On the third day of Germany's Olympic trials in Berlin, Jan-Philip Glania, 24 this year, swam to a status unfamiliar to him before with a 1:55.87 national record in the 200m backstroke that booked him an Olympic ticket and swept him to second in the world so far this year.
If the 1:54.02 of Japan's Ryosuke Irie remains the standard among those looking for medals at London 2012, Glania has stepped up to a new league: inside the world No2 for 2012, a 1:56.39 by France's Ben Stasiulis, the German champion arrived in Berlin with a lifetime best of 1:58.46 from last year, that effort a step up from a 2:01.35 best swim in 2010, the year after setting a best of 1:58.95 in 2009 before non-textile suits were banned.
Glania needed to move that fast to ensure victory: the silver went to Yannick Lebherz in 1:56.84, bronze to his Potsdam training partner Felix Wolf in 1:58.11, both those efforts faster than Glania had ever swum before and both best times: Lebherz's 2009 high is 1:56.69 and his textile best 1:57.52, while Wolf had a shiny suit best of 1:58.03 and a textile best of 1:59.93.
Glania struck for victory from go in a final he led from gun to gold: on 27.57 at 50m, he was the sole sub-57sec man at half-way, on 56.99, Lebherz 0.30sec away, Wolf a further 0.33sec adrift. With 50m to go, Glania, on 1:26.75, led Lebherz by 0.45sec, Wolf starting to struggle - and that's where the race remained as Glania extended his lead a touch in the search for victory and an Olympic guarantee.
Another who made his mark just at the right moment with a German record was Markus Deibler, who brought the televised session to a close by taking an axe to his national mark of 1:58.67 in the 200m medley with a 1:57.82 victory. Philip Heintz, denied with a third place in the 100m butterfly final won by Markus's brother Steffen, clocked 1:58.82 to fall 0.34sec shy of the FINA A time.
Deibler's time places him at third in the world so far this year behind efforts of 1:56.32 for Olympic champion Michael Phelps (USA) and 1:57.11 for Thiago Pereira (BRA). Talking of Brazil, Glauber Silva clocked 52.24 to book a ticket to London 2012 over 100m butterfly at a meet in Rio today that serves as the last-chance saloon for selection.
Back in Berlin and in the heats of the 200m backstroke, Jenny Mensing got inside her 2009 shiny suit national record to set a new German standard for a new era, of 2:08.58. She lowered that a touch further with a 2:08.30 (8th in the world in 2012) victory in the final to confirm her London 2012 ticket.
In other action, Alexandra Wenk, Sina Sutter, Steffen Deibler, Benjamin Starke, Paul Biedermann and 20-year-old bolter Martin Grodzki also booked tickets to London 2012, while Britta Steffen clocked 53.68 to book a defence of the 100m freestyle crown at the Olympic Games that open in the British capital on July 27.
Wenk a 16-year-old from Munich, established a national age record of 58.59, to win the 100m butterfly ahead of Sina Sutter, on 58.70, Deibler, and Starke clocked 52.00 and 52.09 in the 100m butterfly final, and Biedermann and Grodski swam 3:47.98 and 3:48.54 (the latter a 4sec best time) in the 400m free.
Men's 100m butterfly
In a blanket finish for the medals and London 2012 places, Steffen Deibler, of Hamburg, overhauled national record holder Benjamin Starke, of Berlin Neukoelln, to take the title by 0.09sec in 52.00, Philip Heintz, of Manheim, locked out in 52.22.
Starke, whose record stands at 51.22 from the last season of shiny suits before the ban, led at the half-way in 23.94, Deibler on 24.14 and Heintz on 24.24. On the way home, it was Deibler who had what it took to get his hand to the wall first, his winning time an all-time best 0.03sec inside the standard he set in Paris in June last year. That same month at German nationals in 2011, Starke established a German textile best of 51.65, while Heintz took bronze by establishing his own lifetime best, after having stepped up to 52.38 at a meet in Magdeburg in March, from a 2011 best of 53.07.
Women's 100m butterfly
Alexandra Wenk, a 16-year-old from Munich, established a national age record of 58.59, off a 27.56 split.
Sina Sutter, Essen, led at the half-way on 27.21 and took silver in 58.70 - bang on the FINA A time for London 2012 - leaving Theresa Michalak, 8th at the turn in the 10-lane final, with bronze in 59.24. The national senior record stands to Annika Mehlhorn at 57.90 from the Rome 2009 suits circus, the holder on 1:00.73 in 8th today.
For Wenk, victory not only put her Olympic debut on the map and gave her senior and junior titles in the one race but also marked a big step up on the clock: her best coming into nationals was the 59.53she clocked in Magdeburg in March, after a 2011 lifetime best of 59.64, which followed promise as a 14-year-old on 1:01.33.
Men's 400m freestyle
Paul Biedermann, of Halle, swam inside the FINA cut of 3:48.92 with a 3:47.98 victory over Martin Grodzki, of Berlin-Reinichendorf, a 20-year-old who chose well his moment to bolt to a best of 3:48.54 and book an Olympic ticket: his lifetime best arriving at nationals in Berlin had been 3:52.29, from 2011, after 3:56.90 in 2010.
Biedermann, who returned from altitude training recently and holds the 2009 world record at 3:40.07 and the German textile best at 3:44.14, need not be at his peak to win in Germany but today he was pressed all the way by Grodzki and Clemens Rapp, of Bad Saulgau, on 3:49.53 for bronze by the close.
Rapp led over Grodzki at the 100m and at 200m, on 1:52.89, a second up on Biedermann and Grodzki. By 300m, Rapps lead had been reduced, with Biedermann third 0.4sec from the lead pace, the stage set for his signature last 100m decider, Grodzki a fraction ahead of Rapp with 50m to go as the early leader found the going too tough on the way home. The champion's time places him just outside the world top 10 so far this year.
Women's 200m backstroke
Jenny Mensing, of Wiesbaden 1911, had cracked 2:10 once before arriving in Berlin, a 2:09.52 high dating back to 2010. In heats, she took the national mark down to 2:08.53 and then shaved another slice off that with a 2:08.30 victory way out ahead in a final she dominated, on splits of 30.56, 1:02.46 and 1:34.97.
The silver went to Lisa Graf, of Leipzig, in 2:13.46, 0.18sec ahead of 16-year-old Eileen Diener, of Cottbus.
Men's 50m freestyle
The FINA A time of 22.11 was far ahead but Marco Di Carli, of Frankfurt, took the national title in 22.44 ahead of the 100m butterfly winner earlier in the session, Steffen Deibler, on 22.57, the bronze going to Christophe Fildebrandt, Wuppertal, in 22.72.
Women's 100m freestyle
Britta Steffen, of Berlin Neukoelln, confirmed that she will defend her Olympic 100m crown with a 53.68 victory, a fingernail slower than the 53.65 in which she led her club relay to victory in the 4x100m free on day 1 of the meet.
The silver went to Daniela Schreiber, Halle, in 54.41, with other relay places in line for Silke Lippok, 55.01, Lisa Vitting, 55.09, and Annika Bruhn, 55.91.
Men's 200m medley
Markus Deibler, of Hamburg, joined his brother Steffen on the German Olympic team with a 1:57.82 victory inside his own national record of 1:58.67 from a year ago.
On a joint 25.10 after the first 50m, Deibler had company in the shape of Mannheim's Philip Heintz, bronze medallist in the 100m butterfly earlier behind champion Steffen Deibler. From then on, the champion had the race in his control, turning in 55.72 after backstroke, Jan David Schepers, Essen, on 56.05 and Heintz on 56.61.
Deibler's breaststroke was decisive: on 1:29.23 with 50m to go, he had left his challengers behind, Schepers on 1:30.63, Heintz on 1:31.13. On the way home, Heintz edged past Scheppers to take silver in 1:58.82 to 1:59.37.
Women's 400m freestyle
Sarah Koehler, 17 and of Frankfurt, took the title in 4:14.56, the time well shy of Olympic FINA A standard.