International Swim Meeting, Bolzano: Natalie Coughlin Scares American Record, Wins Pair of Titles

BOLZANO, Italy, November 5. IT was a banner first day of short course meter racing for Natalie Coughlin at the International Swim Meeting held in Bolzano, Italy.

Coughlin started off the day with a 52.94 to win the women's 100 free, short of her eighth-ranked season best of 52.80 from Genova earlier in the week. She then rattled the American record in the women's 100 IM, which Coughlin has said is her favorite event. Coughlin won the sprint medley with a time of 58.72. That time just missed Ariana Kukors' American record of 58.65 from the semifinals of the World Short Course Championships in Dubai in 2010. The time did clip Fran Halsall's 58.73 for the top ranking in the world this year, and bettered Coughlin's lifetime best of 58.80 from back in 2003. She moved to eighth on the all-time rankings with the performance.

Canada's Sinead Russell (55.09) and USA's Kim Vandenberg (55.21) finished second and third in the 100 free, while Italy's Laura Letrari (1:01.34) and Erica Buratto (1:02.10) made up the rest of the podium in Coughlin's big 100 IM finale.

Italy's Marco Orsi won the men's 100 free in 48.92, while USA's Cullen Jones finished second in 48.95. Italy's Federico Bocchia earned third in 48.96. Germany's Markus Deibler topped the men's 100 IM in 53.65. Italy's Fabio Scozzoli (54.72) and Orsi (54.72) wound up second and third in the event.

Germany's Dorothea Brandt claimed the women's 50 breast title in 30.96, while Italy's Lisa Fissneider took second in 31.68. Germany's Caroline Ruhnau placed third in 31.84. Scozzoli, who owns the top time in the world this year with a 26.11 from August, won the men's 50 breast in 26.68. USA's Mark Gangloff (27.51) and Deibler (28.03) earned second and third.

Russell cruised to victory in the women's 100 back with a 58.96, while Italy's Carlotta Zofkova (1:00.63) and Alessia Polieri (1:00.70) rounded out the podium. USA's Nick Thoman captured the men's 100 back title in 52.07. USA's Randall Bal, representing a Brazilian club, finished second in 52.68. USA's Adam Mania earned third in 53.48.

Italy's Elena Di Liddo clinched the women's 50 fly crown in 27.05, while teammate Silvia Di Pietro finished second in 27.17. Germany's Lisa Vitting picked up third in 27.39. Germany's Steffen Deibler won the men's 50 fly in 23.76. Italy's Lorenzo Benatti (23.96) and USA's Tyler McGill (23.98) earned second and third.