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Mare Nostrum Barcelona - Day 2

Jun 3, 2001  - Neville Smith

The second day of competition of the City of Barcelona Championships at the Club Natacio Sant Andreu saw some exceptional performances and has set the stage for a highly competitive 2001 Mare Nostrum Series.

The belle of the ball was again that lady Martina Maricova who scorched her way to an impressive victory in the 100m butterfly when she posted a 59.20 well ahead of the chasing pack. The Slovakian was always in control a turned on the gas coming home to leave the field in her wake. Spain's Mirela Garcia came home second in 1:00.70 with Australia's Lara Davenport ( 1:01.12) getting the touch ahead of the chasing pack.

The men's final saw an exciting tussle between Olympic medallist Lars Frolander from Sweden and Denys Sylantyev from the Ukraine.

Frolander led into the turn but the chasing trio was closing and with the wall in site it was Sylantyev who made his move to edge out the Swede to take the title convincingly in 53.28. Frolander followed with a 53.28 while Spain's Robert (54.72) held off Theo Verster (55.10) from South Africa to secure the bronze.

Claudia Poll from Costa Rica is a lady in a hurry and this afternoon's 200m freestyle was no exception. Leading from the start, she was never challenged and won the event comfortably in 1:59.38 while Australian Elke Graham took the silver comfortably in 2:00.03 followed by the Dane, Mette Jackobson (2:01.02).

The 200m freestyle for men saw multiple NCAA champion, South African Ryk Neethling take it out hard and coming in to the first 100 he was neck and neck with Hungarian Attila Zubor and the race was on. Going into the 150 mark and there was nothing between the two however Sweden's Olaf Faber had other ideas and he made a move on the leaders. Going into the home stretch it was anyone's race but nobody told local lad Jorge Ulibarri who had a massive last lap to snatch bronze from Neethling( 1:52.17)

South African Sarah Poewe got off to a scorching start in the 100m Breaststroke in a greatly anticipated clash with Olympic medallist Amanda Beard from the United States and China's Lou Nan.

Poewe( 1:09.14) led into the turn and powered her way to her second gold of the meet edging out Beard (1:09.31) in the closest finish of the Championships. The anticipated threat from Nan (1:10.31) never materialized and the Chinese lass had to settle for bronze.

A delighted Karoley von Torros had this to say after the race, "There are three girls in the world that Sarah wants to beat anytime, Megan Quann, Agnes Kovacs and Amanda Beard. This has been an excellent motivation for Sarah and I believe it was this that enabled her to hang on and beat Amanda this afternoon."

" It was a good race, she went out very fast, the turn this time was good but not always and her fighting capability was at the highest in the final meters."

"I'm very happy." concluded von Toros."

The men's event saw Oleg Lisagor from Hungary take the title in a new meet record of 1:02.17 from the mornings'fastest qualifier Finland's Irano Philavio (1:04.14) while Canada's Chad Thomsen did well to take the bronze ahead of the chasing pack in 1:04.39.

Nina Zhivanevskala had the home crowd on its feet when she won the 200m Backstroke comfortably in a time 2:13.58. The Spaniard was shadowed by Australian Clemintine Stoney who took the silver in 2:14.09 comfortably ahead of bronze medallist Toshie Abe (2:15.00) from Japan.

The men's event saw Austrain Markas Rogan set a blistering pace to take the title and set anew meet record of 1:59.85 ahead of Hungarian Peter Horvath (2:01.61) and Japan's Takashi Nakano who filled the minor placing in 2:01.95.

Yana Klochova is a lady with a mission and this afternoon she showed what can only be deemed "real class" when she totally demolished the field in the 400m Individual medley. She led from the gun and was never challenged. Her time of 4:41.82 was a new meet record. Hana Netrafova (4:47.20) edged out China's Liang Shuang (4:47.32) while Italian Federica Biscia (4:47.74) was unlucky not to be amongst the silverware.

The men' event saw an exciting finish when Israel's Mickey Halika (4:24.80) chased down early pace setter Dean Kent from New Zealand. But it was in vain as Kent took the title in 4:24.20 with Batiste Levaillant secured bronze with a distant 4:28.64.

In the 50m freestyle Martina Maricova once again showed her versatility when she took the title in 25.91 from New Zealander, Vivienne Rignall in a pulsating final. Rignall (26.09) took the silver convincingly from Australian Judith Draxler (26.20).

While in the men's final it was that man Alex Popov who set the crowd abuzz with an emphatic victory over Poland's Bartosz Kizirowski (22.62) and South African , Nick Folker (23.20). The Czar was in fine fettle winning comfortably in 22.34.

The meet concludes on Sunday.