Each day of this weekend’s European Championship meet, we will take a look at some final thoughts from the day’s events. While the early hour in the United States, where many of us are based, facilitates some sleepy mornings, it also facilitates an opportunity to give some closing thoughts at the end of each day’s swimming and into the start of the next.
To read the full finals recap, click here.
They will have perhaps no rhyme-or-reason, no set format, and probably will fall somewhere between stream-of-consciousness and coherent-rambling. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them. If you don’t, well then I’d like to see you do better after a 3AM wakeup call!
The meet was a bit of a bust from a fan perspective. Not that there weren’t amazing swims, as there were. But for all of the time, money, and considerable effort spent on promoting the pool-inside-an-arena in Herning, prelims were about 1/5 full, and finals were about 1/2 full. The opening ceremony was pretty cool, but not enough people were there.
The meet still might have done well had they been closer to the country’s swimming hub, capital, and biggest city Copenhagen, but the arenas there wouldn’t have worked to host.
And still further problems for the home audience. The live results are brutal, and many people who paid for the live streams couldn’t watch.
But they missed some great swims, and some swims we thought would be better. I couldn’t believe that nobody, between Yulia Efimova, Ruta Meilutyte, and Rikke Moeller-Pederson, got the World Record in this 50 breast. Efimova won in 29.04, which is pretty far away from her European Record of 28.71. Congrats to Sweden’s Jennie Johansson in 4th who was a 29.80 for a new Swedish Record, though she missed Moniek Nijhuis from the Netherlands for a medal by .01.
Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin turned a lot of heads when he was 7th in the 100 fly at Worlds, and he’s backing that up here by finaling in Herning. with the 4th seed. He’s got a tall order in front of him to catch though: Germany’s Steffen Deibler, France’s Jeremy Stravius, and Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin are a stout threesome.
The Danish women represented well. First, Mie Nielsen took the top seed in the semi-final of the women’s 100 back with a 57.09, and then they broke a watered-down World Record in the 200 free relay.
The two biggest women’s short course stars at this meet, and in the entire short course season arguably, each had one great swim and one head-scratcher. Katinka Hosszu’s 2:04.33 in the 200 IM for gold wasn’t her best, but with the way she races so much all year long, that’s not a big surprise. She still destroyed the field by over two seconds, while Mireia Belmonte-Garcia was 4th in 2:06.87.
In the 200 fly, the tables were turned: Belmonte-Garcia was a 2:01.52 to whack Hosszu’s European Record and Aurore Mongel’s Championship Record, while Hosszu was just 2:05.39 for 4th place.
Those two have so much experience racing multiple races in a session, but perhaps their falls of big training caught up to them a bit here.
Though there was no Manaudou-Morozov showdown due to Manaudou’s injury, Vlad still looked really good in 20.77 for the gold, and Italy’s Marco Orsi might be finally turning the corner with a 21.00 for silver.
And finally, the ‘new’ relay World Records, where the old European Records, that are not officially World Records as they were done before FINA recognized them. It’s one matter in the mixed relays, where they’re all fairly attainable. But the Dutch women’s top mark in the 200 SCM free relay, and some of those other single-gender marks could result in many, many years of asterisked swims and “editorial notes” pointing out that World Records aren’t the world bests.