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Barbieri's Breakthrough Sets Italian Mark

May 23, 2012  - Craig Lord

European Championships, Debrecen, Hungary, day 3 heats:

Ariana Barbieri, 23 this year, crushed the Italian 100m backstroke record in heats in day 3 of action in Hungary this morning, her 1:00.26 effort for lane 4 in the second semi this evening inside the 1:00.89 at which Elena Gemo had held the national mark since 2009 - and a personal best time by 1.03sec.

If Barbieri's best in 2010 was 1:02.40, she was not the only Italian on the move, Carlotta Zofkova, 19 this year, also inside the previous national mark, on 1:00.76, a step up from a previous best of 1:01.38.

Panagiotis Samilidis (GRE) arrived in Debrecen a teenager in his 19th year with a best time of 2:12.14 in the 200m breaststroke, that time set in Amsterdam in March this year. A 2:13.58 best in 2011 was preceded by a 2:14.03 best in 2010 and a 2:17.92 as a talented 16-year-old in 2009. 

This morning, he stepped up to a 2:10.61 in heats and will take to lane 4 of the second semi this evening having got a glimpse of what world champion Daniel Gyurta managed to muster in the first semi, the Hungarian on 2:11.54 this morning in the last of five heats with the Greek youngster. 

Bence Bizco (HUN) and Dinko Jukic (AUT) led the way to the semis of the 200m butterfly on 1:57.47 and 1:57.69 respectively, Hungary in line for a second shot at the podium, with Laszlo Cseh, Olympic silver medallist (from the race won by Michael Phelps that proved even the greatest have trouble with their goggles some days), on 1:58.08. 

If Jukic escaped a ban after a tribunal accepted his explanation as to why he refused an out-of-competition doping-control test on hygiene grounds, Ioannis Drymonakos (GRE), in fourth this morning on 1:58.16, is back in the race pool following a doping suspension.

Another Hungarian rush on medals was is in prospect in the women's 200m medley, Katinka Hosszu and Evelyn Verraszto on 2:11.10 and 2:12.92 in heats, their efforts keeping Zsuzsanna Jakabos from further progression, her 2:13.20 third-fastest this morning and the end of the line under meet conditions that allow four per nation in heats but two per nation past that point.

In other heats, Mirco Di Tora (ITA) led the way through in the 50m backstroke in 25.18, while the session came to a close with Coralie Balmy (FRA) setting the pace in the 800m freestyle for the final tomorrow, her 8:32.45 in heat 1 staying at the top of the pile after a second heat led by Eva Risztov. 

The Hungarian warmed up with a 10km swim off the coast of Israel last week and swam 8:33.44 this morning. In the mix for the medals: Melanie Costa and world s/c champion Erika Villaecija, of Spain, and former 200m free Olympic champion Camelia Potec (ROU).