Berlin 2014 LEN European Swimming Championships – Summary, Day 5

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Golden day for Reymond, Grimaldi, Romashina and Ukraine

The final day of the open water and synchronised swimming events brought some fantastic performances of different types. While Axel Reymond (FRA) and Martina Grimaldi (ITA) were crowned the respective king and queen of endurance, Svetlana Romashina thrilled the spectators again with her magical routine in the synchro solo event and later the Ukrainians clinched their first ever synchro gold medal at the Europeans.

As a coach put it at the regatta course in Grunau: to walk 25km is a demanding challenge – imagine how tough it is to swim that distance. Still, eighteen men and fifteen women lined up at the start, ready for those heroic efforts.

In the men’s race no one seemed to wish to take the lead so it was rather strange that the males clocked weaker splits than the first ones of the women’s competition… Things changed after 5km, the men’s pack started to reach the normal gear – and after 10km Russia’s Yevgeny Drattsev and France’s Axel Reymond went a bit further. In fact, they started to leave the others behind and built a massive lead as they swam a brutally fast 5th lap with a split well under 28min (a fine feat even in a 10km race). At 15km it was clear that we would witness a two-horse race as these two enjoyed a 3min advantage over the others which grew lap by lap as they always stayed under 30min while the others couldn’t go that fast (at the end their winning margin was unusually huge, 9.30 minutes).

Mostly Reymond swam in front, but before the final lap Drattsev was in the lead. However, the Frenchman had the better finish and reached the panel with a 12sec advantage ahead of the Russian. The pack fought for the bronze, and Italy’s Edoardo Stochino had the most reserves for the last metres, he reached the panel 1.6sec ahead of the hosts’ favourite Andreas Waschburger.

The women’s race was much balanced, the leading group stayed together all the way long. Each lap saw a different name at the top of the actual classification and it was obvious that the last couple of hundreds metres would decide this magnificent race. Finally the first six came in within 30 seconds, at the end of an almost five and a half hour contest. Italy’s world title-holder Martina Grimaldi was too strong for the others, she didn’t take the lead at any of the previous laps but went in front in the last and won by 6.9sec. The fight for the silver was really gruelling between 39 year-old Angela Maurer (GER) and 20 year-old Anna Olasz (HUN), but the youngster didn’t let the chance go, she battled hard to out-touch the German by 0.4sec.

The synchro events were also exciting but in a different way. In solo Svetlana Romashina’s superiority was unquestionable: the world champion Russian created a magnificent show again, her win was well-deserved as always. Later in the day she got a fine bonus: she received the 2013 LEN Award as the best synchro swimmer of the last year – the statue was handed over by the LEN President, Paolo Barelli.

Back to the solo event, Spain – thanks to Ona Carbonell’s brilliant performance – managed to finish ahead of Ukraine (Anna Voloshyna was the new soloist for them in these Europeans). But it turned out to be a lonely occasion: just as in the duet and team event, the Ukrainians outperformed the Spaniards in the free combination as well. Since the Russians skipped the ‘combo’ this time, the gold medal was at stake in the evening session and it went to Ukraine. Their girls made a huge celebration after watching the scores: for the first time in history they became European champions. And since they entered all four events and earned medals in each they also won the Team Trophy, much to the delight of their fans.

Press release from LEN

Images courtesy of deepbluemedia.eu

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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