Lütolf and Novy fail to make a splash
Switzerland's Remo Lütolf and Karel Novy have both been eliminated in the semi-finals of the European Swimming Championships. Breaststroke specialist Lütolf failed to make the cut for the 100 metres final by just five hundredths of a second.
After tying with France's Hugues Duboscq for the last qualifying place, Lütolf was forced into a 'swim off' which the Frenchman narrowly won. It was a frustrating end to the tournament for Lütolf, who had earlier managed the second-best time of his career.
"Missing out on my first European finals by so small a margin definitely got on my nerves," he said afterwards. "I practically lost the race in the final breath. Now I have to try to make the finals in the 50 metres."
There was disappointment too for Novy in the 50-metre butterfly. Despite breaking his own Swiss record twice in the heats and in the semi-final, the sprint star from the last Swiss championships in Geneva had to settle for tenth place in a strong field.
Like Lütolf, Novy can look for consolation elsewhere. His specialist event, the 100 metres crawl, is still ahead. Both men have already qualified for the Olympic games in Sydney.
Other Olympic hopes are looking a lot fainter after Monday's results. Nils-Ole Janshon was 12 seconds off the pace in the heats for the 400 metres crawl, finishing 24th out of 29 competitors. He will now have to show a marked improvement in Thursday's 1500 metres.
Philipp Gilgen was also adrift on Monday, failing to meet the Olympic limit for the 100-metre backstroke by a considerable one and a half seconds. Gilgen can now only make it to Sydney via the 4x100-metre medley relay.
The women's 4x100 metres crawl team enjoyed some unexpected success. Dominique Diezi, Nicole Zahnd, Sandrine Paquier and Angela Zumstein reached the final and knocked half a second off a Swiss record that had stood for thirteen years. In the final itself they finished eighth.
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