Day 3 of the 2013 German National Championships were a masterful day of swimming across the board, especially from the junior ranks. Fast times continued to go up across-the-board at this meet, with one lone exception in the 200 backstroke.
Few countries benefited as much from the rubber-suit era in the medal tables as did the Germans, but almost across-the-board the swimmers’ times are starting to creep back to the impressive pace they were at in 2009. They haven’t quite overcome, but they are approaching.
That is not to say that there wasn’t at least one good result in that race. Yannick Lebherz swam a 1:56.71 for the victory and a World Championship qualifying time, leaving him just .02 seconds away from his personal best set in a powersuit in 2009.
He will be the lone qualifier, however, as Felix Wolf missed the mark in 1:59.13, and Christian Diener was 3rd in 2:00.62.
Monumentally absent from that race was SG Frankfurt’s Jan-Philip Glania. The 24-year old who last year broke the National Record in this event and was easily the favorite in this race was only 4th in 2:01.64 – almost 6 seconds off of his best time.
In the women’s 200 backstroke race, records were on fire sale. The winner was 16-year old Selina Hocke in 2:10.65, which breaks a German National Age Group Record. Jenny Mensing was maybe a bit slower than expected for 2nd in 2:11.36 (missing the World Championship qualifying time). Further down the rankings, however, 14-year old Sonnele Ozturk was 4th in 2:12.61 – a German National Age Record for her as well. Hocke was the only qualifier for Barcelona out of that group, but to put someone so young on the team speaks to a bit of a youth revival for what had been an aging German women’s program.
In the women’s 100 breaststroke, Caroline Runhau will be the qualifier for Worlds with a 1:08.46 win. Vanessa Grimberg was 2nd in 1:09.14.
The men’s 100 breaststroke title went to Hendrik Feldwehr in 1:00.30. That’s already faster than he was in 2012, and his personal textile best in the event. Recall that Feldwehr missed the Olympics last year with a hip injury, but this time says he’s fully recovered from that.
He’ll be joined at Worlds by Christian vom Lehn, who was 1:00.68 for 2nd, with Marco Koch (1:01.24) just missing out. Koch’s primary distance is the 200 meter race.
In the women’s 200 fly, Franziska Hentke was under 2:09 for the first time since 2010 and will rejoin the international roster by way of a win in 2:08.87. The runner-up was Essen’s Lisa Hopink in 2:13.68; not a great runner-up time, but a fantastic result for a swimmer who’s only 14-years old.
Philip Heintz won the men’s race in 1:57.31. That crushes his personal best time, but just missed the World Championship qualifying result.
The women’s 100 freestyle made headlines not for how good it was (though the 54.31 win for Daniela Schreiber is an impressive result), but rather for the absence of World Record holder Britta Steffen. Steffen missed the final after being the 3rd seed of 55.68 in prelims while battling an illness. That prelims time wasn’t fast enough to meet the German “prelims” requirement for Worlds, though, so she had little to gain by pushing through in the evening. Dorothea Brandt, who was 2nd in prelims in 54.82, also scratched. That left Schreiber swimming mostly alone. If the Germans are healthy in Barcelona, though, they’re still left with a formidable 400 free relay, with eventual runner-up Alexandra Wenk (55.51) as the likely 4th.
Silke Lippok, who was once purported to be the future of German women’s swimming after winning 9 European Junior Championships from 2009-2010, and even a European senior silver in the 200 free last year, was nowhere to be seen in this race.
And finally, the Deibler brothers Steffen (the elder) and Markus (48.79), both with event wins and qualifications already under their belts, went 1-2 in the men’s 100 free in 48.45 and 48.79, respectively. That will put Steffen into the World Championships; Markus made the mandated time in finals, though his prelims swim wasn’t as fast as mandated by qualifying, so the federation will have to decide how hardline they wish to be on those.