Biedermann Retains 200m Crown: 1:46.06
Aug 11, 2010 - Craig Lord
European Championships, Budapest, day 3 finals:
Men 200m freestyle
Not the riot of Rome on the clock but Paul Biedermann (GER) retained his European crown in commanding fashion with a 1:46.06 victory ahead of fast-finishing Nikita Lobintsev (RUS), on 1:46.51, the bronze going to Sebastiaan Verschuren (NED), on 1:46.91. That locked out Daniil Izotov (RUS), 1:47.14. The win was 0.53sec faster than Biedermann's 2008 gold.
The champion was 6th at the first turn, second at the half-way mark in 52.10 as US-based Swiss swimmer Dominic Meichtry went out in 51.59 (ending in 1:48.05 for 7th), after which he quickly hit the helm and stayed there all, the way to the title.
Biedermann, who extended Germany's historic medal count in the 200m to a record 7, said: "I tried to begin faster, the time wasn't good but the title is what counts. I was faster at the German national championships in Berlin. I think I'm handling the public pressure quite well."
Lobintsev was delighted with a silver that marked a "stepping stone on the way to London 2012", while Verschuren, all that national excellence of Pieter the Great ever present back home to inspire him, celebrated a debut international medal and noted: "I hope you'll see more of me in the future." No doubt we will.
Biedermann, meanwhile, will not race the 100m in favour of a clash with Yannick Agnel (if the two should happen to race the same leg) in a 4x200m freestyle relay final that will be drawn by lots: just eight teams have entered, and LEN will not take fastest times when deciding which team races in which lane in a straight final. That has not gone down well in the French camp: Gaul will run morning trials to see which of its men ought to be in the final four that would have been decided on heats swims that would also have determined where the best teams line up in relation to each other.
On his 200m free win, Biedermann said: "It was a tough race ... nothing more than gold counted. The experience was very important and I hope I've learned from that. In Rome I knew in the last 25m that I would win. here I didn't know and I was breathing on the wrong side." His effort was 4sec down on Rome 2009 world pace, though the splits were intriguing: those 4sec were split just about evenly at 1sec each length, give or take a touch.
The race left Michael Phelps (USA) at the helm of the 2010 world rankings, with Pan Pacs on the horizon in Irvine. No clash with Biedermann is on the horizon: the German will race at the Berlin and Stockholm world cups, the Dubai world s/c titles and German nationals between now and the end of the year.
Asked by a German agency if he had wiped away a tear on the rostrum, Biedermann said that it had been sweat not tears that needed attention. He then left for an early night, his day due to start with a German breakfast TV appearance tomorrow.
What a difference a year makes
Effect on race on all-time top 10:
From the archive: Over three Games and five continental championships Anders Holmertz (SWE) won 5 Olympic and 13 European medals. Just one of those medals was gold. At Strasbourg Euro titles in 1987, Holmertz (1:48.44) held off Giorgio Lamberti (ITA) and Michael 'The Albatross' Gross (GER). It would be Holmertz's only solo international victory from 1985 to 1997, a period during which he claimed 23 medals at Olympic, world and European levels, his two other gold medals panned as a member of the 4x200m relays at 1993 and 1994 world championships, short and long. Twice an Olympic silver medallist over 200m free (88, 92), Holmertz missed Euro gold by 0.14sec in the 200m free at Vienna in 1995, when he split Finns Jani Sievinen and Antti Kasvio, the three just 0.26sec apart gold to bronze. That remains the tightest fight for the podium in Euro titles history over 200m free. Holmertz's last two medals? Silver, in relays at a home Gothenburg world s/c championships in 1997.
Shiny suit era
At February 1 2008