The small sovereign Principality of Monaco on the French Riviera is the host for the third, and final, stop of the 2012 Mare Nostrum series.
Women’s 200 Free
After absolutely lighting-up the prior stop of the Mare Nostrum in Canet, France with a textile best, all eyes were focused on Cammile Muffat’s 200 free early in the Monaco event. She wasn’t quite as fast, but certainly didn’t disappoint either with a 1:55.21 that breaks the Meet Record. That time now gives her 5 out of the top 8 swims in the world in 2012 as she marches onward to London.
Additionally, the French 800 free relay, with her as the anchor (though more likely leadoff in this day-and-age), is beginning to look very good as well – Muffat’s Olympic Nice teammate Charlotte Bonnet was 2nd in 1:58.28. Canada’s Barbara Jardin took 3rd in 1:58.58.
If swimming had a “regular season” that the general public cared about, Muffat would be the biggest female swimming star in the world. Her ability to be fast so many times in-season won’t necessarily do her any favors at the Games, but it’s thrilling to watch.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke
British-trained 14-year old Ruta Meilutyte continued her impressive run to the top of the sport in her native Lithuania by winning this race in 1:07.96. She had some poor swims after breaking through at British Trials with a National Record, but with this swim (the third-best of her career) she’s back on form. She also was the fastest in the 50 breaststroke quarterfinals in 32.03.
Italy’s Michela Guzzeti in1:08.73. Similarly, that’s the third-best time of her career, and her fastest since the 2010 European Championships. After a down year in 2011 (where she wasn’t faster than a 1:09.5), this marks the beginning of what could be an outstanding summer for her. All of the Italian women are swimming out-of-their-minds this season.
Iceland’s Hrafanhildur Luthersdottir took her second-straight podium in this series with a bronze medal in 1:09.68.
Men’s 100/400 Freestyle
France’s Yannick Agnel took the men’s 100 free in 49.14 – a hair slower than, but still in the same ballpark as, his swim from Canet a few days ago. Canada’s Brent Hayden was consistent through the first two stops in Barcelona and Canet, but fell off of that speed here in Monaco with a 49.37. Russia’s Andrei Grechin was 3rd in 49.51.
Despite deciding to punt on the event as a long-term option, Agnel did swim the 400 free in this meet and was spectacular in 3:46.14. That moves him to 5th in the world this year. His teammate Clement Lefert was 2nd in 3:50.31.
Men’s 200 Fly/200 IM
South Africa’s Chad le Clos, never backing-down from tough doubles, won the men’s 200 fly (1:55.77) on Saturday and then came back shortly after to win the 200 IM in 2:01.02. He dominated both of those races. The runner-up in the 200 fly was a 2:01.45 from Venezuela’s Alexis Marquez Rivas, and the 200 IM silver went to Australia’s Justin James in 2:02.63.
Women’s 50 Free Quarterfinals
Sweden’s Therese Alshammar topped this round of the 50 free in 24.96, which is only her second swim under 25 seconds this year. She’s back in Europe after spending the early part of her year training in Australia.
Other Race Winners
- Canada’s Katerine Savard won the women’s 100 fly in 58.89, just out-touching Britain’s Fran Halsall (58.99). Halsall has had some difficult swims in this series. Finland’s Emilia Pikkarainen was 3rd in 59.16, which just missed by .09 her National Record set in April.
- Australia’s Ben Treffers won the men’s 100 back in 54.65. The UK’s Liam Tancock was 2nd in 55.03, and looked much better than he did in Barcelona. No Camille Lacourt in this stop.
- China’s Ruipeng Xie won the men’s 200 breaststroke in 2:16.45, ahead of Italy’s Flavio Bizzari in 2:16.84.
- Lizzie Simmonds won the women’s 200 backstroke in 2:09.10.
- China’s Xinyi Chen won the men’s 400 IM in 4:43.02.