The first finals session of the 2015 Sette Colli Trophy meet certainly brought fireworks across the board, highlighted by a monster European Record from Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom. From her super swift prelims, where the 21-year old clocked the 6th-fastest times in the world in both the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly, it seemed more likely than not that Sjostrom would crank out a head-turner come finals.
Enter the 100m butterfly A-Final. In tonight’s race, Sjostrom put up the second-best 100m fly time in world history, registering a 56.04 for a new European Record, as well as a new meet record. In fact, Sjostrom’s swim was so phenomenal she only missed the current world record, held by USA’s Dana Vollmer, by just .06 seconds. Sjostrom’s previous lifetime best was that of 56.06, which was the previous world record behind Vollmer and was still on the books as the European and meet record before tonight’s swim. The second place finisher in the A-Final for the 100m butterfly was Italy’s Elena Li Diddo, whose time of 57.75 was certainly overshadowed by Sjostrom’s jaw-dropper, but in itself was good enough to rank Li Diddo as 7th in the world.
Sjostrom also set the pool aflame in the women’s 50m freestyle race, where she clocked the exact same 24.44 time as what she produced in prelims to maintain the 6th-fastest time in the world. Although in the prelims Sjostrom was the only swimmer to dip beneath the 25-point threshold, she was accompanied by another swimmer in that feat tonight. Canada’s Chantal Van Landeghem touched in second place with a swift 24.94 for her efforts, not too far off the Canadian record of 24.69 Landeghem earned at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.
In other women’s races, Italy’s Elena Gemo swam her way to the top of the 50m backstroke field, spinning her way to a time of 28.07. That time earned Gemo a new Italian national record, overtaking her own 28.27 from 2009. Gemo is also now the new meet record holder as well with tonight’s swim, with her 28.07 overtaking the previous mark of Australian backstroke Emily Seebohm, who held the record at 28.31 from 2008.
France earned its first female event win the form of Coralie Balmy’s 400m freestyle victory. Balmy’s 4:05.26 was just enough to touch out a charging Diletta Carli of Italy, who settled for second place in a narrowly close time of 4:05.49. The women now own the 5th and 7th-fastest times in the world, respectively.
As expected, Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte continued her red-hot winning streak carried over from the Mare Nostrom series, with the breaststroking queen racing her way to the 100m title in 1:05.68. The time is her second fastest in as many weeks, with her 1:05.46 from Canet topping the current world rankings. Meilutyte’s time from today was just a hair off the meet record mark of 1:05.46, which is still held from 2008 by Australia’s Leisel Jones.
On the men’s side of the house, Niccolo Bonacchi started off the night with the host country’s first win, registering a 25.16 to take the 50m backstroke. In doing so, Bonacchi clipped French favorite, Camille Lacourt, by just 3/100, with Lacourt touching in 25.19.
Hungary was the next nation to get on the board, with a win by Peter Bernek in the men’s 400m freestyle race. Bernek won the event by a full second, touching in 3:48.83. This time is just behind Bernek’s 3:47.31 he earned at the Eindhoven Swim Cup earlier this year in April.
Although none of the men struck a time under the minute mark, Lithuanian Gledrius Titenis took home his country’s second win on the night, earning the men’s 100m breaststroke first place prize in a time of 1:00.10. Titenis was able to hold of South African breaststroking threat Cameron Van Der Burgh who wound up second in a time of 1:00.77. Italian Fabio Scozzoli wrangled in third place, clocking a time of 1:00.89.
The men’s 100m butterfly race was a tad lackluster, with no one able to cross the 52-point border; all of the men clocked times above the 52-point mark, led by Italian Matteo Rivolta. Rivolta was able to claim victory in a time of 52.30, just 5/100 faster than runner-up Piero Codia, who touched in 52.35.
In the final sprint race of the evening, the ever-consistent splash n’ dasher Florent Manaudou from France was at it again, steamrolling his way to yet another sub-22 mark. Tonight he touched in 21.64 to win the event in a new meet record, taking over his own previous standard of 21.80 set back in 2013. With his 21.57 he cranked out at the French Elite Nationals back in April, Manaudou now owns the top two times in the world in the event. The next fastest swimmer of the Sette Colli field was that of Finland’s Ari-Pekka Liukkone who raced to a 22.09.
Prelims begin tomorrow at 9am local/3am Eastern time.