The 3rd and penultimate day of the 2013 European Short Course Championships in Herning, Denmark is underway; in addition to a number of semi-finals, medals will be awarded in the following events:
- men’s 1500 free,
- women’s 400 free,
- women’s 100 IM,
- men’s 200 fly,
- men’s 100 free,
- mixed 200 free relay.
Men’s 1500 Free – TIMED FINAL
Hungary’s other golden Gyurta, Gergely Gyurta, has won the men’s distance freestyle, a timed final, for the first gold medal on Saturday. He was a 14:30.26 in a race that didn’t produce any times that were too special, but did result in some great racing.
Gyurta led most of the way in this race, though there was a tight grouping of 5 swimmers, any of which could have won. It was the last 300 meters, though, where he blew away the competition, dropping his splits down to 28-mids while everyone else hung around at 29-highs.
Gyurta won over Pal Joensen, who is representing Faroe Islands at this meet, by 5 seconds. Joensen was 2nd in 14:35.99, and with Italian teenager Gabrielle Detti took 3rd in 14:36.43.
Gergo Kis, the second Hungarian, didn’t really get into this race until very late, but he had a good kick for 4th in 14:37.66, and Ukraine’s Sergiy Frolov slid at the wire to place 5th in 14:37.95.
Women’s 50 Backstroke – Semifinal
Simona Baumrtova of the Czech Republic took the top seed in the semi-final of the women’s 50 backstroke, with a 26.57. This should be the most competitive of the women’s backstroke finals at this meet, with Poland’s Aleksandra Urbanczyk (26.71) and Mie Nielsen, the 100 back champion, 3rd in 26.79 just behind her.
Expect the final to get much faster, as we saw multiple swimmers beat the European Record in the 100 back earlier in the meet. Sweden’s Michelle Coleman was 4th in 27.01, followed by Italy’s Elena Gemo (27.05), Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (27.06), Russia’s Daria Ustinova (27.27), and Spain’s Mercedes Peris-Minguet (27.42) are all in a final with a spread of less than a second.
Men’s 50 Breaststroke – Semifinal
Giacomo Perez-D’Orona, the one non-superstar name on France’s medley relay, continues to show that he’s a more-than-capable breaststroker for the Gauls, as he tied for the top seed in the 50 breaststroke in 26.59. His tie came with Damir Dugonjic of Slovenia, a great short course breaststroker whose long course has really improved in the last year.
The youngest finalist will be Dugonjic’s teammate Peter John Stevens, who at 18 was a 26.75. He’s headed to the United States to train at Tennessee in the fall. In long course, he’s the Junior World Champion in this race.
Turkey’s Demir Atasoy had a breakout swim for the 4th seed; he was a 26.79 to break the Turkish National Record at 26 years old. That’s the second time in the last month he’s broken his own National Record in the race.
Caba Siladji from Serbia is 5th in 26.81; Andrea Toniato from Italy is 6th in 26.83; Johannes Skagius 26.85; and Ireland’s Barry Murphy was 8th in 26.86.
This semi-final was incredibly tight; the difference between Murphy’s qualification and the 18th-place finish was only four-tenths of a second. That meant that swimmers like Giedrius Titenis (27.03) and Hendrik Feldwehr (27.04) both are left out.
Women’s 400 Free – FINALS
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte-Garcia didn’t come close to her World Record in the 400 free from earlier this year, but with surprisingly little push from Federica Pellegrini and Lotte Friis, she easily ran away with her third title of the meet in 3:56.14.
After an early effort from France’s Camille Muffat (who wound up 5th), Belmonte-Garcia took control of this race early and wouldn’t relinquish it.
Friis, the Dane, took 2nd in 3:58.35, giving the home country their 6th medal of the meet, and Pellegrini was 3rd in 3:58.90.
The Netherlands’ Sharon van Rouwendaal continued somewhat of a transition from 200 backstroker/butterflier to distance freestyler by taking 4th in 3:59.22. For Van Rouwendaal, that obliterated the Dutch National Record by four seconds.
Melanie Costa-Schmid and Jazz Carlin tied for 6th in 4:00.92.
Men’s 100 IM – Semifinals
The stars of the 100 IM still didn’t really show their hands too much in prelims, as they did just enough to make it through to final. In the last few years, we’ve seen a changing-of-the-guard in this event from Peter Mankoc’s dominance to a new, younger class of versatile swimmers.
22-year old Stefano Pizzamiglio of Italy is the top seed in 52.77, followed by the Netherlands’ Mike Marissen (53.22) and Daniel Skaaning (53.32).
In as the 4th seed, and just high enough to remain in the thick of the final, is the defending champion Vlad Morozov with a 53.40. Expect him to be well under 52 seconds in the final, if not approaching Ryan Lochte’s World Record of 50.71.
Belgium’s Emmanuel Vanluchene was 5th in 53.71, and Russia’s Sergey Fesikov, a former World Record holder, was 6th in 53.74. Martti Aljand from Estonia, who took bronze in this event last year, played things almost too close, and wound up 7th in 53.77, while Germany’s Philip Heintz was 8th in 53.79.
Gal Nevo from Israel was the first swimmer out, by the slimmest of margins, in 53.81.
Women’s 100 Breast – Semifinals
The women’s breaststrokes continue to be a highlight of this meet, and European swimming in general. Yulia Efimova (1:03.27) and Rikke Moeller-Pedersen (1:04.10) were both under Pedersen’s old Championship Record from last year’s meet, and the World Record holder Ruta Meilutyte lurks in 3rd with a 1:05.13.
After already winning the 50 and the 200, the latter of which came in World Record time, Efimova has to be favored in the final. Pedersen, however, was better on the front-half of her 200, so she has a shot, though Meilutyte doesn’t seem to have the preparation to get either of those swimmers in the final based on her 50 swim (though she would look very strong in the 100 IM later in this session, so perhaps this was an energy-saving swim).
Italy’s Lisa Fissneider was 4th in 1:05.57, and Netherlands’ Moniek Nijhuis made the final 5th in 1:05.70.
Rounding out the top 8 are Jennie Johansson (1:05.789), Sophie Allen (1:06.00), and Ukraine’s Ganna Dzerkal (1:06.14).
Men’s 100 Back – Semifinals
All of the big names made the final of this men’s 100 backstroke, but they will be led from the center lane by Russian short course specialist Vitaly Melnikov. His 50.34 and the 50.39 from France’s Jeremy Stravius were well-separated from the rest of the prelims swimmers.
Great Britain’s Christopher Walker-Hebborn, who was the highest-ranked swimmer on the Duel in the Pool roster, took 3rd in 51.08, followed by Germany’s Christian Diener and Russia’s Andrewy Shabasov, who’s only 19, tying for 4th in 51.28.
Also in the final will be Belarus’ Pavel Sankovich (51.47), France’s Camille Lacourt (51.61), and Israel’s Guy Barnea (51.66). The defending silver medalist, Stasiulis from France, was only his country’s third-best placer in prelims, meaning that he was excluded from the semi’s.
Women’s 100 IM – FINALS
For the second time this year, Lithuanian 16-year old Ruta Meilutyte upended Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu in the 100 IM. The first was at the Moscow stop of the World Cup series, where Hosszu didn’t swim at her best. This time, though, both swimmers were sharp, but Meilutyte swam a 57.68 for the win and a new Championship Record. That also makes her the second-fastest ever in this event, just behind Hosszu’s World Record.
As expected, Hosszu had the lead halfway, but Meilutyte’s two best strokes are breaststroke and freestyle, and she charged back on the second 50 to take the win. Hosszu was 2nd in 57.96. Both swimmers were on their second swims of the session.
Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor was 3rd in 58.26, which breaks Fran Halsall’s four-year old National Record.
Men’s 200 Fly – FINALS
The young Serbian Velimir Stjepanjovic has been on the verge of a breakout for years, but the Dubai-trained 20-year old has now finally arrived on Saturday. That’s because he took the gold in the 200 fly, which is his first major senior international title in 1:51.27.
And this was no cupcake field, either. It was loaded with veterans – the rest of the top 5 in the final were all at least 27 years old. Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski took silver in 1:51.36, and Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov, the European Record holder, took bronze in 1:51.62.
Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh (1:52.44) and Sweden’s Simon Sjodin (1:52.97) rounded out that top 5.
Women’s 100 Fly – Semifinal
The head-to-head battle we all wanted to see in the women’s 100 fly has been neatly lined up. Out of the first semi-final, the home-country favorite Jeanette Ottesen was a 56.68 for the second overall seed, and in the other semi the defending World Champion, Sarah Sjostrom, was a 56.66 for the top seed headed into final.
Close behind them will be Britain’s Jemma Lowe, Italy’s Ilaria Bianchi, Katinka Hosszu, Italy’s Liliana Szilagyi, and Sweden’s Louise Hansson.
Almost the victim of being in a slow heat, Belarus’ Aleksandra Herasimenia made the final in 9th – saved only by the size of the pool.
Men’s 100 Free – FINALS
Russia’s Vlad Morozov was challenged in the 50 free earlier in this meet, but in the 100 he won by a relatively-comfortable half-a-second margin in 45.96. That’s shy of Morozov’s best time this year, but with his trademarked lightning-fast first 50 (he was out in 21.7), he had no problem winning this race.
His Russian teammate Danilla Izotov took 2nd in 46.41, and Italy’s Marco Orsi was 3rd in 46.49. France’s Fabien Gilot took 4th in 46.74.
Women’s 50 Back – FINALS
The 50 meter short course races at European Championships bring a unique challenge, in that semifinals and finals are in the same session (not uncommon in European meets at all levels).
Therefore, it’s sometimes the swimmer who handles the double best who takes the title, and in this instance it was Simona Baumrtova from the Czech Republic who played the three-rounds-in-one-day game best. She was 2nd after prelims, 1st after the semi-finals, and first after the final with a 26.26.
Poland’s Aleksandra Urbanczyk was 2nd in 26.31, and Sweden’s Michelle Coleman snuck in for bronze in 26.67. That’s somewhat of a surprise finish over Denmark’s Mie Nielsen, who was fastest in prelims of this race and also won the 100 back on Friday.
In her 4th swim of the day, Katinka Hosszu was 10th in the final in 27.49.
Men’s 50 Breast – FINALS
Slovenia’s Damir Dugonjic took his first ever European Short Course title with a 26.21 in the men’s final. After a semifinal that looked so competitive, Dugonjic won by a relatively-large three-tenths of a second with a 26.21, and France’s Giacomo Perez-D’ortona took 2nd in 26.55.
Perhaps it was Dugonjic’s height that benefited him in this race. He had an 8-inch advantage over his French counterpart, and aside from the obvious advantage on the turn, over multiple rounds in the same session this may have meant slightly less fatigue for Dugonjic.
The Irish veteran Barry Murphy was the 8th swimmer through the semi-finals, but he saved his best for finals, going a 26.56 for bronze. Sweden’s Johannes Skagius was 4th in 26.57, and Peter John Stevens was 5th in 26.64.
200 Mixed Freestyle Relay – FINALS
The Russians broke the official World Record in this 200 free relay, but are still shy of the all-time best in the race with a 1:29.53. That clears Australia’s official record of 1:29.61 from the Tokyo World Cup stop, and the old Championship Record set by France in 1:29.64; it is however slower than the Australians swam at the Eindhoven stop of the World Cup – which had the unusual distinction of being after FINA approved the new World Record in this event, but before FINA set those new World Records to take effect.
Italy took 2nd in 1:30.26, and the Netherlands took 3rd in 1:30.62. Ranomi Kromowidjojo anchored for the Dutch in 22.91, which made up over a second deficit on the Germans for bronze.