As the sport of swimming lays dormant at the bottom of a dark Scottish Loch alongside Nessie, waiting for the moment when FINA might rescue it from the weeds of time, the new sport of sliding and gliding and surfing and streamlining continued apace at the circus in Rome this morning.
In the heats of the 200m breaststroke, Giedrius Titenis, of Lithuania, stepped up from a 2:16.15 best at any time before July 2009, to a 2:09.28 championship record that followed a step up in his form earlier this month at world student games with a 2:10.8 and two 2:11s. Next heat: another championship record inside the pace of Olympic champ Kosuke Kitajima - this time from Evgeny Ryzkov (KAZ), up from 2:12.44 in Beijing last year to 2:09.26.
The fast heats kicked in at that point: 2:08.55 took the the top spot, courtesy of Eric Shanteau (USA) and his X-Glide, ahead the same suit and Daniel Gyurta (HUN) on 2:08.71. Loris Facci (ITA) and his Jaked were the third synchro team to qualify for the semis inside 2:09, on 2:08.85.
The 2:11.07 in which Kosuke Kitajima (JPN) led the pack through in Melbourne 2007 would have placed 19th in Rome heats. The 2:09.80 in which the Olympic champion claimed the 2007 crown would have placed him 13th this morning at the sliding shampionships in Rome. Brenton Rickard (AUS) took silver in Melbourne in 2:10.99: euivalent to 18th in Rome heats.
RIP 2:10.16: In January 2008, the monumental world-record time of Mike Barrowman (USA) remained solid and steadfast at No4 on the all-time ranking. The three men above him on the list had surpassed his time 14 times between them. Now, 81 times are faster, 43 of them clocked this year.