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French swimmer Sebastien Rouault sought to complete a difficult double victory at the European Aquatics Championships. He tried to match his 1500 meter freestyle victory with another win in the 800 meter freestyle in Budapest, Hungary.
Rouault would get his chance during the first swimming final on Friday. Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands made a promising start in the 800, but faded out of the top three by the halfway point.
That left Rouault and Germany's Christian Kubusch battling it out at the front for the gold. The Frenchman led by just five hundredths of a second at the final turn, but he pulled further away in the closing stretch before completing a 800 meter -1500 meter freestyle double. Rouault's time of 7 minutes, 48.28 seconds also set a new championship record.
France followed up with another gold medal on day five of the championships. Alain Bernard successfully defended his European title in the men's 100m freestyle. The 2008 Olympic champion clocked 48.49 seconds to beat Russia's Evgeni Lagunov for first place by three one-hundredths of a second. Another Frenchman, William Meynard, took the bronze medal.
In the other swimming finals: Russia's Anastasia Chaun won the women's 200m breaststroke. Anastasia was victorious in a meet-record time of 2:23.50.
Scandinavian swimmers completed the podium, with Sara Nordenstam of Norway touching home just in front of Dane Rikke Moeller Pedersen.
And 16-year-old world record holder Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden came out on top in the women's 100m butterfly. Sjoestroem set a new world record at last year's World Aquatics Championships, winning European gold in this event at the age of just 14 in Rome.