The first day of the second stop of the 2014 Mare Nostrum series at the Meeting Mare Nostrum saw some new faces come to the series and others drop off. For example, after a successful Monaco meet that included a National Record in the 400 free, Hungarian Katinka Hosszu is absent in France. On the other hand, more big-name French, Russian, and British swimmers have joined the series.
Holding strong from Monaco are the two American sprinters: Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin. In a more traditional prelims-finals format than we saw in Monaco, they both went after prelims with times of 22.16 and 22.27, respectively. That took the top seed ahead of the defending Olympic champion Florent Manaudou, who was a 22.41.
There were a lot of very good times on Wednesday morning, and some big names almost missing out on A-finals. In the men’s 100 breaststroke, Brits Adam Peaty and Ross Murdoch took the top two seeds in 1:00.43 and 1:00.48, respectively. Damir Dugonjic slid in 7th at 1:01.77, with a 1:01.78 making the top 8.
In the men’s 50 backstroke, a tightly-bunched field saw the top 8 swimmers range from just 25.63 to 26.00, and it was less than a second from first place to out of the B-final altogether. That was led by a tie between Japan’s Kunya Koga, who won the 50 back in Monaco, and Britain’s Liam Tancock. Japan’s Ryosuke Irie was 3rd in 25.77.
On the women’s side, the 50 free field for the A-final is thick with talent. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, runner-up in Monaco, is the top seed in 24.86, tied with Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen. The Monaco champion Pernille Blume slid dangerously to 6th in 25.40, but will have a lane in the final.
Joining them is a highly-decorated field that includes Fran Halsall (24.87), Natalie Coughlin (25.15), Veronika Popova (25.34), Therese Alshammar in her second meet back from giving birth (25.41), and France’s Anna Santamans (25.42).
Denmark’s women overall had a good day, with three top seeds. Jeanette Ottesen took her 2nd of the day with a 58.30 in the 100 fly. Her biggest challenger in finals will be Canadian Noemie Thomas (59.11), though Camille Muffat (1:00.05) did manage to sneak into the top 8.
In the 100 breaststroke, Rikke Moeller-Pedersen is the top seed in 1:08.24. There’s not Kanako Watanabe to race her here, but the Spanish women seem to have started off their meet a little better than in Monaco, and Jessica Vall (1:09.22) and Marina Garcia (1:09.36) are the 2-3 seeds.
From the South African contingent, some swam well and some not so well. Karin Prinsloo swam well to a 3rd seed in the 200 free, and Devon Brown was there and finaled in the men’s 200 free, but their South African teammate le Clos was just 12th in the 100 fly, and was 8th in the 200 back.