Trebles for Popovici, Masiuk, Tuncel, Jefimova, Hungary tops the medal charts, Italy wins Team Trophy
Romania’s David Popovici (50-100-200m free), and Turkey’s Merve Tuncel (400-800-1500m free) repeated their respective feats after 2021, and completed the freestyle trebles this time as well. Estonia’s Eleni Jefimova joined them by winning all three breaststroke events and Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk by sweeping all titles in backstroke. Hungary finished atop the medal table, thanks to its two outstanding female swimmers who bagged six medals respectively, Dora Molnar (four golds, two silvers) and Nikoletta Padar (four golds, a silver, and a bronze). For the first time among the juniors, Italy clinched the Team Trophy.
Once more, packed stands and an electrifying atmosphere welcomed the teams – but especially David Popovici who was to complete his mission at the home meet by winning the 100m free on the closing day. He did it in style, with another 47sec blast, though 0.5sec shy of his junior WR from the Budapest Worlds. He finished the event with four titles and a silver medal and earned the trophy of the best male performer of the meet as his 47.69 from the Sunday final was still the best individual effort based on the FINA points.
Turkey’s Miss Metronome, Merve Tuncel delivered once more as precisely as the clocks are ticking: just like in Rome, she won the longer distances – she was no match for the others in the 400m this evening. She also had a bronze in the 200m, so she says goodbye to the age-group competitions as a 6-time junior champion.
Estonia’s Eneli Efimova was the third who made a treble here, she didn’t leave much chance for her rivals in the 100m breast, so after taking a gold-silver-bronze collection in Rome, now she leaves Bucharest with three titles.
Bosnia’s Lana Pudar was close to achieving the same in butterfly, but she had been out-touched by 0.03sec in the 100m fly final by Roos Vanotterdijk – in the 50m she hit back and won today by 0.15sec ahead of the Belgian. In fact, Vanotterdijk still enjoyed a great week, her versatility catches the eye as besides getting two medals in fly events, she came third in the 100m free on Saturday, and on the closing day she missed the title in the 100m back by 0.02sec – but still claimed a medal in three strokes!
In this latter final Hungary’s Dora Molnar finished off her rivals with another monstrous second 50m to snatch her fourth title here. Later she was back and got a sixth medal with the Hungarian medley relay, together with Nikoletta Padar who got a bronze in the 400m free and fifteen minutes later anchored the relay. That silver crowned the Magyars’ magical week and secured the top spot on the medal charts, for the first time since Budapest 2005.
Poland came second (amassed the most medal in total, 16) – Ksawery Masiuk contributed with a third backstroke title. He wanted to bring down the junior WR in the 100m back, he was a bit far but still posted a Championship Record (the only one in the men’s events).
Italy’s Lorenzo Galossi copied his ‘mentor’ Gregorio Paltrinieri’s tactics – King Greg tested that at the Olympics last summer (almost worked), and again two weeks ago at the Worlds (worked perfectly). Following the advice from the legend, Galossi also booked a side lane in the heats, then in the final pushed extremely hard, out of sight from those battling in the middle. This earned him the 400m crown while swimming on lane 1 (as a curiosity, the other home hero Vlad-Stefan Stancu, and Poland’s Krzystof Chmielewski shared the silver by clocking identical times, an absolute rarity over this longer distance). What makes Galossi’s victory even more remarkable is that it came just a day after he had grabbed two golds in the 800m and in the 4x200m free relay in 15 minutes.
There were other fine duels between outstanding individuals in the men’s field. In breaststroke, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Lisovets bettered the Netherlands’ Koen de Groot 2-0 as after the 50m, he also passed him in the 100m. On contrary, Czech Daniel Gracik and Denmark’s Casper Puggaard finished 1- 1 – today it was the Dane’s turn in the 50m, to give the first title to his country here. Team GB also had to wait till the last day to finally celebrate gold – and they could do it twice. The first was landed fast, in the opening final of the session as Leah Schlosshan won the 200m IM convincingly.
The second came then in the very last final of the meet where the men’s medley relay won a thrilling clash, ahead of Ukraine and Poland. Before that, the French came first in the women’s medley – a relieving outcome for Mary-Ambre Moluh, whose Championship Record-swim in the 50m back earned her the best female performer’s trophy – though she fell short in a couple of other events where she was considered the favorite. Breaststroker Justine Delmas could stand on the top of the podium too after two silvers in the individual finals.
For detailed results, visit: http://ejcotopeni2022.microplustiming.com
Press release from LEN, photos courtesy of LEN/Simone Castrovillari