Mare Nostrum, Barcelona: Therese Alshammar Sets Top-Ranked Time, Ariana Kukors Lowers Meet Record

BARCELONA, Spain, June 10. THE two-day long course meter Mare Nostrum stop in Barcelona came to a close with a top-ranked time going up on the boards, and one more meet record falling by the wayside.

Sweden's Therese Alshammar improved upon her top-ranked time in the women's 50 fly with a winning effort of 25.49. She just missed her meet record of 25.46 from 2007, but cleared her world-best effort of 25.60 from February. Great Britain's Fran Halsall finished second in 26.44 to tie for eighth in the world with Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen. Israel's Amit Ivry rounded out the top three in 26.65.

USA's Ariana Kukors lowered the meet record in the women's 200 IM with a 2:11.24. That swim eclipsed the 2:11.94 set by Stephanie Rice back in 2008. Scotland's Hannah Miley took second in 2:12.99, while USA's Caitlin Leverenz finished third in 2:13.76.

China's Xu Tianlongzi won the women's 50 back in 28.28 to move into seventh in the world, giving China three swimmers in the top 10 in the event. Australia's Sophie Edington earned second in 28.44, while Spain's Mercedes Peris Minguez picked up third in 28.45.

China's Zhang Lin topped the men's 1500 free in 15:12.56. He has been much faster this year with a second-ranked time of 15:00.39 from April. Teammate Dai Jun took second in 15:18.40, while Tunisia's Ous Mellouli finished third in 15:19.64. Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands, who has continued to find a cult following online after reaching world-class status from such a small country, took fourth in 15:24.28.

Japan's Kosuke Kitajima claimed the men's 50 breast in 27.96, just off his top-ranked time of 27.30 from April. Romania's Dragos Agache took second in 28.01, while South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh pocketed third in 28.30.

Brazil's Thiago Pereira earned the men's 400 IM title in 4:16.85, while South Africa's Chad Le Clos finished second in 4:20.23. USA's Robert Margalis completed the podium in 4:20.37.

Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom captured the women's 100 free crown in 54.87, while USA's Jessica Hardy touched second in 55.16. Canada's Victoria Poon took third in 55.29.

Australia's Daniel Arnamnart picked up the men's 100 back title in 54.57, while Russia's Alexander Tarabrin (55.54) and New Zealand's Kean Gareth (55.82) finished second and third.

Sweden's Stefan Nystrand won the men's 50 free in 22.58, while Trinidad's George Bovell placed second in 22.63, tying Germany's Steffen Deibler who clocked the same time.

China's Zhao Jing held off New Zealand's Melissa Ingram, 2:10.21 to 2:10.51, in the women's 200 back. USA's Missy Franklin, swimming as part of the junior national team trip, put on a show by keeping up with the pair of world-class swimmers and taking third in 2:10.69. That pushed her to 17th in the world.

USA's Rebecca Soni knocked off Russia's Yuliya Efimova, 1:06.27 to 1:06.79, in the women's 100 breast. Sweden's Joline Hostman wound up third in 1:08.95.

USA's Eric Shanteau topped the men's 200 breast in 2:11.59, while Kitajima touched just behind with a 2:11.64. Russia's Grigory Falko claimed third in 2:13.65.

Australia's Samantha Hamill touched out Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia, 2:09.14 to 2:09.67, in the women's 200 fly. China's Ha Sinan picked up third in 2:10.16.

Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov pocketed the men's 100 fly title in 52.88, while Germany's Ben Starke finished second in 53.20. Australia's Andrew Lauterstein earned third in 53.44, while teammate Geoff Huegill took fourth in 53.55.

Russia's Danila Izotov topped the men's 200 free in 1:48.34. Canada's Brent Hayden (1:49.03) and Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski (1:49.23) completed the top three.

Australia's Blair Evans clinched the women's 400 free title in 4:07.70, while Denmark's Lotte Friis earned second in 4:07.92. USA's Katie Hoff also made the podium with a third-place 4:09.37.