Swimming: Olofsson sets fast pace as Swedes hold sway

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The Independent Online
SWEDISH swimmers set the pace yesterday in the opening session of the European sprint championships in Gateshead.

They recorded the three fastest times in the men's 50 metres butterfly heats, with Jonas Akesson edging out Jan Karlsson as fastest semi-final qualifier.

Linda Olofsson, silver medalist at last August's European long-course championships in Sheffield, led the way in the women's 50m freestyle as Swedes set three of the four fastest times.

Germany's Sandra Volker, a backstroke specialist, split the Swedes with the second quickest 50m freestyle time. Her compatriot Tino Weber led in the men's 50m backstroke, while Bulgaria's Denislav Kalchev was quickest in the men's 100m individual medley.

Karen Rake gave Great Britain's fans something to cheer by leading the qualifiers in the women's 50m breaststroke.

But the defending champion Louise Karlsson, of Sweden, who won three sprint titles last year, and Germany's Sylvia Gerasch, the European long- course 100m breaststroke champion, had plenty in reserve.

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