reigning long course world silver medalist in this event, had no peer in the short course event, at least on the European stage, winning by almost five seconds with an 8:07.53. The time is far and away the fastest in the world in 2011, besting the 8:14.66 posted by France's Coralie Balmy just last week.

Spain's double punch of Erika Villaecija Garcia and Melanie Costa Schmid took silver and bronze, with Vallaecija also dipping under the previous top world time with an 8:12.23. Costa Schmid now owns the fourth-fastest time of the year with an 8:16.28.

Ireland's Grainne Murphy (8:19.39), Great Britain's Eleanor Faulkner (8:20.91), Germany's Isabelle Haerle (8:25.14), Italy's Martina Caramignoli (8:26.54), Slovenia's Tjasa Oder (8:27.97), Russia's Elena Sokolova (8:28.11), and Italy's Martina De Memme (8:28.81) also competed in the final.

Men's 400 individual medley
Hungary dominated the race, with a 1-2 finish coming from Laszlo Cseh and David Verraszto. Cseh held off a challenge from Verraszto in the breaststroke to win in 4:01.68, the second-fastest time of the year. It's just a shade behind Michael Phelps' world-leading 4:01.49. Verraszto was second in 4:03.83, the seventh fastest of 2011. Gal Nevo made a hard charge on the freestyle leg, passing Austria's Markus Rogan and getting the bronze medal with a 4:04.49. Rogan settled for fourth with a 4:05.81.

Also competing in the final were Italy's Federico Turrini (4:07.17), Austria's Dinko Jukic (4:07.22), Joe Roebuck of Great Britain (4:07.79), Portugal's Diogo Carvalho (4:08.49), Poland's Lukasz Wojt (4:08.51) and Denmark's Chris Christensen (4:11.74).

Women's 200 breaststroke
Rikke Moeller Pedersen led the race from the start, winning in 2:19.55. She was just off the fastest time of 2011, a 2:19.05 by Japan's Kanako Watanabe from November. Russia's Anstasia Chaun fought hard in the final 50 meters, posting a 35.73 to place second in 2:20.84, and move up the world rankings from 10th to ninth. The bronze medal was awarded to Fanny Lecluyse of Belgium with a time of 2:21.14.

Fourth through 10th place went to Ukraine's Ganna Dzerkal (2:22.54), Great Britain's Molly Renshaw (2:22.68), Spain's Marina Garcia Urzainqui (2:22.68), Sweden's Joline Hoestman (2:23.04), Vera Kalashnikova of Russia (2:23.75), France's Coralie Dobral (2:23.79) and Great Britain's Stacey Tadd (2:24.75).

Men's 100 breaststroke
The top five finishers were separated by five tenths of a second, with long course world champion Alexander Dale Oen of Norway overcoming early leader Damir Dugonjic of Slovenia in the final 10 meters. Dale Oen's time of 57.05 is the fastest time in the world, giving the Swimming World Magazine European Male Swimmer of the Year the fastest times in the 100 breast in both short course and long course meters for 2011. Dugonjic, the reigning NCAA champion in this event and collegiate record holder, held on for second with a 57.29. Italy's Fabio Scozzoli, the long course runner-up in this event, settled for bronze today with a 57.30. Martti Aljand of Estonia, Dugonjic's training partner at UC-Berkeley, took fourth in 57.51 and Hungary's Daniel Guyurta, the reigning world champion in the 200 breast, was fifth in 57.56.

Rounding out the championship final field were Russia's Stanislav Lakhtyukhov (58.21) and Vyacheslav Sinkevich (58.71), Great Britain's Michael Jamieson (58.91), Gabor Financsek of Hungary (59.07) and Germany's Marco Koch (59.83).

Women's 100 freestyle
Germany's Britta Steffen, looking to defend her Olympic sprint freestyle titles next year, didn't win the 2011 European short course title easily. Turning third at 50 meters, she found herself in a chase to the finish with Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen, who has a tough schedule today, having swum the 50 butterfly semifinal earlier in the session. Steffen got to the wall first in 51.94, improving on her world-leading time of 52.00 from the German nationals a few weeks ago. Ottesen's time of 52.05 puts her second in the world ahead of Missy Franklin's 52.09 from the Berlin World Cup meet in November. Amy Smith of Great Britain led after 50 meters and touched third at the finish with a time of 52.77, just a little off her 52.67 swum in prelims this morning.

Fourth through 10th went to Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (52.86), Denmark's Pernille Blume (53.20), Russia's Margarita Nesterova (53.34), Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (53.77), Germany's Daniela Schreiber (53.82), Great Britain's Rebecca Turner (53.88) and Erika Ferraioli of Italy (54.05).

Women's 100 backstroke
Ukraine's Daryna Zevina won the 100 backstroke European title on the strength of a strong third 25 meters, taking over the lead from Great Britain's Georgia Davies and holding off Russia's Anastasia Zueva with a time of 56.96, the fourth-fastest time in the world this year. Zueva touched second with a 57.12 and Mie Nielsen of Denmark was third in 57.57.

Also swimming in the final were Spain's Duane Da Rocha (57.70), Davies (57.80), Czech Republic's Simona Baumrtova (58.15), Italy's Arianna Barbieri (59.10), Poland's Alicja Tchorz (59.28), Bulgaria's Ekaterina Avramova (59.51) and Russia's Ksenia Moskvina (59.80).

Men's 100 butterfly
Konrad Czerniak, fueled by a partisan crowd and yesterday's victory in the 50 freestyle, won his second title of the meet with a 49.62, which gives him the fastest time in the world and the first under 50 seconds in 2011. He held off short course world record holder Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia, who settled for silver in 49.88, now the second-fastest time in the world. Belgium's Francois Heersbrandt got to the wall for bronze in a tight battle for that medal with a 50.44, ahead of Joeri Verlinden of the Netherlands (50.57), Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov (50.61), Slovenia's Peter Makoc (50.72) and France's Amaury Leveaux (50.79).

Lars Froelander of Sweden (51.17), Croatia's Mario Todorovic (51.79) and Slovenia's Robert Zbogar (52.34) also swam in the finale.

Women's 50 butterfly
After posting a 25.75 in the semifinals earlier in the session, and earning silver in the 100 freestyle final, Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen got her first gold of the meet with a winning time of 24.92, which eclipsed the meet record of 25.00 and puts her at the top of the world rankings ahead of Therese Alshammar's 25.00 from the Singapore stop of the World Cup.

Silver went to Estonia's Triin Aljand with a 25.51 and bronze was awarded to Belarus' Sviatlana Khakhlova with a time of 25.96. Also swimming in the final were Israel's Amit Ivri (26.11), France's Diane Bui Duyet (26.13), Italy's Ilaria Bianchi (26.15), Russia's Irina Bespalova (26.21), Poland's Anna Dowgiert (26.39), Austria's Fabienne Nadarajah (26.49) and Italy's Elena di Liddo (26.81).

Men's 50 backstroke
With world and European champion Stanislav Donets missing the meet to recover from shoulder surgery, the race for this event was wide open. Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer took advantage of it and won in 23.43, the second-fastest time in the world behind China's Sun Xiaolei's 23.34. Flori Lang of Switzerland was second in 23.57, while Belarus' Pavel Sankovich took third with a 23.64.

Fourth through 10th went to Germany's Christian Diener (23.75), Russia's Vitaly Borisov (23.81), Russia's Sergey Makov (23.95), Israel's Alon Mandel (23.96), Germany's Stefan Herbst (23.99), Spain's Miguel Rando Galvez (24.00) and Italy's Marco di Tora (24.07).

Women's 200 freestyle relay
Germany won the day's relay race in 1:37.29, using Britta Steffen, Dorothea Brandt, Paulina Schmiedel and Daniela Schreiber. Denmark took second in 1:37.63, while the Italians took bronze with a 1:38.12. The Netherlands (1:38.76), Sweden (1:38.98), Russia (1:39.43), Finland (1:39.72), Norway (1:39.84), Great Britain (1:40.14) and the Czech Republic (1:41.20) rounded out the field.

Men's 100 freestyle semifinal
Luca Dotto of Italy led swimmers through the semifinal round, posting a 46.95 for the top seed in tomorrow's final. The time puts him third in the world behind Alain Bernard (46.59) and James Magnussen (46.82). Hungary's Krisztian Takacs (47.59) and Russia's Evgeny Lagunov (47.63) placed second and third.

Also earning a spot in the championship final were Hungary's Dominik Kozma (47.82), Great Britain's Adam Brown (47.87), Italy's Andrea Rolla (47.97), Turkey's Kemal Gurdal (47.97), Russia's Sergey Fesikov (47.98) and Czech Republic's Martin Verner (48.07).

Joost Reijns of the Netherlands and Russia's Govorov both swam 48.09 in the semifinals for 10th place, requiring a swimoff that was won by Reijns with a 47.80. Govorov swam a 48.17 in the swimoff.

Women's 100 individual medley semifinal
Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos qualified first for finals with a time of 59.77. Germany's Theresa Michalak was second in 59.90, just ahead of Hungary's Evelyn Verraszto's 59.92.

Also earning spots in the final were Denmark's Mie Nielsen (1:00.48), Laura Letrari of Italy (1:00.51), Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (1:00.71), Austria's Lisa Zaiser (1:00.79), Italy's Erica Burrato (1:00.97), Austria's Uschi Halbreiner (1:01.23) and Russia's Kristina Kochetkova (1:01.32).