Medal hunt: three top the overall with 8 gold apiece
Two more gold medals in the dash events kept the Brits atop of the swimming medal table and rocketed them to the first place in the overall. The competitions in the pools are really exciting but rarely was the hunt for the medals so balanced as in Berlin: the first three countries (GBR, RUS, ITA) stand with 8 gold apiece in the overall. In swimming Poland also enjoyed a fine day with two titles – in diving Germany’s Patrick Hausding couldn’t equal his 5-medal winning performance of 2010.
The dash events brought two more titles for Great Britain: though Adam Peaty couldn’t repeat his World record-breaking rush in the 50m breast – admittedly committed a mistake at the start –, he collected his second individual title in Berlin. Fran Halsall’s new love for backstroke got a great push today as she managed to out-touch her team-mate Georgia Davies by 0.01sec and came off with a gold in her very first big international race in this stroke.
The Polish waited the penultimate day of the Europeans with high hopes and their aces were up to the task. In 100m fly, Konrad Czerniak, clocking the best time in the heats and having medals in this event from the previous two World Champs, did a clean job, he won the title with a margin of 0.51sec ahead of Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh.
Radoslaw Kawecki (POL) has been ruling the European field in recent years, he was the title-holder, won the last three s/c Europeans and had a silver from the 2013 World Champs so it was no surprise that he reached the wall way ahead of the rest, gaining more than 1sec on the field.
In the women’s 1500m Mireia Belmonte (ESP) earned her first gold medal in Berlin, while in the 200m Federica Pellegrini (ITA) showed her class again while keeping Katinka Hosszu (HUN) at bay: the Italian did a splendid job in the second half of the race.
The home crowd also had something to cheer for: the 4x200m free relay offered tremendous excitements, the French were in front during the first three legs, the Russians chased them and the Germans were also close. During the last leg the Velodrom was almost blown up as Paul Biedermann started to erase the hosts’ deficit. For the last 50m it was clear that the Germans would retain their title, Biedermann’s split (1:44.95) was by far the best individual effort, the Russians came second and a bit surprisingly the Belgians also managed to pass the French.
In diving Patrick Hausding’s attempt to repeat his 2010 performance of winning 5 medals in as many events failed on the last day: he finished 4th in the men’s platform after a thrilling final. Russia’s Victor Minibaev was simply too good, he just couldn’t make any mistake, all but one of his dives were close to 100 points or even received higher totals. Mark 10s appeared on the scoreboard after three of his dives, the last one received four 10s for 106.20 points, even Minibaev described it as his best dive ever.
Tom Daley (GBR) added a silver to his tally this time: the Brit came up with a bit of unbalanced performance, he saw a couple of 10s after two of his dives but also made two mistakes – still, it was enough for the silver.
Ironically and ultimately it was Hausding’s synchro team-mate Sascha Klein (GER) who prevented the Berliner from earning his fifth medal in his home pool. Klein produced a more solid performance this time so he got the bronze while Hausding had to settle for the 4th place. Though with three gold and a silver in his bag he doesn’t have to be too disappointed, after all.
Among the women Tania Cagnotto came a step closer to repeat her hat-trick of 2009: after the 1m she won the 3m synchro with Francesca Dallape and has a great chance to get the third gold in the 3m, the very last event of these Europeans on Sunday.
Press release from LEN
Images courtesy of deepbluemedia.eu