Mare Nostrum, Barcelona: Rebecca Soni, Rebecca Adlington Shine In First Day

BARCELONA, Spain, June 9. THE first day of long course meter action at the Mare Nostrum stop in Barcelona featured a pair of Rebeccas posting some splendid top-ranked times.

USA's Rebecca Soni won the women's 200 breast in 2:21.41, becoming the first woman under both 2:23 and 2:22 this year. Previously, Soni owned the top-ranked time in the world with a 2:22.21 from the Charlotte UltraSwim in May. Today's performance put her a full two seconds ahead of second-ranked Leisel Jones' 2:23.45. Jones, however, kept the meet record with her sterling time of 2:20.58 from 2008. Russia's Yuliya Efimova placed second in 2:24.65 to jump from 13th in the world to seventh. Efimova's previous season best had been a 2:26.24 from May. China's Ji Liping took third in 2:26.67, well back of her fourth-ranked season-best time of 2:24.30. World-record holder Annamay Pierse of Canada placed fourth in 2:26.77.

Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington improved upon her top ranking in the women's 800 free with a scorching time of 8:21.25. That swim beat the 8:21.95 she clocked in March, and crushed Joanne Jackson's meet record of 8:24.48 set last year. Denmark's Lotte Friis finished second in 8:23.76 to move to third in the world behind Adlington and Katie Goldman (8:22.83). Meanwhile, South Africa's Wendy Trott grabbed third in 8:29.97. That effort came up short of her sixth-ranked season-best time of 8:27.11.

Efimova turned in a meet-record time of 30.44 in the women's 50 breast for the win. She surpassed Valentina Artemyeva's 2009 meet mark of 30.56, but came up short of her top-ranked time this year of 30.35 from the Monaco stop. Soni touched second in 30.94, off her season-best time of 30.63 that is ranked second in the world. Meanwhile, world-record holder Jessica Hardy claimed third in 30.99, off her 30.69 from the Monaco stop that is ranked third in the world.

Austria's Markus Rogan took home the men's 200 IM title and meet record with a 1:59.12. His performance eclipsed the 1:59.47 set by Thiago Pereira back in 2007, and pushed Rogan from ninth in the world to fourth. Pereira finished second in 1:59.94, just back from his now sixth-ranked 1:59.40 from May. Spain's Alan Cabello Forns placed third in 2:02.61.

China's Tang Yi rocketed to a meet-record time of 1:57.64 in the women's 200 free for the win. That effort beat the 1:57.84 set by Jackson a year ago, and improved Tang from seventh in the world to fourth. USA's Katie Hoff touched second in 1:58.06 to move to 10th in the world, while USA's Morgan Scroggy placed third in 1:58.56 for 18th in the world.

Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom claimed the women's 100 fly in 58.32 to leapfrog all the way up from 25th in the world to fifth. USA's Dana Vollmer took second in 59.21, but had already charted a 58.42 to now be the seventh-ranked swimmer this year. Israel's Amit Ivry took third in 59.45.

Germany's Dorothea Brandt touched first in the women's 50 free with a 25.15. That swim vaulted her into the top 10 in the world as the 10th-ranked swimmer. USA's Kara Lynn Joyce, who had been the 10th-ranked swimmer coming into today with a 25.16 from May, finished second in 25.32. Great Britain's Fran Halsall took third in 25.42, while Hardy placed fourth in 25.43.

Great Britain's Liam Tancock, who is the top ranked swimming in the men's 50 back with a 24.52 from March, claimed the title tonight in 25.42. Australia's Daniel Arnamnart finished second in 25.54, off his eighth-ranked season-best time of 25.08. Spain's Miguel Rando Galvez wound up third in 25.67, back from his 21st-ranked time of 25.56.

USA's Aaron Peirsol claimed the men's 200 back in 1:58.11. That swim pushed him to seventh in the world in front of Rogan's 1:58.21. Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki finished a distant second in 2:00.57, while Great Britain's James Goddard took third in 2:00.64.

Australia's Geoff Huegill captured the men's 50 fly in 23.91. Huegill is the second-ranked swimmer in the world with a 23.46 from the Australian nationals that took place in March. Australia's Andrew Lauterstein took second in 24.08, while South Africa's Roland Schoeman tied for third with Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov with matching 24.13s.

Great Britain's Hannah Miley nearly improved upon her third-ranked season-best time of 4:35.06 in the women's 400 IM. This evening, she charted a 4:35.25 in the distance medley for the convincing victory. Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia earned second in 4:36.31, lowering her fourth-ranked time of 4:37.33. Australia's Samantha Hamill finished third in 4:41.30

Canada's Brent Hayden topped the men's 100 free in 49.17. That time fell short of his fourth-ranked season-best effort of 48.56 from April. Russia's Evgeny Lagunov led a Russian threesome that took second through fourth. Lagunov placed second in 49.24, while Andrey Grechin (49.38) and Danila Izotov (49.39) completed the top four.

Russia's Anastasia Zueva won the women's 100 back in 1:00.44, while China's Gao Chang took second in 1:00.49. Australia's Sophie Edington rounded out the podium with a third-place 1:00.64.

Japan's Kosuke Kitajima cruised in the men's 100 breast with a winning time of 1:00.79. Russia's Grigory Falko placed second in 1:01.66, while France's Hugues Duboscq grabbed third in 1:01.85.

Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski won the men's 200 fly in 1:57.44, while Skvortov touched second in 1:58.61. South Africa's Chad Le Clos wound up third in 1:59.80.

China's Zhang Lin completed the night with a 3:48.21 to win the men's 400 free. That time finished well back of his top-ranked effort of 3:44.91 from April. Tunisia's Ous Mellouli earned second-place with a 3:48.92, while China's Dai Jun finished third in 3:51.48.