Stancu keeps the hosts on the golden track, first title for Germany and Belgium
Not only David Popovici can deliver gold for the hosts at the home European Junior Swimming Championships. While the home hero swam only a semi-final on the third day, team-mate Vlad-
Stefan Stancu came up with a brilliantly built 1500m swim to generate some noise again on the packed stands. The session also saw the first titles for Germany and Belgium respectively, while the Turks claimed their third, thanks to Yigit Oktar’s impressive win in the men’s 200m IM. Hungary’s Nikoletta Padar bagged her third gold here, now she anchored the women’s 4x200m free relay to a fifth victory in the last six editions.
Though this day was intended to be relatively calmer since David Popovici took part only in a semi-final – qualified in the first place to the 50m free final –, still, the home crowd had a lot to cheer for. First, Bianca Costea ended up on the podium in the women’s 50m free as she hit the wall 0.12sec behind Nina Jazy who delivered the Germans’ first gold here. The place was still noisy, the stands weren’t as packed as the day before, still, almost 1,500 fans attended the session and created a great atmosphere.
Then later in the session, the shortest distance was followed by the longest one, and Vlad-Stefan Stancu’s brilliant victory. It was a magnificent duel between him and Poland’s Krzysztof Chmielewski. The Polish, winner of the 200m fly, held on for almost 1200m, they turned parallel for every lap, but then Chmielewski couldn’t react to Stancu’s switching gears. To the joy of the crowd, the Romanian sailed away while building an 8sec winning gap by the end. Turkey’s Yigit Oktar did a clean job while winning the men’s 200m IM, gaining almost two seconds on Italy’s Simone Spediacci. The women’s 100m fly produced much more excitement, title-holder Lana Pudar of Bosnia-Hercegovina seemed to be on her way to another gold, but Roos Vanotterdijk came up with a tremendous finish and managed to pass her over the last 25m. Pudar made a last big push, but the Belgian still had it, by 0.03sec.
In the session-ending women’s 4x200m relay the Hungarians retained their title – indeed, apart from 2019, this event belongs to them as they won it five times in the last six editions since 2016. Still, their dominance has never been so overwhelming as it was this time when they gained 9.87sec on the Italians. Their anchor, Nikoletta Padar bagged her third gold here in as many days.
For detailed results, visit: http://ejcotopeni2022.microplustiming.com
Press release from LEN, photos courtesy of LEN/Simone Castrovillari