Hungary, Russia: 3-3 after the opening day
Hungarian and Russian swimmers staged a strong opening by claiming three titles apiece on Day 1 at the LEN European Junior Swimming Championships in Helsinki. Anna Kesely (HUN) earned back-to-back wins and her junior EC-gold count stands at 12. The Russians doubled down the 4x100m free relays.
The Hungarians and the Russians picked up their winning tools where they left a year ago in Netanya when the two nations finished the meet with 11 titles apiece to top the medal standings (Russia came first).
The Hungarians took a 2-0 ‘lead’ as they captured the first two titles on offer, Ajna Kesely was a cut above the rest in the 400m IM, enjoying a 4.20sec winning margin (the Magyar medley swimmers, true to their nation’s traditions in this event, finished in the first three places in the heats but only two could qualify, Lili Horvath claimed the bronze in this final). Soon the other ace, Kristof Milak – silver medallist at the senior Worlds last July in the 100m fly – claimed his first title in Helsinki in the 400m free after staging a strong finish which saw him coming forward from the third place over the last 100m.
After this final and two semis he missed the bronze in the 50m fly by 0.05sec, here Andrei Minakov delivered the first gold to Russia with a convincing performance. Soon Kesely grabbed her second title of the day – and the 12th in her career –, it was her third straight victory in the 800m free at the junior Europeans.
Minakov soon also collected his second gold in Helsinki as he was part of Russia’s winning 4x100m free relay. Among the women the Russians hit the wall first with a comfortable margin too. The only non-RUS/HUN win of the day saw Britain’s Tatiana Belongoff clinching the 50m breast title, just 0.07sec ahead of Germany’s Anna Elendt. The Germans also enjoyed a fine day with four silver medals and a bronze already bagged while Italy opened its campaign with a 0-1-3 haul.
Champions, Day 1
400m free: Kristof Milak (HUN) 3:50.00
50m fly: Andrei Minakov (RUS) 23.56
4x100m free: Russia 3:18.21
(Daniil Markov, Andrei Minakov, Aleksandr Sumilov, Kliment Kolesnikov)
800m free: Ajna Kesely (HUN) 8:30.43 CR
50m breast: Tatiana Belongoff (GBR) 31.29
400m IM: Ajna Kesely (HUN) 4:41.55
4x100m free: Russia 3:43.03
(Sofia Chichaikina, Elizaveta Klevanovich, Ekaterina Nikonova, Polina Nevmovenko)
For detailed results and free live streaming please visit www.len.eu
Press release from LEN, photos courtesy of Deepbluemedia/Andrea Masini