Hosts Break Record, Russians Disqualified

ReutersThe Russian men's team reacting to the disqualification that cost it gold in the 4x100-meter relay in Eindhoven.
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands -- The Dutch hosts smashed the women's 4x100-meter freestyle relay world record to provide a rousing start to the main pool action at the European Swimming Championships on Tuesday.

Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk and Marleen Veldhuis hurtled through the entire race inside world record pace to clock three minutes 33.62 seconds.

They broke the mark of 3:35.22 set by Germany at the last European Championships in Budapest in July 2006.

Italy was second, way back in 3:41.06, with Sweden third in 3:41.28. Germany did not defend its title.

The Dutch inroads on the world record had narrowed to 0.06 seconds when Veldhuis took over on the anchor leg but it had widened to 1.24 seconds at the 50-meter turn.

The Dutch crowd went wild as she hit the wall to her own disbelief 1.60 seconds inside what seemed at the time a phenomenal German world record.

Veldhuis's 52.62 beat the fastest-ever relay split.

Russia's men lost the men's 4x100 freestyle relay gold when they were disqualified for a faulty takeover by third swimmer Andrei Kapralov after touching first by 1.20 seconds.

Sweden moved into first in 3:15.41, ahead of Italy in 3:15.77, with the Dutch taking bronze in 3:15.88 after their Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband was overtaken by Sweden's Jonas Persson and Italian world champion Filippo Magnini.

The session began well for the Russians in the men's 400 freestyle with Yuri Prilukov overhauling seasoned Italian Massimiliano Rosolino to retain his title in the first swimming final after five days of synchronized swimming.

Prilukov, 2005 world silver medalist, turned up the pace in the last couple of strokes and caught Rosolino, 2000 Olympic silver medalist behind Ian Thorpe, to snatch gold by 0.09 seconds in a championship record 3:45.10.

Rosolino was pleased with silver in 3:45.19 and 19-year-old Nikita Lobintsev joined compatriot Prilukov on the victory podium with bronze in 3:46.75.

"I wasn't scared that he was leading most of the race. I knew that I could rely on my final lap," said Prilukov, who will aim for a third straight European 1,500 freestyle crown later this week.

"It was a fantastic race and I'm crying for joy," Rosolino said. "My time was the most important thing for me today. This is a big motivation for the Olympic Games."

Italy's Alessia Filippi retained her 400-meter individual medley title, taking a decisive lead on the backstroke after Russia's Yana Martynova, the fastest qualifier, had led through the opening butterfly.

Filippi swept through to win in 4:36.68, with Hungary's Katinka Hosszu coming through for silver in 4:37.43, leaving 2007 world silver medalist Martynova with bronze in 4:37.86.

Yana Klochkova, Ukraine's 200 and 400 individual medley champion at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, failed to make the final, trailing 12th overall in the morning's heats.