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100th WR of Year: Leveaux's 44.94 100 Free Bombshell

Dec 13, 2008  - Craig Lord

Rijeka - European s/c Championships, Day 3 finals and semis: 

  • WR: 44.94 Leveaux (FRA) 100 free
  • WR: 1:50.60 Svkortsov (RUS) 200 'fly
  • WR: 26.23 Jovanovic (CRO) 50 back
  • ER: 49.66 Wildeboer (ESP) 100 back
  • ER and world best for Dutch medley divas
  • 101 WRs so far this year
  • 127 ERs so far this year

The face of swimming changed beyond recognition at the European short-course championships in Rijeka as Amaury Leveaux, of France, stunned the sport with the 100th world record of a year in which high-tech suit technology has rocketed the sport a decade ahead of itself. Leveaux's 44.94sec victory in the 100m freestyle compares to the 45.83 at which the sprint mark stood until last weekend. A second gain over 100m is unheard of. The world record fell to France's Alain Bernard in 45.69 only last weekend. Leveaux got past that with a 45.12 effort in the semi-finals on Saturday that sent shock waves rippling around the world of swimming.

Leveaux, 23 and from Mulhouse, said: "I desperately wanted to break that mythical barrier of 45 seconds - and I did it!" No one else came remotely close. Silver went to teammate Fabien Gilot in 45.84 and bronze to 2007 world l/c champion Filippo Magnini (ITA), in 46.62.

Just 13 months ago, the world mark stood at 46.74 to Russian Alex Popov, quadruple Olympic champion. That time is now the 39th best effort ever.

10 of the best from Leveaux (my, what a leap this year):

  • 44.94 Dec 2008
  • 45.12 Dec 2008
  • 45.76 Dec 2008
  • 46.26 Dec 2008
  • 46.41 Dec 2008
  • 47.51 Dec 2007
  • 47.68 Dec 2007
  • 47.81 Dec 2007
  • 47.97 Dec 2007
  • 48.26 Dec 2005

Here's the extent of the dominance of a man who now has 3 of the best 4 times ever, all from Rijeka:

  • 44.94 Leveaux, Amaury FRA (lifetime best Feb 1, 2008: 47.51)
  • 45.69 Bernard, Alain FRA
  • 45.81 Gilot, Fabien FRA
  • 45.83 Nystrand, Stefan SWE
  • 46.25   Schoeman, Roland RSA
  • 46.25 Crocker, Ian USA
  • 46.37 Magnini, Filippo ITA
  • 46.51 Bousquet, Frederick FRA
  • 46.64 Draganja, Duje CRO
  • 46.64 Lagunov, Evgeni RUS

All-time top 10, Jan 2008: 

  • 45.83 Nystrand, Stefan SWE
  • 46.25 Crocker, Ian USA
  • 46.25 Schoeman, Roland RSA
  • 46.39 Bernard, Alain FRA
  • 46.52 Magnini, Filippo ITA
  • 46.54 Gilot, Fabien FRA
  • 46.64 Draganja, Duje CRO
  • 46.74 Popov, Alexander RUS
  • 46.75 Frolander, Lars SWE
  • 46.81 vdHoogenband, Pieter NED 

The timewarp that the sport is travelling down thanks to compression suits, wet suits and garments that use polyurethane panels and neoprene saw two other world marks tumble in Rijeka: after Nikolay Skortsov, of Russia, clocked 1:50.60 in the 200m butterfly, Sanja Jovanovic delighted a home crowd with 26.23 to win the 50m backstroke. The third day of action closed with a world best time to the Dutch women's quartet in the 4x50m medley, their 1:45.73 effort matching the time clocked by Australians in Canberra earlier this year. The Dutch effort established the 127th European record of the year. 

The 50m back standard had stood to the new champion at 26.37 since she became world champion in April this year. Silver went to Kateryna Zubkova (UKR) in 26.65, and bronze to Elena Gemo (ITA) in 26.77, while Hinkelien Schreuder  (NED) and Elizabeth Simmonds (GBR), dipped under 27sec for the first time and helped to rewrite the all-time top 10 thus:

The new-look all-time top 10:



  • 26.23 Jovanovic CRO RIJEKA
  • 26.65 Zubkova UKR RIJEKA
  • 26.70 Gao CHN 2008
  • 26.77 Gemo ITA RIJEKA 
  • 26.78 Schreuder NED RIJEKA
  • 26.83 Li, Hui 2002 
  • 26.84 Gostomelsky ISR 2008 
  • 26.85 Coventry ZIM 2008
  • 26.88 Simmonds GBR RIJEKA 
  • 26.89 Samulski GER 2008


The all-time top ten Feb 1, 2008:



  • 26.50 Jovanovic CRO
  • 26.83 Li CHN
  • 26.92 Pietsch GER
  • 26.94 Buschschulte GER
  • 27.00 Nakamura JPN
  • 27.06 Hlavackova CZE
  • 27.08 Coughlin USA
  • 27.13 Manaudou FRA
  • 27.14 Cope, Haley USA
  • 27.19 Gao, Chang CHN


The ripples of the best woman swimmer in the world in 2007 are felt yet. Laure Manaudou's remaining world record survived another assault, as Coralie Balmy clocked 3:56.39 ahead of France teammate Camille Muffat in 3:57.48. The bronze went to Alessia Filippi (ITA) in 4:59.35. The key to getting past Manaudou is to get out harder. The French pair came back harder than their world-record-holding teammate had done in 2006 but they left it too late to wipe out a time that was extraordinary for its time and was swum in a pre-2008 suit. Who says records can't be broken without a performance-enhancer. 



Doing the French splits - how France's fair 400m musketeers did the job:


  • Balmy: 57.91; 1:58.28; 2:58.31; 3:56.39
  • Muffat: 58.03; 1:58.77; 2:58.74; 3:57.48
  • Manaudou (Dec 2006 in a pre-tech suit): 56.19; 1:55.81; 2:56.26; 3:56.09


Balmy said: "It was avery tactical race, because I still feel tired from yesterday's 800m. I controlled the field and then sprinted the last 25m." The win gained, the record will surely come one day. Muffat was happy with a 2sec gain in a new event in her portfolio, while Filippi was happy with her Italian record.

And here's the change to the all-time top 10, Feb 1, 2008 and now (not long before a top 10 all under 4mins:

Feb 1, 2008


  • 3:56.09 Manaudou FRA
  • 3:59.53 Benko USA
  • 3:59.94 Barratt AUS
  • 3:59.96 Pellegrini ITA
  • 4:00.03 Poll CRC
  • 4:00.80 Popchanka FRA
  • 4:01.04 Yamada JPN
  • 4:01.12 Jackson GBR
  • 4:01.17 Graham AUS
  • 4:01.26 Klochkova UKR


The shockwaves still rippling from Leveaux's blast, coaches stage deckside protest to call on FINA to ban bodysuits, ban compression, ban core stabilisation, bio feedback, introduce independent testing



  • 3:56.09 Manaudou
  • 3:56.24 Balmy (last season best: 4:02.52)
  • 3:57.48 Mufatt FRA (-)
  • 3:59.23 Palmer
  • 3:59.35 Filippi ITA (4:03.25)
  • 3:59.53 Benko
  • 3:59.94 Barratt
  • 3:59.96 Pellegrini ITA
  • 4:00.03 Poll
  • 4:00.62 Potec ROM (4:01.06)


The European record - the 123rd of the year so far -fell to Aschwin Wildeboer (ESP) in the first semi-final of the 100m backstroke. Just 0.03sec shy of the world record set by Peter Marshall (USA) on world cup tour in Berlin last month.  Where Marshall was out in 23.85, Wildeboer was out in 23.78

The session got underway with Federico Colbertaldo (ITA), trailed by Vitaly Romanovich (RUS) some five metres back for much of the race beyond 600m, crunching out a 14:21.34 victory in the 1,500m freestyle. The Russian came home in 14:29.64, and the bronze went to Samuel Pizzetti (ITA) in 14:31.60. The champion's best ever, from 2007, was 14:31.31, while the 21-year-old Russian, who had no registered time a year ago short-course set a pb of 14:39 at home last month. If Pizzetti had also clocked a pb of 14:39 last month, his 2007 pb was 14:52.29. 

Now then, what about this one. Ombretta Plos (ITA). At 27 she's found her form at last. In 1:05.68 she zipped through into lane four of the final of the 100m breaststroke. Her lifetime best in February this year: 1:08.16. In 2006, 1:10.59; in 2005, 1:12.46. Bottle the secret before it escapes is what I say. She wore a black number of that horrible golden number worn by the Italy relays in Beijing. That's 2.42sec better within 11 months over a 100m breaststroke at the age of 27. Amazing things these suits.

In the semi-finals of the 50m backstroke, Hinkelien Schreuder (NED) set a national record of 27.08 ahead of Elizabeth Simmonds (GBR), who set her fourth national record in three days, 27.25 to 27.17 from heats to semi-finals of the 50m. Next semi saw Sanja Jovanovic (CRO) take lane four in the final in 27.07, with Kateryna Zubkova (UKR) equalling Simmonds's time.

The session ended with the Dutch women's medley quartet equalling Australia's world best time in the 4x50m medley with a 1:46.73 victory. That marked the 127th European record of the year. The winning splits:


  • Ranomi Kromowidjojo - 27.36
  • Moniek Nijhuis - 30.09
  • Hinkelien Schreuder - 25.23
  • Marleen Veldhuis - 23.05