Golden Britain: three titles on the opening day
British swimmers got things going in Baku, on the first day of the swimming competition at the European Games, as they clinched three titles in seven finals. Russia captured two while Germany and Ukraine could also be happy with one gold apiece.
The first swimming gold of the Games went to Abbie Wood (GBR), who won a fine race in the 400m IM. She went out the fastest but turned only third at the half-way mark. However, she came back in the breaststroke leg and retook the lead before the freestyle turn and went on gaining two seconds on second placed Ilaria Cusinato of Italy.
Itâ€™s still to be seen if the boys are capable of producing a more thrilling final, but the 400m free presented the spectators an unforgettable experience. The top three hit the wall in 0.22 seconds, Paul Hentschel (GER) emerged the winner ahead of Dimitros Dimitriu (GRE) and Ernest Maksumov (RUS).
In the fly dash, 0.05sec separated the gold and silver medallists, Ukraineâ€™s Andrii Khloptsov won the incredibly tight battle which saw the first six arriving in 0.18sec. In the other 50m final of the day Russiaâ€™s Maria Astashkina got a bit more â€˜comfortableâ€™ win in the womenâ€™s breast, by 0.29sec.
Britainâ€™s Holly Hibbott staged a great finish in the 800m after swimming in the second position for almost the entire race but she passed Russiaâ€™s Anastasiia Kirpichnikova in the homecoming leg.
The British sprinters ruled the field in the menâ€™s 4x100m free relay as they were in the lead from the beginning to the end, and the Russians just did the same in the womenâ€™s event.
European Games â€“ Swimming â€“ Medallists, Day 1
- Paul Hentschel (GER)â€‹ 3:52.43
- Dimitros Dimitriou (GRE) â€‹3:52.57
- Ernest Maksumov (RUS)â€‹ 3:52.65
- Andrii Khloptsov (UKR)â€‹ 23.92
- Pawel Sendyk (POL)â€‹ 23.97
- Daniil Pakhomov (RUS)â€‹ 24.02
- Great Britainâ€‹ 3:19.38
- Italyâ€‹ 3:20.19
- Russiaâ€‹ 3:20.22
- Holly Hibbott (GBR)â€‹ 8:39.02
- Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (RUS)â€‹ 8:39.73
- Marina Castro (ESP)â€‹ 8:45.51
- Maria Astashkina (RUS)â€‹ 31.58
- Laura Kelsch (GER)â€‹ 31.87
- Nolwenn Herve (FRA)â€‹ 32.08
- Abbie Wood (GBR)â€‹ 4:41.97
- Ilaria Cusinato (ITA)â€‹ 4:44.01
- Anja Crevar (SLO)â€‹ 4:45.81
- Russia â€‹3:43.63
- Netherlands â€‹3:44.10
- Great Britainâ€‹ 3:45.80
All athletes are also considered junior European Championships medallists in 2015.
Press release from LEN, edited