Italy sets new WR, Sjostrom, and Kolesnikov crack CRs, Lamberti Jr stuns
Two really fast swims kicked off the second day in Kazan as Russiaâ€™s Kliment Kolesnikov, in the 50m back, and Swedenâ€™s Sarah Sjostrom, in the 50m free, both cracked the respective Championship Records while clinching their first title here. Russia got a second gold soon as Anastasia Kiripchnikova won the 800m free by a mile. Hungaryâ€™s Szebasztian Szabo claimed a stunning victory in the 100m fly while Italyâ€™s Michele Lamberti, son of former great Giorgio, amazed many by taking his second silver of the day in this event, and soon he was part of Italyâ€™s golden medley relay team which smashed the world record.
Swedenâ€™s Sarah Sjostrom is getting back on the usual track: after her horrible injury last winter, she regained some of her old form for the Olympics, but she was clearly off her top speed in Tokyo. In Kazan, she had shown some gears already on the opening day, and in the final, she really geared up to snatch a clear win and set a new CR (23.12). Polandâ€™s Katarzyna Wasick wasnâ€™t as close as she might have wanted to be (trailed by 0.37 at the wall) but her silver was never endangered by bronze medallist Russian Maria Kameneva.
Next came another CR swim, Kliment Kolesnikov delivered the first individual title for the hosts in the menâ€™s 50m back (clocked 22.47). Record-breaking is something Kolesnikov does routinely especially in this event though this time it was even more surprising that Italyâ€™s Michele Lamberti was pretty close to him, only 0.18sec separated them at the end â€“ and the Italian managed to out-touch Romaniaâ€™s Robert Andrei Glinta by 0.09.
The son of the fantastic freestyle swimmer, world and European champion and world record-holder Giorgio Lamberti was back in action a bit later and this time he was even more stunning as he managed to grab another silver in the 100m fly, in less than an hour.
In this race there was other news too: top qualifier Tomoe Zenimoto Hvas of Norway had to withdraw from the final due to illness â€“ which seemed to have cleared the path in front of Olympic champion Kristof Milak of Hungary. But it was compatriot Szebasztian Szabo, fresh from finishing atop in the 50m free semis, who upset the others and clinched the gold in an extremely tight finish. Milak, still at the beginning of his short-course mission, missed the podium by a fingernail behind Polandâ€™s Jakub Majerski â€“ interestingly enough, his long-course European Record clocked at the Olympics, 49.68, was the exact winning time of Szabo. At the same time, Zenimoto Hvas must have been in pain to watch the final from home as his SF time (49.22) would have granted him an easy win.
While on the first day the Italians continued where they stopped at the Olympics â€“ collecting silvers and bronzes in big numbers but no gold â€“, the second day brought the top finishes for them. First, it was Martina Carraro whose homecoming leg remained unmatched in the womenâ€™s 100m breast. Russiaâ€™s Evgeniia Chikunova launched a fiery finish too and managed to catch up with Eleni Jevimova at the wall â€“ she turned 7th, the Estonian was 1st at the halfway mark, at the end they both got silver to produce a second tie for silver here in Kazan.
Anastasia Kirpichnikova landed Russiaâ€™s second title of the day as she led all the way in the womenâ€™s 800m free, gained almost 6sec on Italyâ€™s long-course queen Simona Quadarella and almost bettered the CR, untouched since 2008. Isabel Gose was just 0.06sec off of the Italianâ€™s pace so the German earned her first individual senior medal in the same pool where her career really kicked off two years ago at the junior Europeans.
At the and it became a really happy birthday for Michele Lamberti, who returned for a third swim, this time for the lead-off leg in the medley relay. Now the 18-year-old managed to get even closer to Kolesnikov, held on for a 0.04 gap and his teammates took care of the rest. They managed to out-pace the Russians in all three of the remaining legs and not only earned a comfortable 0.65sec win but also downed the world record by 0.30sec. The old mark of the Russians lived for four years. Behind the two favorites, a fierce duel went for the bronze between the Netherlands and Turkey â€“ the Dutch managed to out-touch their rivals at the very end but the Turks were done anyway as their butterflierâ€™s â€“0.05sec takeover led to their disqualification.
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Press release courtesy ofÂ LEN, images courtesy ofÂ Deepbluemedia / G. Scala