The first day of the 2013 City of Barcelona Grand Prix in Barcelona Spain, the second stop of the 2013 Mare Nostrum series, began Tuesday with a race that we didn’t see in Monaco, the women’s 800 free, where the victory went fittingly to a hometown swimmer, Mireia Belmonte-Garcia.
Though her winning time of 8:26.00 was off of her pace from 2012 (that led into a silver medal at the Olympcis), it’s still a solid time for early June. New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle, who was also in the Olympic final, took 2nd in 8:28.60, and another Spaniard Erika Villaecija-Garcia was 3rd in 8:35.83.
Le Clos had a solid finals session that also included a win in the B-Final in the men’s 200 fly with a 1:57.02, after stumbling in prelims and inexplicably ending up out of the A-Final. That A-Final was won by young Hungarian Bence Biczo in 1:56.71. His first 150 meters were almost identical to that which he did in Monaco, but he couldn’t hold on quite as well to the last 50 meters, which resulted in about a seven-tenths of a second time add.
He also won the B-Final of the 100 free in 49.9, a title that overall went to Cuban Hanser Garcia in 49.14. The young Cuban has been loaded with raw talent, though it’s been a long uphill battle for him to work out the finer points of sprinting (he has a water polo background.) Russia’s Evgeny Lagnuov took 2nd in 49.40, and Japan’s Sinri Shioura was 3rd in 49.47.
Belmonte also had a showdown with Hungarian marathon-woman Katinka Hosszu in the women’s 400 IM, where Hosszu won in 4:35.60 to Garcia’s 4:39.90. That’s a two second drop from what Hosszu swam in Monaco, but with her marathon meet sessions, that probably has a lot to do with order of events (it was early here in Barcelona, as compared to the end of day 1 in Monaco.)
The bulk of the record-breaking at the meet came in the sprints, including a 23.30 in the 50 fly from ageless South African Roland Schoeman, which is a new Meet Record. It cleared a 23.36 set by Australian Andrew Lauterstein in 2009. Remember that Schoeman is a former World Record holder in that event. Le Clos took 2nd in 23.90.
For the second time in less than a week, Ruta Meilutyte has added another European Record to her name, with this one coming in the 50 (to add to the 100.) She swam a 29.96 to break the 2009 mark held by Russian Yuliya Efimova at 30.09 (and also efimova’s Meet Record of 30.44 from 2010.)
She was dangerously close to Efimova’s record in Monaco, though a 5-round format wasn’t perhaps conducive to these sorts of times. Now she’s blown clear through it, and has only the World Record target of Jessica Hardy (29.80) in front of her. She’s still just 16 years old.
Denmark’s Rikke Moeller-Pederson was 2nd in 31.00. Moeller-Pedersen won the longer 200 breaststroke, which Meilutyte doesn’t swim, in 2:22.93, ahead of Japan’s Kanako Watanabe.
And in the last 50 meter stroke event of the day, the recently un-retired South African giant Gerhard Zandberg won the men’s 50 back in 25.14. Showing how quickly he’s come up to speed, that’s within a tenth of his Meet Record from all the way back in 2008. Spain’s Aschwin Wildeboer, who’s been training in South Africa, took 2nd in 25.33, and Israel’s Johnatan Kopelev was 3rd in 25.47.
In the women’s 100 backstroke, Japan’s Aya Terakawa continued her assault of sub-minute times with a 59.47 win, and a new Championship Record, with Canada’s Sinead Russell placing 2nd in 1:00.56. Spain’s own Duane da Rocha took 3rd in 1:00.64.
The men’s 100 breaststroke went to the Olympic Champion and defending World Record holder Cameron van der Burgh in 1:00.38. That’s well off of where he was at this same meet last year (about six-tenths slower), perhaps owing to the turmoil of South African swimming and of being an Olympic Champion,
Brazil’s Felipe Lima was 2nd in 1:00.82, and New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders was 3rd in 1:01.12. Slovenia’s Damir Dugonjic, who had a cracking meet over the weekend, looks to be sharp again with a 1:01.81 in the B-Final: his second-best time of the year. He’ll swim his best event, the 50, on Wednesday.
More multi-event winners included Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who took the women’s 50 free in 24.73 and the women’s 200 free in 1:57.72. Germany’s Britta Steffen was 2nd in 24.90 as she looks to continue recovering from a struggle with illness at Germany’s National Championships, and Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen was 3rd in 24.96. Teenager Pernille Blume, another Dane, finished 4th in 25.24.
Impressive Russian 15-year old Rozaliya Nasretdinova won the B-Final in 25.71.
In the 200 free, 1:57 from Sjostrom was able to beat Hosszu, who had a 1:57.14 in prelims to knock half-a-second off of a three-year old Meet Record in the event. Hosszu’s finals swim could only muster 1:58.24 on the clock, barely able to hold off Spain’s Melania Costa-Schmid and her 1:58.33.
Sjostrom, surprisingly, didn’t swim the 100 fly, though she may not have won anyway. Ottesen put up a fantastic 57.89 to win that race, which is just off of her season’s best and faster than all but two others this year. She and Sjostrom had a bit of a grudge to settle after tying in Monaco (for the 2nd best time in the world as well), but that will remain to be settled, perhaps the next time we’re back in Barcelona.
Slovakia’s Katarina Listopadova was 2nd in 59.47, and Norway’s Ingvild Snildal took 3rd in 59.62.
Germany’s Yannick Lebherz won the men’s 200 backstroke in 1:59.02, with New Zealand’s Gareth Kean taking 2nd in 1:59.43 and Hungarian Gabor Balog in 3rd in 1:59.77. The men’s 200 backstroke field has been among the thinner of this series, though it was a bit better here than we saw in Monaco.
Japan’s Daiya Seto took the title in the 200 IM in 1:59.00, the only man under two minutes. Germany’s Markus Deibler was 2nd in 2:00.81, giving up most of the difference early on in the fly and backstroke legs, where Seto is so good. Deibler made some back in the closing freestyle.
South Africa’s young distance swimmer Devon Brown won the men’s 400 free A-Final in 3:52.47; Austria’s David Brandl had the second-best time overall in 3:54.17, though that came out of the B-Final.
Other notables from Tuesday:
- Mattias Carlsson won the men’s 200 backstroke in 2:05.01, which is far from his Swedish National Record
- Austria’s David Brandl won the men’s 400 free B-Final in 3:54.17, followed by New Zealand’s Dylan Dunlop-Barret in 3:54.76.
- Russian 15-year old, another young talented swimmer, Valeria Salmatina won the women’s 200 free B-Final in 2:02.24.
- Switzerland’s Danielle Villars won the women’s 100 fly in 1:00.87. Chinese 15-year old Siyu Ding was 2nd in 1:00.96.
- Russia’s Anna Belousova won the B-Final of the women’s 200 breaststroke in 2:31.79, but the surprise was South Africa’s former Olympic finalist Suzaan van Biljon who took 2nd in 2:32.76. She withdrew from the South African Worlds Trials due to illness, and this was due to be her trial to make the Barcelona team.