Paltrinieri smashes the European record
The first European record fell on the third day of the swimming competitions as Gregorio Paltrinieri reached an amazing speed in the 1500m free. Greece clinched a surprise gold in the men’s 200m (the third ever title of the nation), while the Netherlands had mixed fortunes in the free events, winning the men’s 200m but settling for the minor spoils in the 100m. Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte did a unique double in the London pool, winning again four years after the Olympics in the same event, the 100m breast.
Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri sometimes manages to surprise even himself. Last December, on the eve of the short-course European Championships in Netanya he said that having a great race was his only target, not the time. Then he broke the world record in the 1500m free. In London he also spoke at the opening press conference but this time he didn’t make any promise. Just broke the European record, or rather smashed it. He bettered it by an amazing 5.63 seconds in May, a time he had achieved fully tapered last year at the Kazan Worlds. Compatriot Gabriele Detti managed to pass Mykhaylo Romanchuk (UKR) for the silver.
The men’s 200m free offered a tremendous race, Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic started really strongly and tried to keep up until the end but Dutchman Sebastiaan Verschuren gained 0.55sec on him alone over the last 50m, while world champion James Guy (GBR) came third.
Still among the men, for the first time in 10 years, a Hungarian swimmer was not crowned in a long-course individual medley race. As title-holder Laszlo Cseh opted to compete in the fly events – he withdrew after the heats of the 200m IM – the hunt for the title was launched. Greece’s Andreas Vazaios was the fastest to sit on the throne, almost matched King Laszlo’s time clocked in the heats (by 0.01sec) and won a really nice race ahead of Israel’s Gal Nevo and Portugal’s Alexis Santos.
In the women’s finals, the 100m free saw Sarah Sjostrom preventing Ranomi Kromowidjojo from repeating the success she had here four years ago at the Olympics. Kromowidjojo was second and Dutch compatriot Femke Heemskerk came third. One 2012 champion was able to relive fond memories, however, as Ruta Meilutyte did a splendid job in the 100m breast. Her speed in the first leg was too much for the rest, even if Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir gained 1.35sec on the Lithuanian in the homecoming leg, 0.28sec remained from Ruta’s advantage so she achieved the unique London double, adding the European crown to the Olympic one in the same pool.
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Press release from LEN, photos courtesy of Deepbluemedia