Italian Paltrinieri wins 1,500 race, sets record

BERLIN (AP) Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy pulled away early and powered home to win the 1,500-meter freestyle and set a continental record at the European swimming championship on Wednesday.

Velimir Stjepanovic of Serbia grabbed his second straight gold medal by holding off world record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany in the 200 freestyle by two hundredths of a second.

The 19-year-old Paltrinieri clocked 14 minutes, 39.93 seconds to beat Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands by 10.66 seconds. The Italian shaved more than three seconds off the old European mark set by Russia's Yuri Prilukov six years ago, at a time when swimmers still used high-tech full body suits.

Another Italian, Gabriele Detti, took the bronze, 12.60 seconds behind the winner.

Stjepanovic, the European champion in the 400 free, added the 200-meter title in similar style. The Serb led from the start, but was nearly caught by Biedermann in the final lap. Stjepanovic touched first in 1:47.78, just ahead of Biedermann who clocked 1:47.80 and failed in his bid to win his fourth straight 200 title.

Olympic and world champion Yannick Agnel of France was third, .87 seconds behind the winner.

Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden also won her second gold medal of the competition by cruising home to retain her 100 free title nearly a second ahead of Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands. Sjostrom won in 52.67, while the Dutchwoman trailed in 53.64. Michelle Coleman of Sweden was third in 53.75.

Rikke Moller Pedersen of Denmark won the women's 100 breaststroke in 1:06.23, ahead of Sweden's Jennie Johansson, who took silver in 1:07.04. Arianna Castiglioni of Italy earned the bronze in 1:07.36.

Laszlo Cseh of Hungary retained his 200 medley title in 1:58.10, edging Philip Heintz of Germany by .07 seconds. Roberto Pavoni of Britain was third in 1:58.22.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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