Pellegrini wins 200 freestyle at Europeans

Monday, August 16, 2010
By Pablo Gorondi, AP

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Federica Pellegrini of Italy set a new meet record in winning the women's 200-meter freestyle at the European swimming championships on Saturday.

Pellegrini won in 1 minute, 55.45 seconds, more than 2 seconds off her world record set last year but 1.08 seconds faster than the meet best she set on Friday.

For the Italian's second medal of the meet after an 800 free bronze, she was 1.53 seconds ahead of Silke Lippok of Germany. Hungary's Agnes Mutina was third.

Pellegrini was just third after the first lap, moved up to second behind Lippok at the halfway point, and took gold by swimming the last lap more than 2 seconds quicker than her German rival.

Pellegrini, the world and Olympic champ in the event, has also won it three times in European short-course championships.

Lotte Friis of Denmark led from start to finish in the women's 1,500 freestyle, touching in 15:59.13. Grainne Murphy of Ireland was 3.16 seconds behind. Erika Villaecija of Spain finished third.

“I was still tired from the 800,” said Friis, who won the 800 freestyle on Thursday and was back in the pool Friday for the qualifying heats of the 1,500. “I think it is stupid to schedule these long distance events without a one-day break. Today I knew I would be able to win, but thought it would be closer.”

Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus won the gold medal in the women's 50 backstroke, breaking her own meet record set Friday of 27.98 seconds.

Herasimenia's time of 27.64 was 0.35 seconds better than Daniela Samulski's of Romania. Spaniard Mercedes Peris was third, a mere 0.02 seconds behind the Romanian.

“This is a great day for me. I won this gold medal and can't yet believe it,” said Herasimenia, a native of Minsk and a silver medalist in the 100 freestyle on Wednesday. “You can only swim your own race in the 50 meters, and not look over to the others.”

Samulski was satisfied with her time of 27.99 and second place.

“I desperately wanted to swim under 28 seconds and that's what I achieved, Samulski said. “That's my best time in a textile swim suit.”

The 30th edition of the European championships ending Sunday is the first major international event where competitors can no longer wear the neck-to-ankle outfits that helped set dozens of world records in recent years.

Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia improved on the meet record he shared with Ukraine's Andriy Serdinov by winning the men's 100 butterfly in 51.73 seconds. Joeri Verlinden of the Netherlands was 0.09 seconds off the pace. Konrad Czerniak of Poland was third.

The men's 200 backstroke went to Stanislav Donets of Russia, who swam 1:57.18 and only just managed to ward off a late rally from Markus Rogan of Austria.

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