Bernard sets 50 free world mark for third record in three days
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands -- Three days, three records.
Alain Bernard set a world record in the 50-meter freestyle Sunday, after twice lowering the 100 freestyle mark in the previous two days at the European swimming championships.
The muscular Frenchman finished in 21.50 seconds to beat the time of 21.56 set last month by Eamon Sullivan of Australia. Sullivan lowered Alexander Popov's previous record of 21.64, set in Moscow on June 16, 2000.
"I had to stay calm for this semifinal," Bernard said. "I had an excellent start, which is not that usual for me. Then I thought I had to exploit my fantastic shape here in Eindhoven. I put all my power on at 35 meters."
Bernard set a world record of 47.50 seconds to win the 100 freestyle final on Saturday. That took one-tenth of a second off the record of 47.60 he swam Friday in the semifinals, to shatter Pieter van den Hoogenband's old mark set at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
On Sunday, 24-year-old Bernard easily beat Stefan Nystrand of Sweden, who finished in 22.12 in their second semifinal to be third fastest into the final.
Russian teenager Anastasia Zueva won her second gold of the championships in the 50 backstroke in a European record, adding to her victory in the 100 backstroke -- also in a European record time -- on Friday.
The 17-year-old Zueva's time of 28.05 was well outside the world record set earlier in the day and on the other side of the world by Sophie Edington, who clocked 27.67 at the Australian Olympic trials in Sydney.
Nina Zhivanevskaya of Spain, the 2003 world champion and holder of the old European record, was second and Sanja Jovanovic of Croatia was third.
World record holder Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine took the European 50 breaststroke in 27.43 after sharing the title for the last two years with Alessandro Terrin of Italy following the pair's tie at the last European championships. This time, Terrin had to settle for bronze as Alexander Dale Oen took silver.
With world champion Laure Manaudou not racing, Sara Isakovic of Slovenia won the women's 200 freestyle in 1:57.45, touching just ahead of Olympic champion Camelia Potec of Romania and third-place Agnes Mutina of Hungary.
Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia won the men's 100 butterfly in 51.89 and sealed a place at the Olympics after starting in lane eight because he had the slowest qualifying time. Peter Mankoc of Slovenia was second in 52.07 and Rafael Munoz Perez of Spain was third in 52.09.
In her last season of competitive swimming, continental record holder Flavia Rigamonti of Switzerland won the first ever European championship women's 1500 final in 15:58.54. Erika Villaecija of Spain collected her second silver of the championships after placing second in the 800 freestyle, and Lotte Friis of Denmark was third.
Markus Rogan added the 200 backstroke title to the 100 backstroke gold he won earlier in the championships. The Austrian touched in 1:55.85, ahead of European record holder Arkady Vyatchanin of Russia and Razvan Florea of Romania.
In the evening's final race, Filippo Magnini anchored Italy to its fifth straight 800 freestyle title in 7:09.94. Russia was second and Austria third.
In the diving competition, Julia Pakhalina of Russia won the women's 3-meter springboard with 347.40 points. The German pair of Sascha Klein and Patrick Hausding won the men's 10-meter platform synchro.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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