Russian relay breaks ER, title No. 20 for Hosszu, Anderson stuns Pellegrini
Russia holds a 7-5 lead over Italy and the Netherlands on the medal chart after landing two more titles on Day 4 in Glasgow, including a mixed free relay gold which came with a new European record. Katinka Hosszu wrote history by claiming her 20th individual gold medal at the short-course Europeans – that put her on the top of the all-time rankings and she also extended her unbeaten run in the 200m IM at major events to 66 races, an incredible feat. The golden pair of Kira Toussaint and Arno Kamminga delivered wins for the Netherlands again, while Freya Anderson completed a 100-200m free double as she stunned world champion Federica Pellegrini over the longer distance.
Italy opened the day with a brilliant 1-2 in the women’s 100m breast – just like in the 50m. This time the runner-up in the dash Martina Carraro came first, ahead of compatriot Arianna Castiglioni while Finland’s Jenna Laukkanen finished third after being second in 2017 and first in 2015.
The Italians expected at least another gold some ten minutes later in the women’s 200m free as world champion Federica Pellegrini – who also won this event four times in this meet, first in 2008 – was a clear favorite but GB’s Freya Anderson just came up with another devastating homecoming leg. Just like in the 100m, she turned 6th before the last lap but then she blew the field away. In fact she gained 1.1sec on Pellegrini over the last 50m and completed her brilliant 100-200m free double –something only Belorussia’s Alena Popchanka had been capable of in the meet’s history back in 2002.
Soon Katinka Hosszu accomplished what no other swimmer could before at the short-course Europeans: she clinched her 20th individual title (the 4th here in Glasgow), surpassing Martina Moravcova (SVK) and compatriot Laszlo Cseh who had led the all-time ranks before Glasgow with 19 victories apiece. By finishing atop in the 200m IM she also completed the IM treble at the third straight edition after 2015 and 2017 and extended her unbeaten run in this event to 66 races at major events (Olympics, Worlds, Europeans, World Cups) – for seven years no one could beat her in the 200m IM, an unparalleled feat in the world of swimming. Interestingly, the first-ever international medal Katinka Hosszu grabbed came at the short-course Europeans, in Vienna, when she finished third as a 15-year old in the 400m IM – celebration of the 15th anniversary is due in five days.
The Dutch title-delivery service run by Kira Toussaint and Arno Kamminga was on time again – just like on Day 2. Kamminga added the 100m breast crown to the one he had in the 200m, and this was even more precious as he managed to finish off Belorussia’s Ilya Shymanovich who had set a new ER in the semis but in the final, where only racing matters, he couldn’t come up with the same effort. He was 0.53sec off his record-breaking pace while Kamminga’s killing second 50 proved to be a winning effort.
Toussaint won the self-declared ‘fun-race’, the 50m back, so she snatched medals in all three backstroke events, gold in the 100m and bronze in the 200m. France’s Beryl Gastaldello managed to put together a never-seen-before silver collection as she finished runner up in this 50m back, just like in the 50m fly and the 100m free.
Russia didn’t leave the Tollcross complex without triumphs this day either. Towards the end of the session Oleg Kostin touched in first in the 50m fly, the next four stormed in within 0.07sec but Florent Manaudou was the last in the line to finish 5th a bit surprisingly. On the contrary, faith paid something back to Turkey’s Umitcan Gures who missed the podium by 0.02sec in the 100m but this time the tiniest difference (0.01sec) helped him to get the bronze.
Soon the Frenchman showed something special, though, as he threw in an amazing 20.09 split over the second leg of the mixed 4x50m free relay which helped his team go finish third – the Russians were too fast for the rest and after setting a new WR in the mixed medley, here they break the ER (1:28.31). Vlad Morozov was on fire as usual and claimed his fifth gold in Glasgow.
Press release from LEN, images courtesy of Deepbluemedia / Giorgio Scala