Hoogie Shines in Athens: A Preview of 2004?

ATHENS, Greece, May 17. IN what he hopes will be a preview of the 2004 Olympic Games, Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband won three events at the 15th annual Akropolis International Long Course Swim Meet in Athens. The double Olympic champion swept to victory in the 50 (22.74), 100 (49.34) and 200m freestyle (1:47.59) events, setting meet records in all three. Hoogie holds the world record at 100 meters.

The Flying Dutchman, however, was far from the only story in the ancient Greek capital, as eight meet records and three Greek national records were established during the three-day event, May 11-13.

Aside from Hoogie's victory in the 50 free, Day One was highlighted by Slovenia's Ursa Slapsak's twin wins in the women's 50m free (26.37) and 50 fly (27.97).

Germany's Holst Ewout set a meet record in the men's 50m fly, touching in 24.55.

Holland's Madelon Baans upset European record-holder Agnes Kovacs (31.34) in the 50m breast, with her 32.71-second victory. Kovacs was third in 33.16.

The 50m sprint events were swum again on Day Two. Baans again beat Kovacs in the women's 50 breast, though this time it was closer, 32.86 to 32.90. Slapsak reprised her 50 fly win, going 27.68–just .01 off the meet mark.

Fifteen year-old Hungarian Eva Risztov won the 200m free in 2:02.26, to go along with her 800 win (8:46) yesterday. Kovacs finally beat Baans, clocking 1:10.22 to the Dutchwoman's 1:10.66 in the 100 breast.

Double Olympic champion Yana Klochkova, of Ukraine, took two events today: the 200 back in 2:15.34 and the 200 IM in 2:16.08.

Aside from van den Hoogenband's swift 49.34 in the 100 free, two other meet records and two Greek national marks fell this night. Hungary's Viktor Bodrogi set a meet mark in winning the 100 back (56.80) as did 16 year-old Greek Ioannis Drymonadas, who clocked a national record 1:59.16 in the 200 fly.

The other Greek national mark fell to Gianniotis Spyridon, who blazed a 3:52.76 to take the 400 free.

Three meet records and one Greek national record were swept away on the final night of competition.

Hoogie won the 200 free (1:47.59) by four seconds, setting the first meet record of the evening. Bodrogi followed with a meet mark in the 200m back (2:00.58).

Eva Risztov out-touched Klochkova to win the 200m fly in a meet record 2:10.92 to the Ukrainian's 2:11.04.

In a performance to gladden the hearts of Masters swimmers everywhere, Hungary's Karoly Guttler, 33, took the 100m breast in 1:03.76.

The meet ended in spectacular fashion for the home crowd when Ioannis Kokkodis took the final event, the men's 200m IM in a Greek national record 2:03.87.

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