The Dutch rule the lake, great Brit 1-2 in diving
The Netherlands captured their 4th gold in five open water swimming events in Loch Lomond after Ferry Weertman won another outstanding finish in the team event. Russia’s winning streak was halted at four in Edinburgh: after they won the mixed 10m synchro, Britain’s Grace Reid and Alicia Blagg finished 1-2 in the women’s 3m.
Dutchman Ferry Weertman managed to out-touch Kristof Rasovszky (HUN) in the men’s 10km final (based on the equal times, the Hungarians lodged a protest and requested the Jury d’Appeal to declare a tied gold medal but the officials upheld the original decision based on the photo finish). Two days later Weertman rushed to the finish shoulder-by-shoulder once more, this time with – or rather against – Florian Wellbrock. Though the young German, winner of the 1500m in the pool, managed to upset the Olympic champion twice in this year in Gravelines and Balatonfured, this time Weertman proved again that in the final sprints he is simply unbeatable. He used all his power to gain the necessary advantage and hit the panel 0.6sec ahead of the German, securing the 4th victory to the Dutch in Loch Lomond. (So far, only the men’s 5km title landed ‘outside’ the Netherlands, won by Rasovszky.)
This also means that Sharon van Rouwendaal, also part of the winning team, claimed her 3rd gold here after having come first in the 5km and the 10km already. The bronze went to the French who needed some boost after modest performances in the previous events. Their top man Marc-Antoine Olivier, who was the star of last year’s World Championships, could step onto the podium for the first time here – though he stayed a bit longer to receive the 2017 LEN Award from President Paolo Barelli.
Some 50km away in Edinburgh, the Russians extended their winning streak to four events in diving. In the mixed 10m synchro GB’s pair Matthew Reid and Lois Toulson took over the lead after three rounds but Nikite Shleikher and Yulia Timoshinina regained the top spot in the fourth and managed to keep a tiny but still golden margin of 1.83 points.
And based on the prelims, a fifth Russian victory was also on the horizon as champion of the 1m event Mariia Poliakova finished atop in the morning. After two rounds all seemed to set for a double for her but she missed her dive in the third round and fell apart for the last two to drop to 11th. To the joy of the locals, the two Brits Alicia Blagg and Grace Reid stepped up and enjoyed a brilliant battle which also involved Germany’s Tina Punzel.
A couple of points separated the three divers before the last round, where Reid produced another brilliant dive (her last two attempts earned the two highest scores in the final) and that put them to the first place for the first time in the day. And she stayed there as her rivals came up with less convincing dives, Blagg dropped to the second place and Punzel had to settle for the bronze medal.
The last day of the European Championships offer the best of the action in aquatics: the classical 25km race in open water swimming and, after the women’s 3m synchro, the most awaited event of the diving meet, the men’s 10m platform final.
For detailed results, medal tables, visit www.len.eu
Press release from LEN, photos courtesy of Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala