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Mare Nostrum - Canet - Day 2

Jun 7, 2001  - Neville Smith

The second day of the XIV Arena International meet, the second in the 2001 Mare Nostrum Series played out to capacity crowd at Canet en Roussillon on Wednesday evening at the Europa Center.

The public came to witness the "gathering of the Champions" and they were not disappointed.

First up was the 100m freestyle and it was "The Flying Dutchwoman" Inge de Bruin who scorched her way to a new meet record when she demolished Sue Rolph's 1999 mark of 55.56 when she went an impressive 54.62.

De Bruin was out of the blocks in a flash and despite the intentions of Martina Maracova (55.77) it was clear that Inge was in Canet on a mission. Going into the wall she held an advantage (26.38 / 26.86) and then effortlessly extended this to claim the title comfortably.

Canada's Marianne Limpert took third place in 57.03 ahead of a fast finishing field.

The men's event saw Algerian ace Salim Illes seize an early advantage and he led the field into the turn, closely pursued by Russia's Alex Popov and Lars Frolander from Sweden (23.94 / 24.27 / 24.27). But "The Czar" stepped the pace up coming home to claim the title in a swift 49.75 from the game Algerian (50.26) with a fast finishing Todd Pearson (50.49) from Australia edging out Frolander (50.51) for the minor placing.

The ladies 200m Butterfly followed and it was the Danish duo of Mette Jacobsen and Sophia Skou who were involved in a "ding dong" battle with Canada's Audrey Lacroux and South African Mandy Loots.

The lead changed amongst the four, but it was Jacobsen (2:11.06) who triumphed over compatriot, Skou (2:12.03) while Lacroux (2:13.25) edged out a tiring Loots (2:13.51) to claim the bronze.

The men's event was dominated by the Russian duo of Denys Sylantyev and Anatol Poliakov who dominated proceedings from the gun. Sylanteyev won gracefully in 1:59.59 followed by Poliakov (1:59.59) with Australia's William Kirby (1:59.62) coming in third place.

The 400m Individual Medley items were two great races but for very different reasons.

In the ladies event, Yana Klochkova from the Ukraine totally demolished the field in an awesome display of power swimming. Going out with determination, Klochkova systematically opened up a massive lead over a game Shuang Liang from China and won comfortably in a new meet record of 4:41.04 to shave, 02 off her existing record established a year ago. Liang finished claimed second place in 4:53.73 while Carrie Burgoyne from Canada secured the bronze in 4:57.72.

The men's event proved to be one of the most thrilling of the series so far. Curtis Myden is a man on a mission and the likeable Canadian started in Canet this evening.

Going out hard from the gun he was involved in an exciting tussle with Australian Grant McGregor and Israeli, Mickey Halika. Myden led through the butterfly, however McGregor pulled slightly ahead after the backstroke leg. Coming off the breaststroke and Myden had regained the lead marginally and it was down to the last 100m of freestyle. Meanwhile Halika was lurking and always-in contention. With 20m to go the race could have gone three ways, but it was McGregor (4:22.44) who finished the stronger ahead of Myden (4:22.60) with Halika (4:23.61) having to settle for bronze.

"It was OK, but not exactly where I wanted it to be." said the blonde haired Canadian after the race.

"But with two more meets to improve on this performance, so I expect things should be ready for Japan." Myden concluded.

The 200m breaststroke saw yet another meet record rewritten when Amanda Beard from the USA, South African Sarah Poewe and the powerful Chinese star Nan Lou kept the capacity crowd on the edges of their seats. Poewe again was off the blocks in a flash and held the early advantage, but a determined Beard seized the intuitive on the second fifty and edged ahead of her rivals and go on to win in 2:27.73 slicing 1.26 off Hungarian Agnes Kovacs 1998 meet record. Poewe (2:28.88) secured silver with Luo (2:29.53) taking the bronze.

The men's event was just as exciting with Australian Jim Piper (2:12.40) swimming his way to a new meet record when he eclipsed Russian Andrei Ivanovs' long standing record (1995) of 2:12.94. Dimitri Komornikov from Russia was edged into second place with a fast 2:12.63 while Frances' Yohan Bernard was good enough to take bronze in 2:14.37.

In the 400m Freestyle Claudia Poll was pushed all the way when she smashed her 1997 mark of 4:10.97 in an exciting tussle with the Russian duo of Irna Oufimtseva (4:09.22) and Nadeshda Chemezova (4:16.18). The Costa Rican's time was a fast 4:08.91.

The men's event saw Australian sensation Ian Thorpe totally dominate proceedings from the gun when he won the event comfortably in 4:51.47 a tad off Russian Yevgeny Sadovyis' long standing record of 3:50.94 established way back in 1993. France's Nicholas Rostoucher took the silver in 3:55.54 edging out a game Alexei Fillipets from Russia (3:56.70) who had to settle for the minor placing.

The meet concludes on Thursday.