Austrians Battle Germans On Day 1 Of 2020 Berlin Swim Open


Day 1 of the 2020 Berlin Swim Open kicked off with a national record by visiting Austrian swimmer Christopher Rothbauer. The 22-year-old fired off the best time of his young career in the men’s 200m breaststroke nabbing gold in a speedy time of 2:09.88.

Splitting 1:03.14/1:06.74, Rothbauer’s effort makes him the first Austrian man to ever get under the 2:10 threshold, or 2:11 for that matter, as the previous national standard stood at the 2:11.09 put on the books 19 years ago at the 2001 World Championships. You can read more about Rothbauer’s breakout swim here.

Joining Rothbauer among the podium winners at European Sports Park tonight was teenager Nina Gangl, also of Austria. Gangl, who turned 16 just this past December, powered her way to the top of the women’s 50m freestyle podium in a time of 25.43. That held off Polish swimmer Alicja Tchorz who touched in 25.54 for runner-up, while Germany’s Katharina Wrede and Poland’s Kornelia Fiedkiewicz tied for the bronze in 25.64.

As for Gangl, tonight’s time checks-in as the 3rd fastest time of her young career, sitting only behind her 25.30 and 25.36 efforts posted at the 2019 World Junior Championships. There in Budapest, Gangl wound up finishing 5th in the 50m free final in that aforementioned 25.30, so tonight’s mark was only .13 outside of that PB.

Austria kept its winning streak alive with another near-personal best swim from 25-year-old Bernhard Reitshammer in the men’s 100m back. Hitting the wall in a time of 54.00, Reitshammer fell just .10 shy of his own lifetime quickest of 53.90 logged at the 2019 Graz Trophy.

Tonight, splitting 25.84/28.16, Reitshammer won by about half a second. The FINA ‘A’ qualifying time for the men’s 100m back rests at 53.85, so the Austrian will need to achieve that standard at a future meet to get to Tokyo.

Also coming just short of an Olympic qualifying effort was Ramon Klenz of Germany. Klenz topped the men’s 200m fly event in a time of 1:56.79 a mark just 1 second slower than his lifetime best. However, the FINA ‘A’ qualifying time for Tokyo rests at 1:56.48, meaning the man has a little more work to do come the German Nationals meet.

A pair of Finnish athletes got the job done for a 1-2 finish in the women’s 100m breast, as Ida Hulkko and Jenna Laukkanen easily took the top spots of the podium in respective times of 1:07.57 and 1:07.78. A QT of 1:07.07 represents the A cut for this summer’s Olympics.

Hulkko, who is a Florida State Seminole red-shirting this season, owns a career-fastest time of 1:07.42 set during the last FINA World Cup Series. As such, her effort this evening was within striking distance of that outing.

As for Laukkanen, the 2016 Olympian posted a time of 1:07.35 in Rio, so her run at another Olympic-qualifying time also was less than half a second from her best ever.

Among other winners tonight included Marlene Kahler of Austria taking a hard-fought gold medal in the women’s 400m free. She battled Leonie Kullman the entire way, with the women separated by only .07 by the time all was said and done.

Kahler touched in 4:09.73 to Kullman’s 4:09.80, but both women came up short of the 4:07.90 FINA ‘A’ cut for Tokyo.

Germany’s Angelina Kohler pushed the field in tonight’s 100m fly, ultimately hitting the wall in 58.92, the only sub-minute time of the field.

Finally, Sven Schwarz of Germany took gold in the men’s 1500m freestyle, logging a tie of 15:09.53. That gave him the top prize by over 30 seconds.

Schwarz earned bronze in this 1500m freestyle at last year’s European Juinor Championships. There in Kazan, he nailed a time of 15:09.41. He also earned bronze in the 800m free, stopping the clock in a time of 7:53.74.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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