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European Swimming Championships - Day 6

Pelaez Beats DeBruin in 200 Fly
14:58.65 For Brembilla
Wouda Adds 200 I.M. Gold


Karin Helmstaedt

Women's 200 Butterfly

Hola, hola, hola.... Maria campeona! The home crowd cheered as Maria Pelaez, ESP, had the swim of her life to touch out Olympic champion Michelle de Bruin. After pulling out of both 800 freestyle and the 200 IM, de Bruin was slightly rested and had her sights on a third gold. She took the lead from the start and held it for 150 metres but struggled at the finish. An obviously inspired Pelaez kept the pressure on and finished very strongly for a new national record of 2:10.25 to de Bruin's 2:10.88.

It was an over two second drop from her previous best. The Malaga native said, "It's a dream to be a champion. It's something I never thought would happen. When you see everyone in the stands cheering for you, you think, this is my 15 minutes of fame."

Mette Jacobsen, DEN, the winner of the 100 fly, finished third with 2:11.97.

De Bruin was "very proud" to be leaving Sevilla with two golds and two silvers. Her long-winded intention, ghost-written for her and published in an Irish newspaper the day before this race, to be more open with journalists regarding her training program, came to naught. When asked about it, de Bruin suggested Coke or Pepsi don't give away their winning formula either, so why should she?

Men's 200 Individual Medley

Marcel Wouda won his second I.M. gold.
The early leader, Christian Keller, GER, soon faded out of contention as eventual winner, Marcel Wouda, NED, had the lead after backstroke, splitting 57.41 at the 100. Jani Sievinen, FIN, the current world record holder, moved into second place after the backstroke leg, but couldn't gain on Wouda in the breaststroke leg.

Marcel Wouda, NED, fought off tough competition to win the 200 I.M., his 2nd I.M. gold of the Championships
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

On the final leg, Wouda had a slight lead and a fast closing Xavier Marchand, FRA, almost caught up. Sievinen faded to third.

Wouda's time, 2:00.77, was his best ever; Marchand in second broke his own French record with a 2:01.08. Only Sievinen, in third, was four seconds off his best from two years ago.

Wouda said it was a difficult race, but conceded he was satisfied, saying, "I'd like to continue this way."

Women's 50 Freestyle

Russian Natalia Mesheryakova had a great start and left little doubt as to who would touch first.. Her winning time was 25.31, ahead of Sandra Volker of Germany, who was off her best time with a 25.43.

In third was Sweden's Therese Alshammar, who is off to Nebraska to study in the fall. Her final time was a personal best of 25.78.

Men's 1500 Freestyle

The winner was never in doubt. The question was whether there would be a sub 15-minute time. In a superb demonstration of pacing and technique, Emiliano Brembilla, ITA, took control after the first 100, splitting steady 100s just over the minute until the 600, and just under the minute for the next 900 metres, winning in 14:58.65. Brembilla becomes the world leader for 1997 and poses a genuine threat to the Australian supremacy in this event.

Igor Snitko, UKR, was second throughout, and finished with a time of 15:07.85, a personal best by just over seven seconds.

Graeme Smith, GBR, battled for third with Denis Zavgorodny, UKR. At 1200 metres the Ukrainian moved gradually ahead and finished third with 15:19.28. Smith, well off his bronze medal time of 15:02.48 from last year's Olympics finishined fourth with 15:22.11.

Brembilla commented, "Yesterday in the prelims it was a very easy swim. My target was to swim under 15 minutes today. I've hit my target, and I'm very happy."

He added, "The other day I was very exuberant over my 400 free win. Today I could hardly read the results I was so tired." The water temperature of 29 Celsius surely affected the final outcome.

Brembilla's splits:
	100	59.04	59.04
	200	1:59.60	1:00.56
	300	3:00.19	1:00.59
	400	4:01.02	1:00.83
	500	5:01.25	1:00.23
	600	6:01.31	1:00.06
	700	7:01.08	59.77
	800	8:00.96	59.88
	900	9:00.78	59.82
	1000	10:00.55	59.77
	1100	11:00.43	59.88
	1200	12:00.45	59.98
	1300	13:00.32	59.87
	1400	14:00.60	1:00.28
	1500	14:58.65	58.05		

Women's 200 Backstroke

The two German swimmers, Antje Buschschulte and Cathleen Rund, went after the gold. Buschschulte had the lead for three lengths. At that point Rund challenged, pulling ahead to win her first individual European title in 2:11.46.

Cathleen Rund, GER, pulled ahead of teammate to win her first gold of the Championships
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Buschschulte was second in 2:12.05, while Roxana Maracineanu of France was right behind her in 2:12.06, finishing off a sterling meet with another medal and another national record.

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