Europeans Throw Down Dubai Gauntlets
Nov 28, 2010 - Craig Lord
The stage is set for some fascinating showdowns at world titles in Dubai next month after a closing session of the European s/c Championships in Eindhoven that saw Daniil Izotov (RUS) blast a 1:41.84 (third-best ever in textile suit) 200m freestyle victory over world record holder Paul Biedermann (GER), Stanislav Donets (RUS) clock 49.35 to retain the 100m backstroke crown and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) storm to a 23.58sec victory in the 50m free to become the quickest woman ever in a textile suit.
Biedermann, who set the world mark of 1:39.37 a year ago in Berlin on the eve of the ban on non-textile suits, took silver in 1:42.94, with the champion's teammate Evgeny Lagunov just holding off fast-finishing Filippo Magnini (ITA) for bronze 1:44.11 to 1:44.22.
Lagunov led at 50m in 23.36 before Izotov took a lead he would not relinquish, turning in 49.35 at the 100m, Biedermann next through on 50.06. Going into the last 50m, the Russian had an unassailable lead of 1:15.31 to 1:16.64 over the German, Lagunov on 1:17.21, Filippo a stroke away but gathering momentum.
The 2010 world best had stood at 1:42.77 to Izotov from the Moscow round of the world cup, while Biedermann had had a season best of 1:43.03 from the Stockholm round of the same series.
The top 5 best in textile
The best of Europe are now expected to sharpen for faster times as they face the best from the rest of the world, including Ryan Lochte (USA), world No1 over 200m long-course in 2010, in Dubai from December 15-19.
After setting a European record in the 50m backstroke, the only continental mark of the year, the world and European marks of 48.94 (Nick Thoman, USA) and his own 48.97 were on the cards for Stanislav Donets (RUS).
The target was gone over the first 50m, a 23.31 having led Donets to his best time a year ago in Istanbul, while in Eindhoven the clock read 23.93. But the crown stayed with Donets in an exceptional 49.35. Only five men, including himself, swam faster in a suit of the kind now banned, while the world mark before such suits came along had stood to Ryan Lochte at 49.99.
A showdown is no in prospect with the backstroke ace of the year, Camille Lacourt (FRA), among others, including the biggest hitters from the US.
The top 5 in textile shows the excellence of effort from a Russian who now holds the top 3 best times (22.74, 22.94, 23.11) in the year in 2010:
The silver in Eindhoven went to Damiano Lestingi (ITA) in 51.46, with the champion's teammate Artem Dubovsky making the podium in 51.90, Marco Di Tora (ITA) locked out by 0.12sec.
Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) sent another shiver up the spines of the world's sprint freestylers with a 23.58 blast to take the 50m dash gold ahead of teammate Hinkelien Schreuder, on 23.90, with Olympic and world-long-course champion Britta Steffen (GER) making good progress back to best with a 23.95 effort for bronze.
Kromowidjojo was always going to struggle to match the 23.25 world mark of Dutch teammate Marleen Veldhuis, now on the comeback trail, from the world titles in March 2008 when polyurethane first made it into suits before being banned from January 1 this year. However, all eyes will be on how she compares to the best ever of Libby Trickett (AUS), 23.77, and the pre-non-textile world record holder Therese Alshammar (SWE), on 23.59.
Other race reports
Women's 200m freestyle
Federica Pellegrini (ITA) opted to miss the race in morning heats in accordance with her pre-championship commitment to racing only the 800m (she withdrew after 150m of the 400m heats and said she had had a "panic attack"), but the race she watched will have confirmed to the Olympic and world champion with the world s/c title in her sights in Dubai next month that nothing can be taken for granted.
The 1:51.17 world mark of Pellegrini's from the last hour of the shiny suits era was a few strokes too far but Femke Heemskerk (NED) confirmed that her 1:52.42 2010 world best was no fluke: in 1:52.62, she claimed the crown ahead of a 1:53.96 silver for Silke Lippok, the German teenager who gave Pellegrini an early race fright back in Budapest at the European long-course championships in August. The bronze went to fast-finishing Evelyn Verraszto (HUN), on 1:54.39, which locked out her teammate Agnes Mutina by 0.35sec.
Daniela Schreiber (GER) led the way by 0.01sec over Heemskerk at 50m, on 26.51, with Lippok on 27.00 in third. By the 100m mark, Heemskerk had taken the lead on 54.94, Schreiber on 55.74, Lippok on 55.86, the Hungarians a hand away.
Turning into the last 50m, the Dutchwoman had the race sewn up, her 1:23.65 a second ahead of Lippok, with Verraszto and Mutina now ahead of Schreiber, who would end the race on 1:56.46.
Women's 400m medley
Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) clocked the fourth-fastest time of the year to claim the crown in 4:29.78. In a close battle for the medals Anja Klinar (SLO) got a 0.1sec edge for silver in 4:30.83, bronze to Lara Grangeon (FRA), with Yana Martynova (RUS) locked out on 4:31.87. The race see-sawed between the leaders, the splits telling the tale of relative strengths and weaknesses, Klinar spending the first half of the race in 7th place, in 4th until the final 50m:
Jakabos was not far from the time she clocked at the European s/c showcase a year ago: 4:28.46
Men's 200m breaststroke
Marco Koch (GER) held on for a 2:04.86 victory as Melquiades Alvarez (ESP) came back hard at the end to claim silver in 2:05.41 ahead of the early race leader, Anton Lobanov (RUS), on 2:06.71. That locked out Loughborough-based Laurent Carnol (LUX), on 2:07.12.
Men's 100m medley
Markus Deibler (GER) took gold in the non-Olympic medley distance in 52.13 ahead of Peter Mankoc (SLO), on 52.87, and Alan Cebello (ESP) on 53.24.
Women's 100m butterfly
Inge Dekker (NED) led at 50m in 26.60 and stopped the clock for gold in 56.51 ahead of Ingvild Snildal (NOR), on 57.46, with bronze going to Caterina Giacchetti (ITA), who turned 8th in 27.49 on her way to a 58.17 close ahead of 400m medley champion earlier in the session, Zsuzsanna Jakabos, on 58.36.
Women's 100m breaststroke
Moniek Nijhuis (NED) joined Dekker among those thrilling a home crowd, her 1:06.20 effort leaving her 0.01sec ahead of Sophi de Ronchi (FRA), bronze just 0.04sec further away in the shape of another Dutch success, Tessa Brouwer.
Women's 200m backstroke
Duane da Rocha reigned for Spain in 2:03.57 after trailing local favourite Sharon Van Rouwendal (NED) 1:00.90 to 1:01.19 at the half-way mark. On the way home, the Spaniard's pace was too hot for the Dutch challenger, who consoled herself with silver in 2:04.13, the bronze going to Daryna Zevina (UKR), on 2:05.08.
Men's 50m butterfly
Steffen Deibler (GER) took the crown in 22.34 ahead of Andriy Govorov (UKR), on 22.74, bronze going to Joeri Verlinden (NED) in 23.23.
Men's 4x50m freestyle
Italy took the last gold of the meet with a 1:25.16 victory over Germany's 1:25.19 in the 4x50m freestyle relay, an event only ever raced in major international waters at the European winter showcase. The crown went to Luca Dotto (21.38), Lucio Spadaro (21.43), Filippo Magnini (21.56) and Marco Orsi (20.79), that last split the best of the race and sealing victory on the last leg. Germany led the whole way but its best two men, the Deibler brothers Steffen and Markus, were up front. Russian took bronze in 1:25.81.