The 2014 World Military Swimming Championships kicked off on Friday in Tenero, Switzerland, and France’s Charlotte Bonnet cracked the first meet record with a rousing 200 freestyle.
This meet is designed with the motto of “Friendship through sport,” with aims to support global peace through the camaraderie built-in athletic competition. To compete, an athlete has to be both a member of the armed forces and a member of the national team of “the relevant civilian association.”
That last qualification disqualifies many of the powerhouse swimming nations, like the Americans and the Australians, where very few national team swimmers in history have been a part of the military.
That includes French Olympian Charlotte Bonnet. The 19-year old swam a 1:57.99 in the women’s 200 freestyle final, which crushed the Meet Record set by Russian Darya Belykina in India at the 2007 version of this meet.
Also coming very close to that old Meet Record, finishing 2nd, was China’s Zhang YuHan with a 2:00.28.
The best swims of the day on the men’s side, meanwhile, came from the Russians. Specifically, Oleg Kostin won the men’s 100 breaststroke in 1:01.39. That’s a lifetime best for Kostin, as he beat two much more well-known opponents: Germany’s Hendrik Feldwher (1:01.55) and Brazil’s Joao Gomes Jr. (1:01.84).
There were three men’s CISM World Records broken as well. Another Russian, Evgeny Koptelov, won the men’s 100 fly in 52.37. That beat the old record of 52.73 set by the great Denis Pankratov back in the 1990’s. Pankratov was the double fly champion at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.
The other two went to Germans, who also swam very well at the meet. Christian Diener won the men’s 200 backstroke in 1:58.40, breaking the 1:58.74 mark set by teammate Yannick Lebherz. Lebherz was at this meet, but didn’t swim the 200 backstroke, instead opting for the 400 IM where he was a 4:18.56. That’s yet another CISM World Record, breaking a 4:19.12 done by Poland’s Marcin Malinski.
One final Meet Record went to the hands of Brazil’s Graciele Hermann, who won the 50 free in 25.08. That beat the 25.23 World Record done by Dorothea Brandt in prelims; Brandt was a 25.23 again in finals for 2nd place. Hermann’s win was one of 9 medals for the Brazilian, who overall topped the day.
Medal standings after day 1:
- Brazil – 9 (3 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze)
- Germany – 6 ( 3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
- Russia – 5 (2 gold, 3 silver, 0 bronze)
- China – 8 (2 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze)
- Ukraine – 5 (1 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze)
- France – 2 (1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze)
- Switzerland – 1 (0 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze)