Ukraine shines, Italy comes 1-3 in women’s 1m
Ukraine clinched two titles on the second day in Budapest: one in artistic swimming and one in diving. Marta Fiedina won the solo technical, while Kseniia Bailo and Oleksii Sereda came first the mixed 10m synchro despite practicing only for a week together. The last final brought two medals for Italy, Elena Bertocchi finished atop, Chiara Pellacani came third.
As usual in artistic swimming, if no Russian in the competition, the road opens up to the top of the podium – and this time it was Ukrania’s Marta Fiedina who went all the way in the solo technical. Her routine was rated slightly higher than Greece’s Evangelia Platanioti’s fine performance, the gap was 2.5 points. The bronze went to Vasilina Khandoska from Belorussia. The mixed synchro event in diving offered some real excitements. For a while Russia’s Victor Minibaev and Ekaterina Beliaeva seemed to have it but their last two dives went wrong and the rivals thanked the opportunity.
Ukraina’s golden boy Oleksii Sereda and championship rookie Kseniia Bailo came up with the best effort of the evening, an 80-pointer in the fourth round and their last dive was also good enough to land the title. It’s a fairy tale story for the two since they had one week to practice together, after a sudden illness had brought the originally nominated duo down. Sereda, still only 15, but visually stronger than he had been in Kiev 2019 when he had become the youngest ever European champion, continued his winning streak from two years ago. He also paraded with a couple of English comments, another significant change for the shy boy we knew from Kiev.
Britain’s Noah Williams and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix also surprised themselves with the silver medal as they spent a single hour with joint trainings before the competition – sometimes less is more, as the saying goes.
The first individual final saw Italy’s first gold here in Budapest. Until the last round Chiara Pellacani was in pole position but at the end it was compatriot Elena Bertocchi who finished atop. All divers were a bit tense, perhaps the 2017 champion managed to stay the calmest among them to win the event by 4.35 points ahead of Michelle Heimberg. The Swiss had written history by becoming the first-ever diving medallist for her country and now she added a silver chapter to the story. Pellacani had to settle for the bronze at the end, trailed by 1.4 points behind the Swiss.