And here's how the picture looked on Feb 1, 2008:
- 22.60 Almeida, Kaio BRA
- 22.71 Crocker, Ian USA
- 22.74 Huegill, Geoff AUS
- 22.82 Welsh, Matt AUS
- 22.84 Ferns, Lyndon RSA
- 22.87 Foster, Mark GBR
- 22.89 Cavic, Milorad SRB
- 22.90 Korotyshkin, Evgeni RUS
- 22.92 Schoeman, Roland RSA
- 22.94 Dietrich, Johannes GER
That 22.82 of Matt Welsh was the world record in 2004. It is now the 28th best performance ever, with 11 individual men faster than the Australian. Not the kind of speed and scale of slide down the league that we are used to seeing for world-record swims. Also inside Welsh's best ever this morning were Fred Bousquet (FRA) in 22.65 and Milorad Cavis (SRB) in 22.70.
Elsewhere this morning, we've seen a swimmer racing with a full bodysuit, wetsuit lookalike, made by a newcomer to the pool underneath a standard cut adidas suit. So, you get the full float while honouring a contract signed by your national federation. Neat solution. Or perhaps not. Not least of all because the swimmer in question stands to be fined euros 50,000 by her federation. She is 16 years old. Of course, the DSV will impose no penalty. They know they live in a mad world right now.
It is the kind of world that coaches and indeed FINA want to see an and to. Given that the will is there to do so, the move must be made before Rome 2009. Not after it. FINA's wheel needs to turn more quickly on the suit issue than the standard "60 days after Rome" if Rome is to avoid the kind of atmosphere that visited it in another guise back in 1994. Given that the Eternal City of spending a fair amount of money to deliver a great championships, organisers might want to have their voice heard on the suits issue. Silence now may well come back to haunt them in July next year.
The madness continued in the 200m freestyle, with line-up after line-up of double-suited swimmers splashing up and down. Fastest-qualifier and Olympi champion repeated her practice from Beijing as she took Lane 4 of the final in Rijeka: wearing a wetsuit-like black number signed up for by her federation, above a standard cut Arena suit, Pellegrini clocked 1:54.47 ahead of world record holder Coralie Balmy (FRA), on 1:55.43. In between, Daria Belyakina (RUS) on 1:54.97, Femke Heemskerk (NED) on 1:54.98 and Kira Volodina (RUS) on 1:55.41.
The stark reality of bodysuit v briefs and new tech v supercharged tech was on full display in the the men's 200m freestyle. Markus Deibler's suit popped in the ready room - so the German wore adidas briefs. He clocked 1:50.32 after struggling length by length to stay in contention. By the 150m mark, he had lost touch and hope. It was impossible for him to compete evenly. Next heat and teammate and world record holder Paul Biedermann bombed out in his adidas leggings. No place in the final. Daniil Izotov (RUS) clocked 1:43.26 to claim lane 4 in the final. Biedermann languished on 1:44.55.
The 400m medley qualifiers were led by Mireia Belmonte (ESP) in 4:31.47, with Alessia Filippi (ITA) and Hannah Miley (GBR) second and third through on 4:31.70 and 4:31.97. Marleen Veldhuis (NED) led the way in the 50m free heats on 24.16, with Jeannette Ottesen (DEN) next best in 24.25. Edoardo Giorgetti (ITA) took lane 4 in the 200m breaststroke final with a 2:06.47.
In the last solo heat of the morning, Alexandra Putra (FRA) set the second-fastest time ever, a European record of 2:02.36 in the 200m backstroke. The standard had stood to Elizabeth Simmonds at 2:02.60 since world championships in March. Check out Putra's progress:
Best 5 before this morning:
- 2:08.04 Dec 2004
- 2:09.30 Nov 2004
- 2:09.34 Dec 2007
- 2:10.03 Dec 2004
- 2:11.29 Nov 2005
France is swimming beyond its suits, which cannot account for all of the Gallic progress in the pool. Here's how the session finished: a world best time and the 129th European record of the year in the 4x50m freestyle - 1:22.38. That's 1.79sec faster than the time in which Sweden held the standard at since this time last year. The splits:
- Alain Bernard 20.77
- Fabien Gilot 20.54
- Antoine Galavtine 20.95
- Fred Bousquet 20.12.