European Short Course Championships: Mireia Belmonte Garcia, Anastasia Zueva Posts Blistering Times

SZCZECIN, Poland, December 10. THE third evening of finals at the European Short Course Championships produced yet another spate of strong swims. At the top of the heap were Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia in the women's 400 free and Anastasia Zueva in the women's 50 back with all-time ranked efforts.

Men's 1500 free finals
Much to the delight of the partisan crowd, Poland's Mateusz Sawrymowicz won the metric mile out of an earlier heat with a 14:29.81. That swim pushed him to the top of the world in the event, ahead of Rocco Potenza's 14:31.73 from Italian Nationals in August. In the finale swim, Denmark's Mads Glaesner finished second overall in 14:29.88 for second in the rankings as well. Ukraine's Sergiy Frolov finished third in 14:35.22 for fourth in the rankings, while Potenza took fourth overall in 14:36.31.

Women's 400 free finals
Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia remained on fire as she stomped through the finale field with a sterling time of 3:56.39. That performance easily bypassed Blair Evans (3:58.31) for the top swim in the world this year, and moved Belmonte Garcia to fifth on the all-time charts. Her effort smashed the Spanish record of 4:00.17 held by Melania Costa Schmid, and just missed Laure Manaudou's textile best of 3:56.09 from 2006. In fact, Belmonte Garcia's effort this evening is now tied for sixth on the all-time performances chart behind Joanne Jackson (3:54.92), Allison Schmitt (3:55.89), Manaudou (3:56.09) and Coralie Balmy (3:56.24, 3:56.35, 3:56.39).

Meanwhile, Denmark's Lotte Friis took second in 3:58.02 for second in the world rankings this year, and chopped a second off her previously 11th-ranked lifetime best of 3:59.06 that stood as the record in Denmark. She jumped to ninth in the all-time rankings, while her swim now stands 15th in the all-time performances charts.

Costa Schmid, meanwhile, missed her lifetime best by a slim margin with a third-place 4:00.30, while reigning Swimming World Female European Swimmer of the Year fell to a surprising fourth with a 4:00.46, just bettering her previously sixth-ranked season best of 4:00.54.

Great Britain's Hannah Miley (4:01.46), The Netherlands' Rieneke Terink (4:04.80), Germany's Silke Lippok (4:05.69), Ireland's Grainne Murphy (4:06.05), Great Britain's Anne Bochmann (4:06.10) and Italy's Martina De Memme (4:07.65) also swam in the finale.

Women's 100 IM finals
Germany's Theresa Michalak cruised to victory in the sprint medley with a 59.05. That swim bettered her third-ranked season best of 59.30 from the Stockholm of the World Cup, and lowered the German record of 59.10 set by Britta Steffen. Michalak now stands 12th all time in the event history.

Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos touched second in 59.72 to move to ninth in the world rankings this year, while Denmark youngster Mie Nielsen checked in third with a 1:00.10 – just off her best of 59.97 that ranks 13th this season.

Hungary's Evelyn Verraszto (1:00.17), Italy's Laura Letrari (1:00.23), Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (1:00.44), Austria's Lisa Zaiser (1:00.77), Italy's Erica Buratto (1:00.86), Russia's Kristina Kochetkova (1:01.12) and Austria's Uschi Halbreiner (1:02.09) also competed for the title.

Men's 200 fly finals
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh took home the distance fly title in 1:50.87. That swim put him fourth in the world rankings this year behind Takeshi Matsuda (1:49.50), Chad Le Clos (1:50.15) and Hidemasa Sano (1:50.58).

Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov touched second in 1:51.21 to place sixth in the rankings, while Great Britain's Joe Roebuck placed third in 1:51.62 for seventh in the rankings. Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski finished fourth in 1:51.71 for eighth in the rankings as well.

Serbia's Velimir Stjepanovic (1:52.09), Hungary's Bence Biczo (1:53.22), Austria's Dinko Jukic (1:53.51), Slovenia's Robert Zbogar (1:53.91), France's Jordan Coelho (1:55.17) and Greece's Stefanos Dimitriadis (1:56.27) placed fifth through 10th.

Men's 100 free finals
Russia's Sergey Fesikov jumped to the top of the world rankings with a 46.56. That performance clipped the 46.59 set by Alain Bernard at French Nationals earlier in the month. He still has some time to make up on his lifetime best of 45.75 from the techsuit era. Italy's Luca Dotto placed second tonight in 46.89 to move to fourth in the rankings this year behind Fesikov, Bernard and James Magnussen (46.82). Hungary's Krisztian Takacs earned third in 47.46.

Great Britain's Adam Brown (47.51), Italy's Andrea Rolla (47.62), Russia's Evgeny Lagunov (47.63), The Netherlands' Joost Reijns (47.65), Hungary's Dominik Kozma (47.68), Czech's Martin Verner (47.94) and Turkey's Kemal Arda Gurdal (48.09) comprised the rest of the championship finale.

Women's 50 back finals
Russia's Anastasia Zueva crashed through the top-ranking in the world in the sprint back with a 26.23 for the triumph. That swim cleared the 26.44 set by Aya Terakawa at the Tokyo stop of the World Cup, and vaulted Zueva from 15th in the all time rankings to eighth overall. Great Britain's Georgia Davies took second in 26.93 to move to eighth in the rankings this year, while Czech's Simona Baumrtova placed third in 26.94 for a ninth-ranked tie in the rankings.

Poland's Aleksandra Urbanczyk (26.97), Italy's Arianna Barbieri (27.09), Sweden's Michelle Coleman (27.12), Spain's Mercedes Peris Minguet (27.15), Bulgaria's Ekaterina Avramova (27.42), Iceland's Ingibjorg Kristi Jonsdottir (27.50) and Poland's Alicja Tchorz (27.55) also vied for the title.

Men's 50 breast finals
Italy's Fabio Scozzoli cruised to victory in the sprint breast with a 26.25, shy of his top-ranked 26.11 from Italy in August. Slovenia's Damir Dugonjic touched second in 26.34 for second in the world rankings, while Norway's Alexander Dale Oen placed third in 26.49 for third in the rankings.

Norway's Aleksander Hetland (26.54), Serbia's Caba Siladji (26.72), The Netherlands' Robin van Aggele (26.78), Russia's Sergey Geybel (26.84), Italy's Mattia Pesce (26.85), Russia's Stanislav Lakhtyukhov (26.92) and Germany's Erik Steinhagen (26.94) rounded out the top 10.

Women's 200 medley relay
Denmark's Mie Nielsen, Rikke Moeller Pedersen, Jeanette Ottesen and Pernille Blume won the relay in 1:46.48, while Russia's Anastasia Zueva, Valentina Artemyeva, Irina Bespalova and Margarita Nesterova placed second in 1:47.08. Poland's Aleksandra Urbanczyk, Ewa Scieszko, Anna Dowgiert and Katarzyna Wilk earned third in 1:48.70. Great Britain (1:48.74), Italy (1:49.00), Sweden (1:49.11), Belarus (1:49.52) and The Netherlands (1:51.09) completed the top eight.

Slovenia's Peter Mankoc led the way in the men's 100 IM semis with a 53.59, pushing him to 15th in the world rankings. Russia's Dmitry Zhilin (53.66) and Germany's Markus Deibler (53.69) joined him under 54 seconds for the top three seeds.

Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen cleared 1:06 to top women's 100 breast semis with a 1:05.94. She has some left in the tank as she's already been 1:05.64 at the Berlin stop of the World Cup. Russia's Daria Deeva (1:06.51), Sweden's Joline Hostman (1:06.81) and Russia's Valentina Artemyeva (1:07.12) rounded out the top four.

Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki clocked a swift 50.67 for the top seed in the men's 100 back semis. That swim jumped him to second in the world rankings behind only Ashwin Wildeboer Faber's 50.23 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup. He will be gunning for his Polish record of 49.69. Aschwin Faber checked in with a second-seeded 51.52, while Germany's Christian Diener (51.80) and Jan-Philip Glania (51.95) qualified third and fourth.

Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen claimed the top seed in the women's 100 fly finale with a 57.37 out of semis. That swim came up just short of her ninth-ranked season best of 57.30 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup. Great Britain's Jemma Lowe (57.41), Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (57.51) and Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak (57.62) qualified second through fourth.