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Veldhuis Rattles Steffen's ER With 53.17 100m Free

Apr 18, 2009  - Craig Lord

A day after storming to a 56.69 100m fly win at the Amsterdam Cup to fall just 0.08sec shy of Inge de Bruijn's world record, Marleen Veldhuis (NED) wrapped on the door of another big standard: in 53.17, the Dutchwoman broke her own national record by 0.51sec and missed Olympic champion Britta Steffen's European record by 0.12sec. The world record of 52.88, held by Olympic silver medallist Libby Trickett (AUS) remains the other side of a dam that may be about to burst this summer.

Veldhuis, 30 this year, moves up to third-best ever from 8th. The new all-time top 10:

  • 52.88 Trickett AUS
  • 53.05 Steffen GER
  • 53.17 Veldhuis NED
  • 53.30 Campbell AUS
  • 53.39 Coughlin USA
  • 53.52 Henry AUS
  • 53.55 Pellegrini ITA
  • 53.58 Weir USA
  • 53.60 Seppala FIN
  • 53.76 Torres (USA) 

De Bruijn's 53.77 former world record of 2000 is now 11th best on a list beyond a top 10 that has just two times from the pre-February 2008 era. Veldhuis's dam to that 53.17 was built with 10 sub 54 efforts, namely: 53.58; 53.67; 53.69; 53.70; 53.76; 53.77; 53.77; 53.80; 53.81; 53.82.

Veldhuis's blast came off a 25.82 split, which just about matches Steffen's passing speed exactly and suggests that Veldhuis, coached by Jacco Verhaeren, is learning to control her outgoing speed. The 53.17 victory was also a Sloterparkbad pool record, not terribly relevant in the bigger scheme of things but brings a little perspective to time of season: De Bruijn set the record at 54.09 as she built up to the Olympic Games in Athens, 2004.

Behind Veldhuis came Femke Heemskerk, on 54.14, Ranomi Kromowidjojo on 54.26 and Inge Dekker on 54.61. The Dutch Olympic 4x100m free champions are on the right track for Rome and the world championships in July, while Veldhuis is now a title favourite in three events: 50 and 100 free and 100m butterfly.

In the men's 50m free, Stefan Nystrand (SWE) clocked 21.98, a pool record, ahead of teammate Petter Stymne, on 22.39.

Joeri Verlinden, Veldhuis's Eiffel Swimmers PSV teammate, set a 1:57.45 Dutch 200m butterfly record ahead of Simon Sjödin (SWE) on 1:58.62. The 20-year-old Dutchman improved from a 1:58.62 best set in December last year.

There was also a national mark for Nick Driebergen, with a 25.29 blast in the 50m backstroke and the 50m breaststroke produced a Dutch record for Robin van Aggele, on 27.53, 0.01sec behind Matjaz Markic, of Slovenia.