The first few days of the 2013 Danish Open Championships were, by most accounts, a little bit lackluster, especially coming off of an impressive 2012 season by the women of Denmark.
Things got hot in a hurry on day 4, though, when Rikke Moeller Pedersen swam a 2:20.53 to break the European Record in the 200 long course meters breaststroke. The time took down the 2:20.92 set by Russia’s Yulia Efimova at the 2012 London Olympics.
(Incidentally, it also took out her own 2:21.65 Danish Record from the Olympic final).
Pedersen has always been a star of Danish swimming, but she really hit her groove in 2012. That included ending the year with the European Short Course record in the same event to win the World Championship in Istanbul.
Her Olympics were a bit disappointing when she finished 4th in the finals after being the second-fastest through the semi-finals. With this swim, and American World Record holder Rebecca Soni taking at least this year off, it would seem as though the battle for this summer’s World Championship title in the event comes down to Pedersen, Japan’s Satomi Suzuki, and Efimova.
Those three now represent three of the seven swimmers who have been under 2:21 in the race. The rankings:
1. Rebecca Soni, USA, 2:19.59, 2012 *Textile Best
2. Annamay Pierse, Canada, 2:20.12, 2009
3. Rikke Moeller-Pedersen, Denmark, 2:20.53, 2013
4. Leisel Jones, Australia, 2:20.54, 2006
5. Satomi Suzuki, Japan, 2:20.72, 2012
5. Rie Kaneto, Japan, 2:20.72, 2009
7. Yulia Efimova, Russia, 2:20.92, 2012
Pedersen was a 1:06.40 to also win the 100 breaststroke earlier in the meet. She went through those rounds in a 1:08, a 1:06.55, and then the 1:06.40 – a build that will serve her well at a meet like Worlds.
In other notable swims, 16-year old Mie Nielsen was a 1:00.56 in the semi-finals of the 100 backstroke; Jeanette Ottesen was a 25.21 to top the 50 free; and Pal Joensen was a 3:54.95 to win the men’s 400 free.