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SWC 2011, Berlin day 1: Missy Franklin sets 200m back WR

Swimming World Cup

800 FREE WOMEN. Lotte Friis won easily in 8:16.99. She almost encountered no opposition except for Elena Sokolova in the first half of the race. The Danish is the World Cup record holder, with 8:04.61 she set at Berlin’s world cup meet in 2009.

100 FREE MEN. Brent Hayden, the giant from Vancouver (CAN), who celebrated his 28th anniversary yesterday, gave himself a gift by winning this important race in 47.07 over Stefan Nystrand (SWE), 47.23. While the Canadian savoured a triumph, his co-winner of the long course world title in 2007, Filippo Magnini of Italy, faced a different fate: he finished only 7th, in 48 seconds flat (7th also at half race).

200 FREE WOMEN. A new World Cup record was set by USA’s Allison Schmitt  when she won the race in 1:52.08 over Angie Bainbridge (AUS) 1.53.02 and compatriot Missy Franklin 1:53.26. Germany’s Daniela Schreiber – here swimming for her club – was fourth in 1:54.41. In this spectacular race some of the possible finalists at London 2012 were in contention. The former record belonged to Dutch Femke Heemskerk since Berlin’s World Cup of last year.

50 BREASTSTROKE MEN. New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders won in 26.88. Robin van Aggele (NED) 27.07 and Aleksander Hetland (NOR) 27.10.

. Two Scandinavians at the first two places. Sweden’s Jennie Johansson won in 1:05.60, by just 0.04 seconds over Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen, 1:05.64. Australia’s Sally Foster was a distant third, in 1:06.54.

400 IM MEN
. Michael Phelps tackled this race after six years. His victory and his time show how much he is determined to come back to his best form. The American has been challenged by Japan’s Daiya Seto, who caught him in the breaststroke leg but was left behind in the conclusive freestyle leg; 4:01.49 and 4:02.85 their respective times, both outstanding. Seto, a teenager of 17 (he was born in 1994 and is almost 10 years younger than Phelps), looks very promising. Take note of his name.

. The evergreen Swedish Therese Alshammar, 34, was irresistible. She stayed in the lead all through the race and touched in 55.62, leaving Francesca Halsall (GBR) more than a second behind, in second place. Alshammar’s excellent time is worth 969 FINA points.

Spain’s Aschwin Wildeboer dominated the race and won in 50.23. Chinese Feiyi Cheng was a distant second in 51.74.

. Rachel Goh (AUS) claimed victory in 26.80 over compatriot  Belinda Hockings, 27.02. Elizabeth Simmonds (GBR) was third, in 27.09.

. In absence of Phelps this race lived on the spectacular duel between South Africa’s teenager (born on 12.04.1992) Chad Le Clos, and Japan’s Hidemasa Sano.  Continuing to progress the young South African managed to win this tight race in 1:50.15, with Sano in second with 1:50.58.

. With her both effective and elegant style Canada’s Erica’s Morningstar won in 2:06.97, close to the World Cup record. Sophie Allen (GBR) and Hye Ra Choi (KOR) took respectively the second and third place, in 2:08.78 and 2:08.98.

400 FREESTYLE MEN. The much awaited duel between home star Paul Biedermann and France’s Yannick Agnel did not take place, as the French was lost down the lowest places of the preliminaries ranking. For Biedermann today’s victory was business as usual. He stayed in control until he decided to turn on an extra propeller which brought him home in 3:41.19, leaving the rest of the field much behind.

. Invincible Alshammar took her second gold of the day, in 23.67: again scoring high in FINA points (947). Her dash was superb and the home star Britta Steffen could nothing but to make herself happy with the second place, in 24.07. Narrowly behind, Francesca Halsall (GBR) 24.17, Daniela Schreiber (GER, but swimming here for her club) 24.28, Angie Bainbridge (AUS) 24.64, Dorothea Brandt (GER) 24.73.

. Japan’s Naoya Tomita was in the lead for most of the race and seemed poised to clinch gold but in the last lap Germany’s Marco Koch (swimming here for his club Darmstadt) pipped him and won in 2:04.61. Tomita touched in second place in 2:05.11, just 0.18 seconds ahead of compatriot Kazuki Otsuka.

100 IM MEN
. Phelps conquered his second gold of the day in 51.65. His victory was clear cut. James Goddard (GBR) and Kenneth To (AUS) also climbed the podium, in 52.05 and 52.46.

. Confirming that she is the most promising talents around, and one of the most interesting swimmers to follow at next year's Olympics, long course world champion of Shanghai, USA’s Missy Franklin, dominated the race and conquered gold in the time of 2:00.03, a new word record - splits: 28.64, 58.86 (30.22), 1:29.61 (30.75), 2:00.03 (30.42) - which earned her a bonus of $ 10,000. Franklin’s feat was the first female world record since the Hi-Tech suits were banned at the beginning of last year. Her time is worth 1003 FINA points and stands as the best performance of the meet in Day 1. Franklin was born on May 10, 1995 in Pasadena (California) but lives in Aurora (Colorado) and swims for the Colorado Stars under coach Todd Schmitz. The previous world record (and World Cup record) was set by Japan’s Shiho Sakai on 14 November 2009 at a World Cup meet in Berlin. Three other swimmers fought for the other medals. They placed in this order: Belinda Hocking  (AUS) 2:01.24, Elizabeth Simmonds (GBR) 2:02.25, Daryna Zevina (UKR) 2:02.85. 

50 BUTTERFLY MEN. Australian veteran Geoff Huegill claimed a much wanted and well deserved victory in 22.67. Germany’s Steffen Deibler was second with 22.89, with Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin third in 22.95.