Laszlo Cseh celebrates his 30th birthday with a gold
Legendary Hungarian swimmer Laszlo Cseh celebrated his 30th birthday by winning a gold medal at the 18th European Short-Course Swimming Championships in Netanya. Soon after the race ended, spectators, VIP guests and athletes joined in singing him “Happy birthday to you”. It was Cseh’s 17th s/c European title, an absolute record. Another legend, Germany’s Paul Biedermann has returned to the top of the podium after four years in the s/c showcase.
Hungary enjoyed one of the greatest days in its history: the Magyar swimmers won 3 gold and 2 silver medals on Day 2 in Netanya. Laszlo Cseh’s win was special for other reasons as well: due to a power outage the giant scoreboard stopped to show the times so when finalists of the 100m fly hit the wall, none of them knew the results. Soon it turned out, that the timekeeping system worked on so there was no need to check the judges’ watches – and Laszlo Cseh was declared the winner. The crowd gave a standing ovation for the veteran and moments later started to sing “Happy birthday” to him. 30 year-old Cseh clinched his 17th s/c European title (he has 12 in long-course), 12 years after he won the first in Dublin 2003.
By then Hungary were already in upbeat mood. Though Daniel Gyurta came second behind Marco Koch in his trademark event, the 200m breast, as the German was superior throughout the race and managed to beat Gyurta who had won 5 out 5 in the previous editions at the s/c Europeans. But soon came David Verraszto and maintained his winning rush in the last three years at the European stage, winning back-to-back titles since 2013 in short- and long-course events in the 400m IM. This time he won a brilliant battle against Britain’s Roberto Pavoni.
Katinka Hosszu also wrote history while winning the 100m back with ease as she earned Hungary’s 100th medal in the s/c Europeans. She also qualified first from the semis of the 100m IM, to prepare the field to maintain her golden rush. Next came Cseh and Hungary’s march was finished by Boglarka Kapas, capturing silver in the 800m free.
In this latter event l/c European title-holder Jazmin Carlin (GBR) did a great job, gaining 0.4sec on Kapas in a great duel. Besides the Brits, the Germans had also something to celebrate: ten minutes before Koch’s triumph in the 200m breaststroke, another legend, Paul Biedermann returned to the top of podium after four years. Biedermann won the 200m free with his brilliant finish ahead of his Belgian rival and got his 7th s/c European title.
Sarah Sjostrom started to pile up the medals: the Swedish star threw a couple of CRs both in the heats and in the evening, qualified first in the 100m and at the end of the day she won the 50m fly with a convincing swim.
And last but not least the Italian mixed medley relay pipped the Russians for the gold, coming from behind and out-touching them by 0.03sec at the wall.
Press release from LEN
Photos courtesy of Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala