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WR: Leveaux 20.48 50 Free; 5 More ERs For Tally Of 114

Dec 11, 2008  - Craig Lord

Rijeka - European s/c Champs - day 1 semis and finals: 

  • Leveaux (FRA) crushes 50 free world record in semis; claims crown in 20.63
  • Artemyeva (RUS) sets ER of 29.77 in 50 breast semi
  • Segat (ITA): 2:07.03 200m medley ER
  • 96 WRs fallen so far this year
  • 114 European records so far this year
  • Italy reclaim 4x50 medley world best and ER
  • Wildeboer equals ER 50m back leading off Spain relay

Amaury Leveaux (FRA) crushed the world 50m free s/c record in the second semi at the European s/c Championships in Rijeka. The standard had stood to Roland Schoeman (RSA) at 20.64. The record stood at 20.93 at the start of this year.

"I came to these championships with empty pockets," said Leveaux, who in Angers last weekend set a world s/c record of 22.29 in the 50m butterfly. "No record [freestyle], no title. I'm going home with a world record and championship title. In the final I wasn't bothered about the time - I desperately wanted to win."

The Frenchman, coached in Mulhouse by Lionel Horter, streamlined out of his dive like a bullet cutting through thin air on his way to a time that marks a staggering gain for the 23-year-old in the past year. Later in the session Leveaux claimed the title in 20.63 in a blistering battle with teammate Fred Bousquet, second in 20.68, third-fastest ever. The world record that stood to Stefan Nystrand at the start of the year has now been beaten by nine performances and four men.

The new all-time top 10: 

  • 20.48 Leveaux FRA
  • 20.64 Schoeman RSA
  • 20.68 Bousquet FRA
  • 20.81 Draganja CRO
  • 20.93 Nystrand SWE
  • 21.03 Bernard FRA
  • 21.10 Nalesso ITA
  • 21.11 Gilot FRA
  • 21.13 Foster GBR
  • 21.15 Lagunov RUS

 Just 10 months ago, the picture was:

  • 20.93 Nystrand SWE
  • 20.98 Schoeman RSA
  • 21.02 Bousquet FRA
  • 21.13 Foster GBR
  • 21.18 Brunelli USA
  • 21.23 Draganja CRO
  • 21.24 Bernard FRA
  • 21.28 Ferns RSA
  • 21.31 Sullivan AUS
  • 21.31 Jones USA

This time 12 months ago, Leveaux was ranked 34th in the world with a best time of 21.56. A year before that, his best was 22.28. Not talking 100m here. But 50m.

Here is how Leveaux has leapt into the future:

  • 20.48 Dec 2008
  • 20.80 Dec 2008
  • 20.95 Dec 2008
  • 21.16 Dec 2008
  • 21.56 Dec 2007
  • 22.25 Dec 2005
  • 22.28 Dec 2006
  • 22.31 Jan 2006
  • 22.47 Oct 2007
  • 22.67 Dec 2004
  • 22.78 Nov 2004 

Leveaux's blast was followed up by a 29.77 European record for Russian Valentina Artemyeva in the 50m breaststroke semi. In the morning heats she had set the standard at 29.83. She later claimed the crown in 29.96.

Francesca Segat (ITA) sped to a 2:07.03sec European record to claim the 200m medley title. The record had stood at 2:07.47 to Mireia Belmonte (ESP) since she won silver at world s/c champs back in April. Belmonte was back in 6th on 2:09.57 in Rijeka. The silver went to Evelyn Verraszto (HUN) in 2:07.93, the bronze to Sophie de Ronchi (FRA), on 2:08.10, which locked Britain's Hannah Miley out in a national record of 2:08.31. A year ago, Segat's best remained a 2:11.71 from 2005. The Hungarian's pb: 2:09.82; the Frenchwoman's pb: 2:09.69. The 200m medley is an event transformed.

The top 10 all-time at the start of this year:

  • 2:07.79 Wagner USA
  • 2:08.11 Sandeno USA
  • 2:08.28 Klochkova UKR
  • 2:08.55 Moravcova SVK
  • 2:08.77 Qi, Hui CHN
  • 2:08.88 Coventry ZIM
  • 2:08.95 Muffat FRA
  • 2:09.20 Manaudou FRA
  • 2:09.21 Dai CHN
  • 2:09.25 Baranowska HUN

The all-time top 10 now:

  • 2:06.13 Coventry ZIM
  • 2:06.49 Smith USA
  • 2:07.03      Segat ITA
  • 2:07.47 Belmonte ESP
  • 2:07.79 Wagner USA
  • 2:07.93      Verraszto HUN
  • 2:07.94 Muffat FRA
  • 2:08.10       De Ronchi FRA
  • 2:08.11 Sandeno USA
  • 2:08.28 Klochkova UKR
In other action:

400m freestyle final: Paul Biedermann (GER) set a championship record of 3:37.73 to claim the crown ahead of Massi Rosolino (ITA), on a best time of 3:39.33 at the age of 30 and eight years past his best 400m in a long-course pool. The bronze went to Mads Glaesner (DEN), on 3:39.77. Biedermann set the European record of 3:34.98 at German nationals on Nov 30. The title was Biedermann's first continental short-course crown and represents Germany's first short-course triumph over 400m at world or European level ever. 

Biedermann said: I'm very disappointed with my winning time but winning the title is a great success, of course. My tactics - to decide the race in the last 100m - paid off." For Rosolino, silver marked the 59th international medal of his career. He was pleased to siwm a personal best at 30 years of age. 

200m backstroke final: a joint win for Stanislav Donets (RUS) and Aschwin Wildeboer (ESP) as they stopped the clock in 1:49.22, a championship record. The bronze going to Pierre Roger (FRA) in 1:52.26. Donets improved 1.23sec and Wildeboer 2.14sec. Roger also shaved a little off his best, by 0.23sec. Wildeboer is the first Spaniard ever to win a backstroke s/c crown.

100m backstroke semi-finals: Laure Manaudou (FRA) led qualifiers through in 57.38, just 0.04sec shy of a best time that ranks her fourth-fastest ever. There are now 12 women inside 58sec. A year ago there were four.

100m butterfly semi-finals: Rafael Munoz (ESP) led qualifiers in 50.17, an improvement of 1.01sec on the year.

 100m breaststroke semi-finals: Igor Borysik (UKR) set a championship record of 57.73 to lead qualifiers. James Gibson (GBR) and Edoardo Giorgetti (ITA) followed on in 58.29 and 58.31 respectively.

200m butterfly final: Petra Granlund (SWE) claimed the lead from Aurore Mongel (FRA) down the seventh length and went on to win the crown in 2:04.27. Mongel took silver in 2:04.73, with bronze going to Jemma Lowe (GBR) in 2:04.78.

200m medley final: James Goddard (GBR) led from start to finish, crushing the opposition with a 1:53.46 win, the seventh best all-time. A backstroke specialist who intends to keep the 200m back as one of his key events, Goddard was just 0.47sec shy of the championship record set by Laszlo Cseh (HUN), the Olympic triple silver medallist, a year ago. Silver in Rijeka went to Vytautus Janusaitis (LTU) in 1:54.51, bronze to Alan Cabello (ESP) in 1:55.70.

100m freestyle semi-finals: after her morning 51.91sec blast, Merleen Veldhuis (NED) eased off the gas and swam stroke for stroke in the semi-final with Hanna Maria Seppala (FIN), the race ending in favour of the Finn 52.28 to 52.35, with Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) third through in a national record of 52.49 that compares with a best time of 53.94 a year ago.

4x50m medley final: After Russia claimed the world best time and European record from Italy in a heats trade off, the Italians claimed the standard back to claim the title in 1:32.91. Germany and Russia shared silver in 1:33.31. Aschwin Wildboer (ESP), having on the 200m back, led the Spain team off in a European record of 23.27, equal to the time that Thomas Rupprath holds as his second best. A 23.23 from 2002 does not count because Rupprath did not take an anti-doping test after that swim.


The record-setting Italy quartet:


  • Mirco di Tora, 23.95; Alessandro Terrin, 25.71; Merco Belotti,  22.53; Filippo Magnini, 20.72.