Serious candidates for the highest Olympic achievements.
Croatia – Land of World Swimming Record Holders. Croatia can boast two more world swimming records, a success that was unperceivable until recently, but times have changed.
ZAGREB, CROATIA – Two world swimming records are an achievement not even larger and stronger countries than our “little” Croatia is can afford. But at this moment Croatians are celebrating and bragging with such achievements, firstly thanks to Duje Draganja and Sanja Jovanovic, young swimmers who brought the world’s swimming to its knees and imposed themselves as serious candidates for the highest Olympic achievements.
Croatian swimming on path to world top
Sanja Jovanovic swam the world record last December, at the European championships in Hungary’s Debrecen, when she swam the 50 metres backstroke in 26.50 seconds, breaking the world record held by China’s Hui Li for six years.
Sanja literally exploded in Debrecen because, apart from the world record and gold medal, she also won a silver medal for her 100 metres backstroke.
After the young Sanja, the turn came for Croatia’s best male swimmer, Duje Draganja. The Split swimmer clocked 20.81 seconds and broke the men's 50 metres freestyle world short-course record at the world championships on Friday. His hard work and trainings with one of the best swimming coaches in the world, Mike Bottom paid off.
Bottom lead Draganja to a silver medal at the Olympics in Athens in 2004 and helped him win the NCAA champion title in 2005 when he also set the record in university pools.
Milos Milosevic turned a dream into reality
Draganja moved up the world swimming list slowly and now he is one of the best and fastest swimmers in the world. The significance of the achievements of Sanja Jovanovic and Duje Draganja for Croatia is best shown by the fact that before them, only Croatia’s Milos Milosevic managed to break the world record, which he did at the European Championships in England’s Sheffield.
In 1998 Milosevic achieved a historic success and very few could even imagine to connect a world record with a small country such as Croatia. With the presence of great swimming powers such as America, Russia, Australia and others, to even think of something like that would have been in the ranks of science fiction. But Milosevic showed the world. Having swam 50 metres butterfly in 23.30 seconds, he beat the world record held by Russia’s Denis Pankratov by five hundreds of a second.
This was the first time Croatia presented itself to the swimmingSwimmin world and Milos Milosevic entered history as a man who turned the dream of a world record into reality and gave us another reason to be proud of Croatian sports.
We also have to mention Gordan Kozulj, who won a gold medal at the World Cup in Berlin in 2001 with a time of 1:51:62 minutes and equalised his time with the world record held by Australia’s Matt Welsh since October 13, 2000.
In 2008 Duje Draganja broke the men's 50 metres freestyle world record at the finals of the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Manchester, UK. This was one of the greatest successes in the history of Croatian sport.
Update April 13, 2008
Jovanovic Improves 50 Back World Record
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Sanja Jovanovic of Croatia has improved her own world record in the women's 50-meter backstroke at the short-course swimming world championships.
Jovanovic finished in 26.37 seconds Sunday. Her previous record was 26.50, set at the European short-course worlds in December.
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