Seven Championships Records bettered in swimming’s opening day
The swimming competition has got under way at the European Championships in Berlin. The first day saw seven Championship Records falling and Velimir Stjepanovic (SRB) clinching the first swimming gold medal in the men’s 400m free, then Katinka Hosszu (HUN) defended her title in the 400m IM. The 4x100m free relay golds went to Sweden (women) and France (men) respectively. Russia opened the diving events with a gold in the team competition.
[pullquote]Velimir Stjepanovic (SRB), Gold – 3:45.66:
“I went out really fast but that’s the way I usually race. At the final 50m I saw the Italian coming but I told myself that there were only a couple of meters left so I had to give the maximum.”
Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic already stunned many with a magnificent swim in the morning in the men’s 400m free and in the final he managed to reach another gear. With some big guns falling in the heats – Yannick Agnel (FRA) and Paul Biedermann (GER) were among the victims – the youngsters could make their names and 21 year-old Stjepanovic lived up to the occasion. He started with a devastating speed, though the others chasing him seemed to get closer in the third 100m but the Serb had enough left in the tank, bettering Andrea d’Arrigo (ITA) and Jay Lelliott (GBR), both 19 years old, and earned the first title of the swimming events.
[pullquote]Katinka Hosszu (HUN) Gold – 4:31.03 (CR):
“I was dead by the end because went out very fast during the first 300m. Anyway, this is a step forward compared to my previous European title-winning time.”[/pullquote]
Katinka Hosszu cracked the Championship Record in the heats (4:31.53) and went out with an unbelievable speed in the women’s 400m IM final, she was way below the WR split even after 300m but the pace burnt her speed for the free leg and she could just better the CR again (4:31.03), 0.72sec shy of her ER (clocked in a shiny suit).Championship Records were also set by Andriy Govorov (UKR, men’s 50m fly, heats: 22.87), Sarah Sjoestroem (SWE, twice, women’s 50m fly heats: 25.12 and semis: 24.87) and Adam Peaty (GBR, men’s 100m breast, semis: 58.68).
[pullquote]Sarah Sjoestroem (SWE), Gold – 3:35.82:
“This waiting on the pool deck knowing that one team is disqualified is a rather unique feeling. You never know with the relays. This time it was to our benefit.”[/pullquote]
The 4x100m free relay among the women ended in a drama: the Danish reached the wall first but a failed take-over – the second one was recorded with –0.07sec – put them out of contest and the gold went to the Swedish. The men’s race brought the usual clash among France, Russia and Italy with the French prevailing again. They sailed home with a 1.03sec advantage, thanks to the splits of Florent Manaudou (47.54) and Jeremy Stravius (47.56), the two best individual efforts of the entire race (and enough for a new CR: 3:11.64). The battle for the silver was much closer, the Russians out-touched the Italians by 0.11sec.
The diving competitions also got under way with the team event. It’s become a rather exciting duel between the Russians and the Ukrainians. The ‘match’ – Victor Minibaev, Nadezhda Bazina vs. Oleksandar Bondar, Yulia Prokopchuk – had its twists and turns by all means, the lead was constantly changing, and even though Bondar produced the dive of the day for 90.10 points in the penultimate attempt, Minibaev’s last dive was enough to secure Russia’s win.
Press release from LEN
Images courtesy of deepbluemedia.eu