Mediterranean Games: Flash! Aschwin Wildeboer Faber Sets World Record; Ous Mellouli Smashes African Record

PESCARA, Italy, July 1. WHILE Ous Mellouli of Tunisia was the early favorite for swim of the night with his African record in the men's 1500 free, Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber gave the crowd a bookend world record to close down the show at the Mediterranean Games. Previously, Federica Pellegrini shot down the women's 400 free global standard on the first day.

Wildeboer Faber stopped the clock in 52.38 as Spain's 100 back leadoff leg of the men's 400 medley relay. The team went on to win in 3:34.22. Wildeboer Faber's time wiped out Aaron Peirsol's global standard of 52.54 set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and broke the stranglehold the Americans had on the backstroke records among the men. Randall Bal (24.33) and Ryan Lochte (1:53.94) own the 50 and 200 back standards, respectively.

Here are the comparative splits:
Peirsol: 25.65, 52.54 (26.89)
Wildeboer Faber: 25.54, 52.38 (26.84)

Here are the world record progressions since the event went sub-54 courtesy of USA Swimming:
53.93, Jeff Rouse, USA, Edmonton, 8/25/1991
53.86, Jeff Rouse, USA, Barcelona, 7/31/1992
53.60, Lenny Krayzelburg, USA, Sydney, 8/24/1999
53.45, Aaron Peirsol, USA, Athens, 8/21/2004
53.17, Aaron Peirsol, USA, Indianapolis, 4/2/2005
52.98, Aaron Peirsol, USA, Melbourne, 3/27/2007
52.89, Aaron Peirsol, USA, Omaha, 7/1/2008
52.54, Aaron Peirsol, USA, Beijing, 8/12/2008
52.38, Aschwin Wildeboer, ESP, Pescara, 7/1/2009

Incidentally, Wildeboer Faber's time crushed his European standard of 52.87 set earlier in the meet.

Mellouli showed signs of a potential world record at the World Championships after smashing his African mark in the men's 1500 free. Mellouli checked in with a 14:38.01. That performance wiped out his African record of 14:40.84 set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It also would have beaten Grant Hackett's Olympic standard of 14:38.92 set last year as well. Mellouli is now within striking distance of Hackett's global mark of 14:34.56 set in 2001. Italy's Federico Colbertaldo (15:04.23) and Spain's Marcos Rivera Miranda (15:11.60) completed the top three.

Cyprus' Anastasia Chrystoforou touched out Spain's Concepcion Badillo Diaz and Italy's Roberta Panara, 31.12 to 31.14 and 31.19, for the women's 50 breast title. Badillo Diaz's time beat her Spanish record of 31.32 set in April 2009.

Italy's Alessandro Terrin lowered his Italian record in the men's 50 breast with a top time of 27.22. The effort clipped his 27.25 set in March 2009. Slovenia's Emil Tahirovic finished second in 27.27, while Serbia's Caba Siladji took third in 27.34. Siladji's readout crushed his national mark of 28.01 set in April 2009.

Italy's Caterina Giacchetti touched out Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia, 2:06.89 to 2:06.90, in the women's 200 fly. Giacchetti's time came up a bit short of her national record of 2:06.50, while Belmonte Garcia smashed her Spanish record of 2:09.32 set in March 2008. Italy's Paola Cavallino completed the top three in 2:10.19.

In another exciting finish, France's Thomas Vilaceca held off Italy's Francesco Vespe and Niccolo Beni, 1:57.77 to 1:57.78 and 1:57.92, in the men's 200 fly.

In disability events, France's Elodie Lorandi won the women's S10 100 free in 1:03.25, while Spain's David Levecq Vives topped the men's S10 100 free in 54.46.