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Three Records Fall at Euro Swimming

July 29, 1999

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Stev Theloke of Germany won the 50-meter backstroke and set one of three European records at the European Swimming Championships on Thursday.

Britain’s Zoe Baker and Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands were the other record breakers, both in semifinals _ Baker in the 50-meter breaststroke and de Bruijn in the 100-meter butterfly.

Theloke was timed 25.66, breaking the record of 25.71 set by Frenchman Franck Schott in Lille, France, in 1994. Jeff Rouse of the United States holds the world record of 25.13 set in 1993.

Baker set a European record in the 50-meter butterfly by swimming her semifinal heat in 31.43, breaking her own previous record of 31.52 that she had set 21 days before in Sheffield. South Africa’s Penny Heyns holds the word record of 30.95 from last Aug. 1.

``On the block I was so nervous I was shaking,″ Baker said, adding that in Friday’s final, ``I hope I can go faster and I feel the world record is now in my grasp.″

In her race, De Bruijn led from the start and powered her way through the turn, never looking back as she took the semi in 58.92. De Bruijn shaved one-hundreth of a second off Swede Johanna Sjoberg’s 58.93 record set on July 2 at the Swedish national championships in Halmstad. The world record of 57.93 is held by American Mary T. Meagher, set in August 1981.

France captured its first two men’s gold medals when Franck Esposito won the men’s 200-meter butterfly and Stephan Perrot took the 200-meter breaststroke.

Pieter Van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands easily qualified for the finals of the men’s 200 meter freestyle with an exceptionally fast 1 minute 47.79 seconds, the third best this year. He was within a second of the world record 1:46.69 set by Australia’s Grant Hackett in Brisbane last year, and seemed ready to go for the mark in Friday’s final.

Hoogenband was competing just one day after winning the 100-meter freestyle and breaking Russian Alexander Popov’s decade-long European winning streak in the event. He has already racked up golds in the 400 relay and 50 butterfly, and is also aiming for the 50 freestyle and 400 medley relay.

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