Golden rush: Russia–Italy 2-2, 10-7 in overall
Two titles for Russia and Italy apiece, these were the highlights of Day 4 at the European Junior Swimming Championships in Kazan, plus another gold and a silver for Germany’s hopeful Isabel Gose. Belarus and the Czech Republic also grabbed their first wins respectively.
Champions, Day 4
Men. 800m free: Ilia Sibirtsev (RUS) 7:54.83 CR. 50m back: Thomas Ceccon (ITA) 25.24. 200m back: Jan Cejka (CZE) 1:57.51
Women. 50m free: Constanza Cocconelli (ITA) 25.25. 200m free: Marie Isabel Gose (GER) 1:57.51 CR. 100m fly: Anastasia Shkurdai (BLR) 57.39 CR.
Mixed. 4x100m medley: Russia 3:49.13
Italy and Russia are the leading forces in this edition of the junior Europeans. The hosts are the frontrunners in collecting silverware, already bagged 28 medals while Italy got 13 (just as the Germans) but the Italians keep up at least in gold-mining.
Today Ilia Sibirtsev and Alexandr Egorov delivered a 1-2 for the home nation, it was a brilliant duel in the 800m free. Sibirtsev led all the way and even though Egorov staged a late surge but couldn’t get closer than the 0.51sec separated them. Another gold arrived in the mixed relay but these were only the victories as the team amassed nine medals on the penultimate day, 2 golds, 4 silvers and 3 bronzes.
For the Italians it took less time to grab two golds: Constanza Cocconelli stormed to a fine win in the 50m free, and just minutes later Thomas Ceccon won the 50m free (he also won the 100m on Day 2). Interestingly, these two triumphs required almost identical times (25.25 and 25.24sec), and both Italians managed to out-touch the respective runners-up by 0.05sec.
For those in love with the numbers, another interesting fact that Czech Jan Cejka won the 200m back with exactly the same time (1:57.71) what Isabel Gose clocked in the 200m free. The German was just that 0.05sec away from making another brilliant double: she did the 100m-400m on Day 2 and almost repeated that over the 50m-200m. After her fine with in the 200m (with a new CR), she earned a silver in the dash behind Cocconelli.
Another CR was smashed in the 100m fly, Anastasia Shkurdai lowered her own best effort clocked in the semis, though the Belorussian was still dissatisfied saying she would need much more to excel among the seniors.
Quotes from the winners
Jan Cejka (CZE), 200m back
“It’s amazing. I could never imagine that I am able to swim as fast like this. By far my best time ever. Well, when I qualified in the first place to the final I thought I could win but what was really amazing was the time. Everything really came together.”
Marie Isabel Gose (GER), 200m free
“I’m absolutely satisfied with this day! I’ve never imagined I could beat the Championship Record in the 200m and you see, it’s there. So I’m really happy. The 50m was a bonus. And I’m second. No, I don’t mind that it was only 0.05 (between her and the winner). I’m really happy now!”
Anastasia Shkurdai (BLR), 100m fly
“I’m not really happy with this result. It’s good to win this race but this result counts good only among the juniors. At senior level I need much better times. So I have to work really hard to achieve something big among the seniors.”
Ilia Sibirtsev (RUS), 800m free
“We’ve been swimming together with Sasha (Alexandr Egorov, silver medallist) for five years, finishing 1-2 every time. He is not my rival, but like my brother. Now it was my turn. There was no specific plan, just swim. Making every 100m harder and harder. It’s a great feeling to win this gold.”
Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 50m back
“Since the 50m is not my main event I am happy with the gold. My PB is 25.1, so the time is OK after all. Too bad that the relay came right after the final.”
Constanza Cocconelli (ITA), 50m free
“That’s such a great feeling to achieve this time. I did my personal best in the semi-final in the afternoon and I’ve never thought that I could do that much better in the final. When I looked at the scoreboard I couldn’t believe my time. That’s so important, it shows that it’s good to do the hard work in the trainings.”
Medal table after Day 4
For detailed results, please visit http://ejc2019.microplustiming.com/indexEJC2019_web.php
Press release from LEN, photos courtesy of Deepbluemedia / Giorgio Scala