Chaun Sweeps Past Rivals For Crown In CR
Aug 13, 2010 - Craig Lord
European Championships, Budapest, finals, day 5
Women 200m breaststroke
Russia has a new name at the helm of European l/c breaststroke: Anastasia Chaun claimed the 200m crown in a championship record of 2:23.50, Silver to Sara Nordenstam (NOR) in 2:24.42, bronze to Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN) in 2:24.99. Mirna Jukic (AUT) has not yet retired but is taking time out this season before coming to a decision as to whether to swim on or move on in life.
The splits tell the tale of how Chaun edged her way through the ranks from 5th at the first turn to 4th at the half-way, second at the last turn and on to a storming victory sealed with a 36.50 homecoming split:
Pedersen paid a price but learned a lesson.
She noted that the way she raced to a 1:09.42 split was probably too frenetic on the way out if she hoped to fend off the late charge. "I was a little bit too excited in the first half of the race and I lost a lot of energy. This was a good lesson for my future races."
Chaun said: "I hadn't reckoned on getting a medal before these championships. I certainly profited from the absence of my teammate Yulia Efimova." The 100m champion, having nursed a shoulder injury this season, had opted to drop the 200m in Budapest in the interests of recovery for the long-term.
Nordenstam said: "I'm happy to be back swimming at the top of the race again after I wasn't able to be a contender when everyone was wearing high-tech suits. I'm going to keep at the 200m breaststroke but I'll be swimming medley too."
The final was closed by world champion Nadja Higl (SRB), her 2:29.60 standing in stark constrast to that victory in Rome last year.
It was possibly the maddest moment in Rome when Higl claimed the world crown in 2:21.62. Victory abandoned Rebecca Soni because of Rebecca Soni but it visited Higl at least in large part because of a suit. At the turn of 2009, Higl languished at 241st on the all-time list. By close of play in Rome, world champion and 4th fastest ever. She is now back where she started that astonishing year. A reminder:
An other-worldly sequence of swims.
Effect on race on all-time top 10:
From the archive: Only one woman has featured in the European final six times - and on two of those occasions, Agnes Kovacs (HUN) emerged champion. Her victories, in 1997 and 1999 (with silver in 2000 as the championships switched to Olympic year for the first time in history) sandwiched the world 200m title in 1998 and preceded the big one: Olympic 200m champion at Sydney 2000. Kovacs retained the world 200m crown in 2001 and by the time she retired had amassed seven gold, two silver and four bronze medals at continental long-course championships. In 2007, Kovacs was threatened with suspension after Hungarian ani-doping testers marked her down as a no-show. Truth was her defense: she produced a sample of 25ml (75ml needed), rushed off to an engagement with Sir Roger Moore, the British 007 actor, in her role as an ambassador to UNICEF, and invited testers to follow her. They chose not to.
Shiny suit era
February 1 2008