European Championships, Debrecen, Hungary, day 2 heats:
Battle is looming between Olympic champion Britta Steffen (GER) and Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) in the 100m freestyle, the world record holder based in Berlin on 54.65 to 54.68 for the Stockholm teenager. Daniela Schreiber (GER) was the third and last woman inside 55sec this morning, on 54.69.
Steffen will defend the 100m free crown in London this summer and while her world record of 52.07 is a clock apart, set as it was at a time when booster bodysuits were allowed, the German sprinter faces a new challenge.
A relative newcomer to the ranks of Olympic medal hopes on freestyle, Sjostrom clocked 53.05 last December, the time the second-best ever in a textile suit and swifter than Steffen has ever swum. It was at Budapest Europeans in 2006 that Steffen set her first world record, of 53.30, that times still her best ever in a textile suit.
Steffen, lane 4 in the second semi tonight, and Sjostrom, lane 4 in the firsts semi tonight, will meet for the first time ever in a 100m free race in the final tomorrow.
The all-time textile top 5:
* - Lenton, who married Luke Trickett soon after that 52.99 swim, raced in a lane next to Michael Phelps (USA) in a mixed relay, at a USA Vs AUS Duel in the pool, FINA declining to ratify the effort as a world record because the race conditions fell shy of requirements under FINA rules.
Back in Debrecen, Steffen's boyfriend Paul Biedermann followed up on his 400m victory yesterday by qualifying for 200m free semis at the helm, on 1:47.39 and the first of only three men inside 1:49 in heats.
Samuel Pizzetti (ITA), third in the 400m behind Biedermann yesterday, claimed lane 4 for the 1500m free final in 15:10.26, with 17-year-old teammate Gregorio Paltrinieri closest, on 15:11.06, and Hungarian Gergely Gyurta third through to the big one tomorrow evening on 15:15.01 ahead of Jan Wolfgarten (GER), 15:18.39, and Gergo Kis (HUN), silver medallist in the 400m, on 15:20.66.
Hungarian all-rounders Laszlo Cseh and David Verraszto swam into lane 4 for their respective semis of the 200m medley to give the hosts hope of another 1-2 finish in the final tomorrow.
The morning after Katinka Hosszu and Zsuszanna Jakabos took gold and silver in the 400m medley, Cseh cruised past all in heat 5 of the 200m with a 1:59.15 effort. Verraszto clocked 2:00.35, with Sweden's Simon Sjodin just 0.03sec away and Markus Rogan (AUT) a further 0.04sec away in a tight heat-4 clash.
German pair Caroline Ruhnau and Sarah Poewe set the pace in the 100m breaststroke, on 1:07.85 and 1:08.05 respectively.