Three meet marks and some fast Olympic-build-up efforts marked the concluding session of finals at the Sette Colli meet in Rome this afternoon, Ryosuke Irie, Japan teammate Aya Terakawa, Germany's Marco Koch and Brazil's Thiago Pereira writing their names in the event record book, while Danes Lotte Friis and Rikke Moller Pedersen and Italian Federica Pellegrini put in solid winning times.
There were also fine performances from 1994-born Italians Gregorio Paltrinieri, 14:58.33, and Gabriele Detti, 15:02.45, in the 1500m freestyle.
Irie now has the best four performances of the year over 200m backstroke after a 1:55.05 victory, off a 56 split, well up on the man who has the 5th best performance of the season: Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki, on 1:57.62 today after posting a 1:55.28 at the European Championships last month.
Third in Italy today was Leonardo De Deus (BRA), on 1:58.79, locking out Nick Driebergen (NED). Irie clocked 1:54.02 in January, 1:54.03 in April and 1:54.80 last month before his 4th best effort today.
Teammate Terakawa turned in 1:02.53 on her way to a 2:07.73 victory and meet mark in the 200m backstroke, a season best by 0.11sec that moved her from from 6th to 4th on the world rankings so far this year. At the helm of that list on 2:06.59 in April is Anastasia Zueva (RUS), second in Rome today on 2:09.27, with third going to comeback Italian Alessia Filippi, on 2:11.59.
Koch and Ryo Tateishi (JPN) battled stroke for stroke in the 200m breaststroke, the pair divided by 0.03sec at the 100m mark, the Asian visitor with the edge on 1:02.20. A lap later and Koch had taken the lead on 1:35.07 to 1:35.37. Tateishi refused to let go but could not get the better of the German, who took the race in a meet mark of 2:08.74, to 2:08.85, third place going to Flavio Bizzarri (ITA) in 2:12.76.
For Koch, German record holder at 2:08.33 since 2009, the race marked his first time inside 2:09 in textile and lifted him to 4th on the 2012 world rankings. He is also the fourth man inside 2:09 this season, the list led by quadruple Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima, on 2:08.00 at Japan nationals in April ahead of Tateishi's 2:08.17.
The fourth meet mark of the day came from Thiago Pereira (BRA), on 1:57.94 (25.56; 55.81; 1:29.35) in the 200m medley a day after a 4:16 over 400m and well up on Kosuke Hagino (JPN), 1:59.11, and Chad Le Clos (RSA), on 2:00.03.
Friis, world 1500m champion and 800m silver medallist in Shanghai last year, rose to second best in the world this year over 800m with an 8:22.10 victory over South African Wendy Trott, on 8:25.71. The Dane started to edge away from the South African after the 500m mark, the two having turned at the 400m on 4:13.55 (Trott) and 4:13.61 (Friis) on their way to a negative split each.
Third place went to Italian Martina De Memme in 8:36.67. The only sub-8:20 swimmer so far this year is Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington (GBR), who has gone that way twice, on 8:18 and 8:19.
Pellegrini, Olympic 200m freestyle champion, raced inside the 1:56.76 she clocked at European Championships in her signature event last month with a 1:56.32 effort in which she left her opponents struggling in the wash down the last lap. On 57.67 at the 100m, she trailed Femke Heemskerk (NED) on 56.57, and third-fastest in the world so far this season, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE, on 1:55.23 in London in March), on 57.72.
Heemskerk was still almost a second clear at the last turn but Pellegrini's pride was not about to allow her to lose in front of a home crowd in a place - the Foro Italico - that means so much to her. The sprint to the wall saw the world champion of 2009 and 2011 crack on to a 1:56.32 conclusion ahead of efforts of 1:57.15 for Heemskerk and 1:58.08 for Sjostrom.
Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) was a touch ahead os Kanako Watanabe (JPN) and Elisa Celli, at the half-way mark of the 200m breaststroke - all three on 1:11s - but pressed on for a 2:24.35 victory, 7th best in the world this year and inside the 2:25.54 she clocked at the London 2012 test event in Britain in March. Watanabe was the only one who could respond to the pace, second in 2:25.54 by the close, with Celli third in 2:27.90
Sebastian Verschuren (NED) clocked 49.09 in the 100m freestyle to get a fingernail to the pad before Hanser Garcia (CUB), 49.10, and Fabien Gilot (FRA), 49.12.
At the other end of the spectrum, Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) took the 1500m freestyle in the second sub-15mins effort of his career, a 14:58.33 (he claimed the European crown in 14:48.92 last month), ahead of fellow Italian teenager Gabriele Detti, on 15:02.45, a lifetime best inside the 15:13.93 he clocked in heats yesterday. Those efforts locked out one of the five Italians to have cracked 15 minutes, Samuel Pizzetti, on 15:16.32 today.