European Short Course Championships: Mireia Belmonte Garcia Clocks Strong Double

SZCZECIN, Poland, December 8. THE initial evening of action at the European Short Course Championships featured Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia throwing down an epic back-to-back double with wins in the 200 IM and fly.

Men's 400 free finals
Germany's Paul Biedermann crushed his previously top-ranked time of 3:40.40 from the Moscow stop of the World Cup. Biedermann edged Denmark's Mads Glaesner, 3:38.65 to 3:39.30, for the middle distance victory tonight as both cleared Biedermann's time from Russia. Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski earned bronze with a time of 3:40.54, just missing Biedermann's previous top time but moving to third in the world ahead of Mikhail Polishchuk's 3:41.54 from Russian Nationals.

Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands snatched fourth-place honors with a 3:41.05 to move to fifth in the world, while Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry touched fifth in 3:41.25 for sixth in the rankings.

Italy's Alex Di Giorgio (3:44.78), Polishchuk (3:45.03), Russia's Evgeny Kulikov (3:45.05), The Netherlands' Job Kienhuis (3:45.31) and Denmark's Frans Johannessen (3:45.73) completed the championship heat.

Men's 200 back finals
Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki, with a partisan crowd cheering him on, shot to the top of the world rankings in the distance dorsal with a 1:49.15 for the win. That swim crushed the 1:50.34 set by Michael Phelps during the Berlin stop of the World Cup. Kawecki also missed his personal best 1:49.13 by a close margin. Kawecki clocked that swim at the 2010 European Short Course Championships to rank eighth all time.

Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber touched second in 1:50.63 to move to fourth in the world rankings behind Kawecki, Phelps and Omar Pinzon (1:50.46), while Hungary's Peter Bernek rounded out the podium with a bronze-winning 1:51.21 to take fifth in the rankings.

Germany's Jan-Philip Glania (1:51.50), Israel's Yakov Yan Toumarkin (1:51.55), Ukraine's Olexandr Isakov (1:54.33), Germany's Yannick Lebherz (1:54.35), Russia's Sergey Makov (1:54.68), Russia's Mikhail Zvyagin (1:54.82) and Italy's Matteo Milli (1:55.71) also swam in the finale.

Women's 200 IM finals
Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia moved to second in the world in the event with a triumphant 2:07.06. That effort fell just short of Erica Morningstar's 2:06.97 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup. Hungary's Evelyn Verraszto threw down a 2:08.28 for second-place honors to move to fifth, while Great Britain's Hannah Miley took third in 2:08.34 for sixth in the rankings.

Germany's Theresa Michalak (2:09.19), Russia's Viktoriya Andreeva (2:09.37), The Netherlands' Wendy van den Zanden (2:09.66), Czech's Barbora Zavadova (2:09.70), Austria's Lisa Zaiser (2:09.71), Ukraine's Gana Dzerkal (2:10.67) and Israel's Amit Ivri (2:11.34) touched fourth through 10th.

Women's 200 fly finals
Spain's Mireia Belmont Garcia went back-to-back with a top-ranked 2:03.37 in the distance fly, after winning the 200 IM just an event before. Her time cleared Choi Hye Ra's previously top-ranked 2:03.65 from the Beijing stop of the World Cup, and came up just short of Garcia's second-ranked all-time effort of 2:03.01 from Spanish Nationals in 2009. China's Liu Zige owns the world record with a 2:00.78 from the Berlin stop of the 2009 World Cup circuit.

Great Britain's Jemma Lowe placed second in 2:04.04 to move to fourth in the world rankings, while Great Britain's Jessica Dickons clocked a 2:04.80 to take third tonight and sixth in the rankings.

Germany's Franziska Hentke (2:04.95), Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:05.11), Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak (2:05.31), Switzerland's Martina Van Berkel (2:06.75), Austria's Birgit Koschischek (2:07.46), Italy's Alessia Polieri (2:07.94) and Sweden's Petra Granlund (2:09.18) also competed for the title.

Men's 200 IM finals
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh claimed the title in 1:53.43 to move to third in the world rankings. Michael Phelps (1:51.89) and James Goddard (1:52.57) have been faster this year. Austria's Markus Rogan took second in 1:53.63 to move to fourth, while Israel's Gal Nevo snared bronze in 1:54.87 to crack the top 10.

Portugal's Diogo Carvalho (1:54.98), Russia's Dmitry Zhilin (1:55.50), Austria's Dinko Jukic (1:55.57), Luxembourg's Raphael Stacchiotti (1:56.62), Italy's Federico Turrini (1:57.65), Russia's Alexander Tikhonov (1:57.98) and Poland's Jakub Jasinski (1:58.86) completed the championship heat.

Men's 50 free finals
The Polish crowd erupted when Poland's Konrad Czerniak shot down favorite Sergey Fesikov of Russia, 20.88 to 20.95, for the splash-and-dash victory. Both surpassed Fesikov's top-ranked time of 21.09 from Russian Nationals in November, and Czerniak broke his Polish record of 21.12 from earlier in the day. Czerniak moved up to a 12th-ranked tie with Josh Schneider of the U.S. in the all time rankings, while Fesikov missed his Russian record of 20.83 that puts him 11th all time. Italy's Marco Orsi ripped off a swift 21.01 tonight for third in both the race and in the seasonal rankings. His best is a 20.93 that ranks 16th all time from 2009 Euros.

Italy's Luca Dotto (21.30), Great Britain's Adam Brown (21.41), Hungary's Krisztian Takacs (21.54), Ukraine's Andriy Govorov (21.58), Hungary's Dominik Kozma (21.68), Finland's Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (21.78) and Switzerland's Flori Lang (22.07) rounded out the top 10.

Women's 50 breast finals
Russia's Valentina Artemyeva turned in a 30.06 for the sprint breast triumph. She missed her second-ranked 30.04 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup. Australia's Leisel Jones has the best time this year with a 29.92 from July. Germany's Dorothea Brandt touched second in 30.17 to better her fourth-ranked 30.18, while Russia's Daria Deeva took third in 30.63.

Norway's Katharina Stiberg (30.80), Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen (30.81), Italy's Lisa Fissneider (30.82), Czech's Petra Chocova (30.88), Czech's Martina Moravcikova (31.15), The Netherlands' Tess Bouwer (31.26) and Turkey's Dilara Buse Guenaydin (31.83) earned the other finale finishes.

Men's 200 medley relay
Italy's Mirco Di Tora, Fabio Scozzoli, Paolo Facchinelli and Marco Orsi won the event in 1:33.18, while Russia's Vitaly Borisov, Sergey Geybel, Evgeny Korotyshkin and Sergey Fesikov took second in 1:33.86. Germany's Christian Diener, Erik Steinhagen, Steffen Deibler and Stefan Herbst wound up third in 1:34.41.

Women's 100 back semis
Ukraine's Daryna Zevina paced qualifying with a 57.23 to move to sixth in the world rankings. Russia's Anastasia Zueva qualified second in 57.61, bettering her ninth-ranked season best of 57.65 to jump ahead of Grace Loh (57.64) for eighth.

Great Britain's Georgia Davies (57.72), Spain's Duane Da Rocha Marce (58.22), Czech's Simona Baumrtova (58.36), Denmark's Mie Nielsen (58.51) Slovenia's Anja Carman (58.54), Bulgaria's Ekaterina Avramova (58.75), Russia's Ksenia Moskvina (59.08) and Poland's Alicja Tchorz (59.09) completed the rest of the championship heat.

Men's 100 fly semis
Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin captured the top seed in the men's 100 fly with a 50.63. His top time this year is a 50.04 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup that stands atop the world. Belgium's Francois Heersbrandt took second in 50.92, just off his sixth-ranked prelim time of 50.87. The Netherlands' Joeri Verlinden (51.05), Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov (51.10) and Poland's Konrad Czerniak (51.12) qualified third through fifth. Slovenia's Peter Mankoc (51.23), Croatia's Mario Todorovic (51.39), Sweden's Lars Frolander (51.55), Slovenia's Robert Zbogar (51.64) and France's Amaury Leveaux (51.67) also picked up lanes in the finale.

Men's 100 breast semis
Italy's Fabio Scozzoli, already the top-ranked swimmer in the world with a 57.44 from Italian Nationals in August, qualified first with a 57.93. Estonia's Martti Aljand earned second in 57.97 to move to seventh in the rankings, while Hungary's Daniel Gyurta clocked a third-seeded 58.17. Slovenia's Damir Dugonjic (58.22), Norway's Alexander Dale Oen (58.28), Russia's Vyacheslav Sinkevich (58.61), Russia's Stanislav Lakhtyukhov (58.64), Great Britain's Michael Jamieson (58.66), Germany's Marco Koch (58.98) and Hungary's Gabor Financsek (58.99) also will swim in the finale.

Women's 100 free semis
Great Britain's Amy Smith earned the top seed with a 52.75, slower than her eighth-ranked season best of 52.67 from prelims. Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (52.91) and Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen (52.97) finished second and third in qualifying. Germany's Britta Steffen, in the first semifinal, qualified fourth in 53.02. Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (53.33), Russia's Margarita Nesterova (53.38), Denmark's Pernille Blume (53.43), Great Britain's Rebecca Turner (53.69), Germany's Daniela Schreiber (53.75) and Italy's Erica Ferraioli (53.96) picked up the rest of the championship heat slots.