Mare Nostrum Monte Carlo - Day 2
Jun 15, 2001 - Neville Smith
The 2001 Mare Nostrum Series came to a resounding end at the Stade Louis II complex in Monte Carlo on Wednesday evening.
Once again high performances were the order of the day with a number of swimmers providing the excitement
The evening's program got underway with the final eliminators in the 50m "dash" in all four strokes taking place. The fastest two would progress to a "one on one" shoot-out at the end of the meet.
The men's 400m Individual Medley was a cracker with the Canadian duo of Brian Johns and Curtis Myden mixing it with Aussie ace Grant McGregor.
After the first 100 it was Johns and McGregor who held the advantage, while Kiwi, Dean Kent made a move. Going into the breaststroke leg Kent held on, but the Aussie hit back and it was anyone's race. Myden chased and the crowd cheered, but Italian Lorenzo Sirigo (4:23.17) came charging down lane 8 to cause an upset when he edged out Myden (4:24.12) for the silver. McGregor claimed the title in convincing fashion in a time of 4:21.78.
The ladies 400m freestyle was thrown wide open when Claudia Poll from Costa Rica failed to make the start after aggravating an injury to her right ankle during the morning heats. Czech, Jana Pechanova surged into a commanding lead during the early stages of the race and threw the challenge down to the rest of the field. The Czech claimed the title in 4:16.01 while New Zealand's Karen Tait (4:18.40) surged past Penchanovas'compatriot Kristyna Kynerova (4:19.45) to claim a well deserved silver.
The men's 100m Butterfly was greatly anticipated and what a race this turned out to be. Germany's Thomas Rupprath posted a time of 54.72 during the morning preliminaries to claim the top seed ahead of Denis Sylantyev (54.81) from the Ukraine, Olympic gold medallist, Lars Frolander (54.87) from Sweden and local hopeful Georges Bagari (54.90) while Canadian "hard man" Michael Mintenko (55.12) could not be discounted.
Frolander threw down the challenge and held a slight advantage going into the wall. He came off the wall ahead of Ruppart and Sylantyev with Minteko lurking (24.97/25.05/25.09). The Swede turned on the gas coming home and claimed yet another title in 52.84 from Thomas Rupprath (52.90) while Sylantyev (53.40) held of the determined Mintenko (53.65) to claim the minor placing.
The ladies 200m butterfly followed with Natalie Turner (2:16.54) from England heading up a star studded field that included the likes of the Dane, Mette Jacobsen (2:16.85), Italy's Poala Cavallino (2:17.76) and Japanese teenager Kozue Watanabe (2:18.42). A surprise inclusion was the versatile Yana Klochkova from the Ukraine who posted a 2:17.77 while the diminutive South African stalwart Mandy Loots could never be discounted. Loots posted a 2:18.84 to qualify in sixth place.
After the first 75m the field had settled down and it was Jocobsen, Klochkova, Loots and Cavallino who matched each other stroke for stroke. The field spread and still it was the four that held the advantage coming into the final lap.
The men's 200m backstroke was saw Japanese teenager Toshifumi Takeuchi claim the top seed after the morning heats with a time of 2:03.71 well ahead of Croatian Gordan Kozulj who went a 2:05.13 ahead of Takeuchi's team-mate Takashi Nakano (2:05.26).
The trio seized the early initiative and were comfortably placed going into the last lap but Australian ace Ray Hass had other ideas as he sped down lane 2 to snatch the title in a time of 2:01.68 from the early pace setter Kozulj (2:01.71) who edged out Nakano (2:01.78) for the silver while Takeuchi had to settle for fourth place in 2:02.30.
While Li Yuan Qing headed the qualifiers in the ladies 100m backstroke, the Russian born Spaniard Nina Zhivanevskaya can never be discounted and she appeared to be swimming well within herself when she posted a 1:03.08 during the morning heats. South African Charlene Wittstock came into the final seeded third after posting a 1:04.24 in what was seen as a welcome return to form, while Brazilian stalwart Fabiola Molina (1:04.59) had a point to prove.
So did the Spaniard as she took the race from the gun and coming off the turn held a significant lead on the chasing pack. The diminutive Zhivanevskaya won comfortably in a time of 1:01.94 while Yuan Qing secured the silver in 1:02.80, while Japan's Arisa Murakawa raced down lane 8 to claim the bronze in 1:03.65 to edge out Molina (1:03.81) out of the medals.
Canadian ace Morgan Knabe (1:03.25) headed the field going into the men's 100m breaststoke final while the in form Jim Piper from Australia (1:03.29) could never be discounted. A serious threat lay with the east European duo of Czech, Daniel Malek (1:04.12) and Ukrainian Oleg Lisogor (1:04.18), while the Finn Jarno Pihlava (1:04.35) has had a good run of late.
In what can only be described as a pulsating affair, the race was decided in the death and it was the Czech, Malek who took the title in 1:02.01 from Lisogor (1:02.34) while the Canadian ace Knabe secured the minor placing in a time of 1:02.53.
Olympic medallist Amanda Beard from the USA All Stars team headed the qualifiers in the ladies 200m breaststroke in convincing fashion with a 2:31.51 ahead of China's Luo Nan (2:35.38) and Japan's Nanaka Tamura (2:35.63).
In yet another titanic struggle it was the All Star" who seized the early advantage but the powerful Nan hunted her down over the last lap and took the title in convincing fashion in a time of 2:27.07 while a disappointed Beard having to settle for silver in 2:28.04 with Tamura claiming the minor placing in 2:31.28.
Ian Thorpe from Australia came into the men's 200m freestyle as the top seed after posting a mediocre (by his high standards) 1:52.07 ahead of Canadian Brian Johns (1:52.62) and his compatriots Todd Pearson (1:53.91) and Bill Kirby (1:53.94).
Thopedo was off like a flash and was well ahead of the field going into the first turn and it was catch up after that. Slightly off world record pace the young Aussie powered his way to yet another Mare Nostrum title when he smashed Sweden's Anders Holmertz 1994 meet record of 1:49.09, with a classy 1:45.75. Compatriot Bill Kirby secured the silver in a time of 1:49.10 while it was Czech, Kvetoslav Svoboda who claimed the bronze in a time of 1:50.19 from lane 1.
The ladies 100m freestyle was another event that saw early domination and this time it was the Swede, Johanna Sjoberg who claimed the title in convincing fashion in a time of 56.20 from Denmark's Mette Jackobsen (56.66). Italian Christina Chiuso was good enough to take the bronze comfortably in 57.16 ahead of Spain's Susana Garabatos who posted a time of 58.40.
The ladies 200m Individual Medley was a cracker. With Ukrainian Yana Klochkova having a heavy program on this the final day of the current series, not much could be seen into her qualifying for the final in pedestrian 2:22.69, behind Liang Shuang (China) who went a 2:19.82 ahead of Canadian Marianne Limpert (2:19.86) and Czech Hana Netrefova (2:22.69).
It was however Shuang who triumphed in a new meet record of 2:15.42 to eclipse that of Canadian great, Joanne Malar of 2:15.92 which was established in 1999. A wary Klochkova settled for the silver in a time of 2:16.79 holding off a game Limpert who recorded a 2:16.93 to claim the bronze.
The finals of the 50m "speed" competitions followed and the capacity crowd once again witnessed some fast sprinting.
The butterfly events were first up and it was Lars Frolander who sped to a new record of 23.85 ahead of Finlands 'Jere Hurd who conceded in a time of 23.95. Frolander eclipsed his previous mark of 23.88. Compatriot, Johanna Sjoberg kept the Swedish flag flying when she held of a fast finishing Mandy Loots from South Africa to make it a Swedish double in the butterfly events. Sjoberg posted a 27.54 while the diminutive South African had to settle for a 27.81.
The backstroke events followed and it was triple Olympic gold medallist Lenny Krayzelburg up against the South African scholar Gerhard Zandberg. Despite being the novice it was Zandberg who towered over Krayzelburg before the start, however the All Star took the title in a time of 25.74 a tad off his meet record of 25.72 while Zandberg was content with his 26.17.
The ladies event was another humdinger with Germany's Sandra Volker taking advantage of Spaniard Nina Zhivanevskaya's poor start to claim the title comfortably in a time of 28.30 while Nina posted a disappointing 29.26. Volkers' time equaled her meet record.
Next up was the breaststroke and in a clash of the eastern Europeans it was Oleg Lisogor from the Ukraine and Czech speedster, Daniel Malek who came head to head. The Ukrainian had a fantastic start and it was always going to be catch-up for the game Czech. Lisogor won in a time of 27.92 to eclipse his meet record of 28.10 while Malek had to be content with a 28.27.
The ladies 50m breaststroke saw the closest finish of the tournament when South African ace Sarah Poewe held off the determined USA All Stars star, Amanda Beard to claim the title by the narrowest margin. It was Poewe who came up first but with Beard matching her stroke for stroke the result was only decided in the death. Poewe claimed the title in 31.89 while Beard went a 31.90 much to the delight of the capacity crowd.
In the highlight of the evening it was "The Czar", the great Alex Popov of Russia who streaked ahead of the Algerian ace Salim Iles to claim the title in a new meet record of 21.91 when he slashed a massive, 15 off his previous mark established in 1999. Despite Iles having a lightning fast start Popov won by half a body length in stylish fashion. Iles's time was 22.68.
Johanna Sjoberg claimed the ladies title in convincing fashion when she posted a 25.76 ahead of Italian Cristina Chiuso who went a 26.30.
This brought to an end a very well organized and highly competitive 2001 Mare Nostrum Series.
Barcelona Summary of top performances June 1-3 1) 989 28.82 W 50 back H Nina Zhivanevskaya,77,ESP 2) 983 1:57.17 M 200 fly F Denis Sylantyev,76,UKR 3) 976 2:26.86 W 200 breast F Nan Luo,80,CHN 4) 975 24.21 M 50 fly F Jere Hard,78,FIN 975 1:59.38 W 200 free F Claudia Poll,72,CRC 6) 969 24.30 M 50 fly F Lars Frolander,74,SWE 969 22.34 M 50 free F Alexander Popov,71,RUS 969 4:41.82 W 400 im F Yana Klochkova,82,UKR 969 1:59.85 M 200 back F Markus Rogan,82,AUT 10) 967 2:00.03 W 200 free F Elka Graham,81,AUS Canet Summary of top performances June 5-6 1) 1019 1:44.97 M 200 free F Ian Thorpe,82,AUS 2) 990 52.61 M 100 fly F Lars Frolander,74,SWE 3) 989 54.62 W 100 free F Inge de Bruijn,73,NED 4) 982 4:08.91 W 400 free F Claudia Poll,72,CRC 5) 980 4:09.22 W 400 free F Irina Oufimtseva,85,RUS 980 22.18 M 50 free F Alexander Popov,71,RUS 7) 976 1:59.26 M 200 back F Gordan Kozulj,76,CRO 976 58.80 W 100 fly F Martina Moravcova,76,SVK 9) 973 53.25 M 100 fly F Denis Sylantyev,76,UKR 10) 970 1:08.80 W 100 breast F Sarah Poewe,83,RSA Rome Summary of top performances June 9-10 1) 999 3:44.71 M 400 free F Ian Thorpe,82,AUS 2) 997 1:56.00 M 200 fly F Denis Sylantyev,76,UKR 3) 990 2:12.42 M 200 breast F Jim Piper,81,AUS 4) 985 52.82 M 100 fly F Lars Frolander,74,SWE 5) 984 22.11 M 50 free F Alexander Popov,71,RUS 6) 983 3:47.32 M 400 free F Massi Rosolino,78,ITA 7) 979 1:59.02 W 200 free F Claudia Poll,72,CRC 8) 976 4:09.92 W 400 free F Irina Oufimtseva,85,RUS 9) 973 4:41.10 W 400 im F Yana Klochkova,82,UKR 10) 972 2:27.22 W 200 breast F Amanda Beard,81,USA Monte Carlo Summary of top performances June 12-13 1) 1018 3:41.71 M 400 free F Ian Thorpe,82,AUS 2) 1015 28.30 W 50 back S Sandra Volker,74,GER 3) 997 21.91 M 50 free F Alexander Popov,71,RUS 4) 996 23.85 M 50 fly F Lars Frolander,74,SWE 5) 994 28.73 W 50 back Q Nina Zhivanevskaya,77,ESP 6) 991 2:12.41 M 200 breast F Jim Piper,81,AUS 7) 990 23.95 M 50 fly F Jere Hard,78,FIN 8) 989 27.92 M 50 breast F Oleg Lisogor,79,UKR 9) 985 1:57.01 M 200 flyL F Denis Sylantyev,76,UKR 10) 984 25.72 M 50 back S Lenny Krayzelburg,75,USA F = final S = semi final Q = quarter final H = preliminaries