Serbian Grand Prix
The Serbian Grand Prix concluded Sunday in Belgrade. The meet provided an opportunity for Serbian swimmers to chase qualifying times ahead of the European Championships in May. Yesterday’s action was highlighted by Jovan Lekic setting a new Bosnian and Herzegovinian record in the 200 butterfly.
Sunday saw Nina Stanisavljevic and Martina Bukvic each pick up two more wins. Stanisavljevic, who won the 100 freestyle yesterday, took home top honors in the 50 freestyle today. She finished nearly a second ahead of the field with a time of 25.66. This was well under the European Junior Championship cut of 26.46 but a half-second off her best of 25.16 from December.
Stanisavljevic would go on to win the 50 backstroke as well. Her winning time of 28.92 was well under the European Junior cut of 29.81 and just a hair off her best of 28.87. Jana Markovic placed second in the event with a personal best and European Junior cut time of 29.11.
The men’s 100 breaststroke saw a tight race between Adnan Beji of Tunisia and the 200 breaststroke winner from yesterday, Uros Zivanovic. Beji built nearly a half-second lead over the first 50. Zivanovic used his endurance from the 200 to reign-in Beji over the second 50. Zivanovic would get to the wall first with a personal best time of 1:02.40, with Beji right behind in 1:02.51. Zivanovic cleared the European Junior cut by nearly two seconds and is within a second of the Olympic B cut of 1:01.73.
Like the men’s 100 breaststroke, the women’s event would see the winner of the 200 prevail. Bukvic won the event by over three seconds with a European Junior cut time of 1:10.98. This was Bukvic’s second time under 1:11, just behind the 1:10.60 she swam three weeks ago.
Bukvic would win her second event of the day by taking the 200 IM in 2:22.16, bringing her to three wins on the weekend. She dropped over three seconds from her previous best of 2:25.51 from December.
Velimir Stjepanovic, the Serbian record holder in the 200 freestyle, found himself racing against Lekic in today’s event. Stjepanovic was out early as he turned at the first 50 in 25.59 with Lekic behind in 25.83. Lekic would slowly gain over the next 100, turning with a .28 second lead with a 50 to go. Stjepanovic showed some veteran speed as he out-split Lekic by .56 over the last 50 to take home the victory in 1:50.83 to Lekic’s 1:51.11. Stjepanovic posted a 1:47.04 back in December, which is just off the Olympic A cut of 1:47.02.