Another WR for Kolesnikov, Peaty rules on, Greek tears and joy
Russian rocket Kliment Kolesnikov further bettered his world record in the 50m back, this time it came with the title plus the usual bonus of 10.000 Euros. Two gold medals were handed out in the women’s 100m fly as not even one hundredth of a second separated France’s Marie Wattel and Greece’s Anna Ntountounaki at the wall. Italy’s Simone Quadarella retained her title in the 800m free and Britain’s Adam Peaty continued his winning streak in the 100m breast, making it 4/4 since 2014. Britain added another relay victory, this time in the mixed 4x200m free. Last but not least ageless Dutch sprinting queen Ranomi Kromowidjojo clinched the 50m free, 13 years after she had claimed her first European title.
The session began with two fine title-holding efforts. Simona Quadarella didn’t let anyone think of catching her in the 800m free, she set the pace early on and expanded the gap lap by lap. She won by 1.63 sec but her first place was never in danger. Russia’s Anastasia Kirpichnikova, arriving from Lake Lupa where she had come 8th in the 10km, offered a fine swim to finish second and compatriot Anna Egorova got the bronze.
Next came his royal breaststroke highness Adam Peaty who denied all challengers, first of all Arno Kamminga who set his eyes on the Brit’s throne as he posted a couple of great times recently. However, Peaty, far from his peak, still ruled the field, bettered the Dutch on both laps to win by 0.44sec. Though Kamminga ended the Brits’ streak of booking the top two spots in three straight editions, James Wilby, runner-up in London 2016, still finished on the podium.
What was usually the ‘Sarah Sjostrom Day’ at the previous Europeans, where the Swedish star doubled down the 100m fly and later the 50m free, now turned into a wide open race since Queen Sarah broke her elbow in the winter and opted to train now instead of competing. In the fly event, after the semis compatriot Louise Hansson seemed to have a good chance to save the gold for Sweden but at the end she had to settle for the bronze. Stunningly, the title was shared by France’s Marie Wattel and Greece’s Anna Ntountounaki. The Greek victor was so stunned that she was crying for long minutes in the mixed zone before she could translate her feelings into words.
On the contrary, winning was a kind of business as usual for the champions of the dash events in this session. In fact, setting a new world record seems to have also become a daily routine for Kliment Kolesnikov as the Russian bettered his own mark again in the 50m back – on Monday he came 23.93, now he clocked 23.80, a great way to earn two times 10 thousand Euros as LEN offers WR bonuses at the championships as usual. Romania’s Andrei- Robert Glinta and Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez surfaced at the same junior Worlds, in Singapore 2015 – now they collected some senior silverware by claiming the minor spoils.
Soon Ranomi Kromowidjojo proved her greatness once more. Though she had bad luck with long-course Europeans, mostly due to health problems (has 17 medals from l/c Worlds, 22 from s/c Worlds, 26 from s/c Europeans but only 9 from the previous editions of l/c Euros) – now she won the speeding contest. Kromowidjojo gained 0.20 of Danish Olympic title-holder Pernille Blume and Poland’s Katarzyna Wasick – they were tied for the silver (the third dead-race for the medals in two days). Ranomi snatched her first European title 13 years ago, as member of the Dutch free relay in Eindhoven – here she demonstrated that age is just statistical data. Other stats show that now she was faster (23.97) than her winning time in London at the 2008 Olympics (24.05) and at the 2016 Europeans (24.07).
In the session-closing mixed 4x200m free relay – a special event, contested only at the long-course Europeans – Great Britain bagged another gold after having come first in the 4x100m free relay among the women a day earlier. The Brits bested the Italians and the Russians with ease so they are topping the medal chart with 6 in total after two days, three of them gold.