French double in swimming, Russia makes 2+1 in two pools
French swimmers took a flying start at the European Championships in Glasgow, Fantine Lesaffre’s gold in the 400m IM fired up the team and they added the women’s 4x100m free relay later. The Russians also enjoyed a fine opening, claimed both titles in the synchro pool and their men’s 4x100m free relay returned to the throne after eight years.
Fantine Lesaffre stunned the field of the women’s 400m IM and took over the crown of Katinka Hosszu who opted to skip her dearest event (she won the previous three editions). With the Hungarian being away, Ilaria Cusinato was considered the favourite but Lesaffre never let her moving in front and won by 0.88sec at the end.
Members of the French women’s free relay admitted that their compatriot’s victory had fired them up. Charlotte Bonnet’s brilliant 52.20sec second leg gave them a fine advantage which they could keep till the end, though the Dutch pressed them hard but 0.12sec still separated the two quartets.
The men’s 400m free title landed in the hands of Mykhaylo Romanchuk. The Ukrainian (celebrating his 22nd birthday in four days) clinched his first long-course gold at the Europeans – he won this event last December in Copenhagen at the short-course meet. He was a class apart, his winning margin (1.89sec) tells the story, the battle for the minor spoils was much sharper, 0.17sec separated the next three swimmers as Norway’s Henrik Christiansen claimed the silver.
The last gold went to Russia: after eight years their men’s 4x100m free relay returned to the top. Vladimir Morozov (47.61) and Kliment Kolesnikov (47.39) were the engines behind their fine win, 0.67sec ahead of Italy whose 19 year-old anchor man Alessandro Miressi did a real blast (46.99), securing his team’s silver.
In fact, the Russians landed the first two titles in the pools here in Glasgow – not surprisingly their synchro duets clinched both golds on the opening day. Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Varvara Subbotina were a cut above the rest while Alexandr Maltsev, swimming with a new partner Mayya Gurbanberdieva, managed to take a revenge for their defeat at last year’s Worlds and this time bettered Italy’s Giorgio Minisini and Manila Flamini.
For detailed results, medal tables, visit www.len.eu
Press release from LEN, photos courtesy of Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala