After two sterling days of competition at the 32nd LEN European Championships, the excitement level could not be any higher heading into Wednesay. Perhaps the most notable development on Day 2 was the emergence of the British, who after a mediocre Day 1 that only saw two bronze medal placings, tallied 7 overall medals, including 3 gold medals, and a new mixed relay world record. This display immediately shot the Brits all the way to the top of the medal standings, with winning efforts by Christopher Walker-Hebborn (100 back, 53.32), Adam Peaty (100 breast, 58.96) and the 4×100 Mixed Medley Relay (Walker-Hebborn, Peaty, Gemma Lowe, and Francesca Halsall 3:44.02).
They will be led by Aimee Willmott (200 IM, 2:10.60, 3rd seed), Georgia Davies (100 back, 59.58, 3rd seed), and Jazmin Carlin (800 free, 8:18.11, 2nd seed) on the women’s side. Cameron Brodie (200 fly, 1:56.59, 6th seed) will lead things off for the British men, and then the fearsome threesome of Ross Murdoch (2:07.30, 1st seed), Andrew Willis (2:09.11, 4th seed), and Adam Peaty (2:09.40, 5th seed) will get the opportunity to flex their muscles in a very strong 200 breast field. Notably, Murdoch’s blistering time from the Commonwealth Games just about 4 weeks ago is the top time in the world, and is within striking distance of both the World and European records. From a glance, it looks like we could be on for another fantastic display from Team GBR tonight if they can keep the momentum rolling.
Ironwoman Katinka Hosszu will get an opportunity to race in the middle of the pool once again with her top seed in the women’s 200 individual medley. She was very aggressive with her 400 individual medley morning swim from the first day of competition, but is unlikely she will attack the shorter IM race nearly as strongly as she does also have the 100 backstroke (2nd seed) immediately after. Regardless, the 200 IM has been her race to lose in recent times, and as the reigning world champion in that event, it would not be too surprising to see her far in front of the field on Wednesday. She will have fellow countrywoman Evelyn Verraszto right next to her, so Hungarian fans will have plenty to cheer for in this event.
The women’s 100 backstroke should be a great race to watch in general as a total of 7 swimmers are seeded under the one minute mark. Hosszu is the Hungarian national record holder in that event as well, but she will need to position herself well for the semi final against the likes of Danish youngster Mie Nielsen, Brit Georgia Davies, and 15 year old Russian sensation Daria Ustinova. Look for a very tight heat across the board in this event. The men’s 200 butterfly and 50 backstroke also have no clear favorite entering this morning, so it should be very entertaining to see how this morning plays out for all participants.
2014 LEN EUROPEAN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, August 13-Sunday, August 24, 2014 (pool swimming Monday, 8/18-Sunday 8/24)
- The Velodrom, Berlin, Germany
- Local time: Prelims 9:30am, Finals 6pm (Monday-Thursday), 4pm (Friday-Sunday)
- Meet website
- Event schedule
- Live stream
- Live results
Men’s 200 Fly – Prelims
- 2012 European Champ: Laszlo Cseh, Hungary, 1:54.95
- 2010 European Champ: Pawel Korzeniowski, Poland, 1:55.00
- Meet Record: Pawel Korzeniowski, Poland, 1:54.38 – 2008
- World Record: Michael Phelps, USA, 1:51.51 – 2009
- European Record: Laszlo Cseh, Hungary, 1:52.70
Denmark’s Viktor Bromer turned in the top time of the morning with a 1:55.43 (new Danish record), and he is nearly a full second ahead of the rest of the qualifiers. Bromer led throughout and posted the fastest first 100 of all qualifiers, and used this early speed to easily touch in first amongst morning participants. Look for him to have a tighter race and perhaps better immediate competition in the semifinal tonight.
Qualifying second and securing the other top spot in one of the semifinals is Russia’s Evgeny Koptelov (1:56.37). The 20 year old was out just slightly slower than Bromer but did not have the same finishing speed as his Danish counterpart.
Heat 3 featured a very exciting finish as Hungary’s Bence Biczo and Belgium’s Louis Croenen duked it out in the final 15 meters before Biczo emerged triumphant 1:56.63 to Croenen’s 1:56.66. Both swimmers secured the 3rd and 4th spots respectively entering tonight’s semi heats. Rounding out the top 8 were Italy’s Francesco Pavone (1:57.15), Italy’s Matteo Pelizzari (1:57.67), Russia’s Alex Kudashev (1:57.70), and Greece’s Stefano Dimatridis (1:57.77).
Notably, Championship record holder Pawel Korzeniowski from Poland finished outside of the top 8 in 15th (1:58.29), but did enough to secure a second swim tonight. Serbian star Velimir Stjepanovic also finished 17th in a lackluster 1:58.60, and only qualifies for a second swim due to the two-swimmer per nation rule. With the absence of European record holder Laszlo Cseh in this event, the title is ripe for the picking, and we will have to see who can fully capitalize on this tonight.
See results in PDF here
Women’s 200 IM – Prelims
- 2012 European Champ: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:10.84
- 2010 European Champ: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:10.09
- Meet Record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:10.09 – 2010
- World Record: Ariana Kukors, USA, 2:06.15 – 2009
- European Record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:07.46 – 2009
As expected, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu led all morning swimmers with a 2:11.06 effort in the 200 IM. After opening her first 100 in a 1:01.24, including a 28.07 opening fly leg, Hosszu used her superior closing speed to comfortably take the fourth and final heat. Judging from her overall ease in approach to the race, she seems very much in her element, and should remain relatively unchallenged in the semi and medal rounds. Provided that she also qualifies for the medal round in the 100 backstroke, the main question is whether she will have to conserve some energy on Thursday night in the IM final in order to place optimally in her second event. Regardless, expect Hosszu to remain strong throughout the remainder of the meet as she typically does.
Qualifying second is Austria’s Lisa Zaiser (2:13.18), and she was the winner of the third heat as well. Not too far behind is British standout Aimee Willmott (2:13.28). Spanish star Mireia Belmonte Garcia cruised into 4th place with a 2:13.50 and she was closely followed by Barbora Zabadova (2:13.90), Evelyn Verraszto (2:14.03), Viktoriya Andreeva (2:14.09), and Beatriz Gomez Cortes (2:14.16) to round out the top 8.
Another notable swim came from developing Irish star Sycerika McMahon (2:15.46), and although this wasn’t a personal best for McMahon, she did enough to qualify for the semifinal heats tonight. She is destined to join the Texas A&M Aggies this upcoming fall. Additionally, USC graduate and Swedish Olympian Stina Gardell qualified 10th with a 2:14.62 (she was entered at a 2:13.42).
See results in PDF here
Men’s 200 Breast – Prelims
- 2012 European Champ: Daniel Gyurta, Hungary, 2:08.60
- 2010 European Champ: Daniel Gyurta, Hungary, 2:08.95
- Meet Record: Daniel Gyurta, Hungary, 2:08.60 – 2012
- World Record: Akihiro Yamaguchi, Japan, 2:07.01 – 2012
- European Record: Daniel Gyurta, Hungary, 2:07.23 – 2013
Marco Koch of Germany took the top time from morning action with a 2:09.11, and though it is not his best time, it is a great swim for the 24 year old out of Darmstadt. He was a 2:08.43 at the Monaco stop of the Mare Nostrum series earlier this year, and he is in great position to take down his national record in the semifinal heats tonight. His last 50 this morning was a 33.49, the fastest of all preliminary participants, and he will surely use that as a sign of confidence entering tonight.
The other top semifinal spot belongs to British swimmer Andrew Willis and he was the only other competitor to break 2:10 with his 2:09.91 effort. Willis was 8th at the Olympics two years ago, and he is already within a second of his seed time of 2:09.11, which he posted last year at the World Championships. He will get an opportunity to swim next to countryman Ross Murdoch (2:11.15, 4th) in tonight’s semifinal, as both Brits vie for a spot in the medal round on Thursday.
Taking third was Russia’s Ilya Khomenko in a 2:10.78 as he cruised to a victory in the third heat. After Murdoch, Lithuanian sprint standout Giedrius Titenis grabbed fifth in a 2:11.83, while Kirill Prigoda (2:11.92), Laurent Carnol (2:12.34), and Adam Peaty (2:12.40) rounded out the top 8. As Peaty is the 3rd of the British swimmers competing in this event, he will not receive an opportunity to swim the race again tonight.
Notably, Finland’s Matti Mattson had to settle for 12th with a 2:12.75, well off his 2:08.95 seed time that had him seeded third overall entering Wednesday. He was the bronze medal finisher from last year’s World Championships and is also the Finnish national record holder in this event. Luckily, he will get an opportunity to better his result in the more competitive heats tonight.
See results in PDF here
Women’s 100 Back – Prelims
- 2012 European Champ: Jenny Mensing, Germany, 1:00.08
- 2010 European Champ: Gemma Spofforth, Great Britain, 59.80
- Meet Record: Anastasia Zuyeva, Russia, 59.41 – 2008
- World Record: Gemma Spofforth, Great Britain, 58.12 – 2009
- European Record: Gemma Spofforth, Great Britain, 58.12 – 2009
About a half hour after claiming the top seed in the 200 IM, Katinka Hosszu returned to take the top seed once again in the 100 back with a 1:00.08. Though the race overall did not have any spectacular results, the field was tight as predicted, and the top 8 qualifiers all finished just about a second within each other. Nonetheless, Hosszu has set herself up well for tonight’s heats with this swim, and her 29.41-30.67 splitting demonstrates her unrivaled ability of swimming consistently well with little rest. Additionally, that second 50 was the only sub-31 second back half of any swimmer this morning.
Taking second was Danish youngster Mie Olsen in a 1:00.13, and she also posted the fastest first 50 of all qualifiers with a 29.05 opening split. If she can bring her race back a bit quicker tonight, she might give Hosszu some serious competition entering the medal rounds.
23 year old Georgia Davies settled for 3rd with a 1:00.32 effort en route to claiming the third preliminary heat. Joining her in the top 8 are Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina (1:00.80), Italy’s Carlotta Zofkova (1:00.83), Britain’s Elisabeth Simmonds (1:00.92), the Czech Republic’s Simona Baumrtova (1:00.98), and Sweden’s Ida Lindborg (1:01.13)
Russia’s Daria Ustinova did not get off to a particularly strong first 50 in a 29.89. but was still able to put together a decent second 50 to help her take 9th in a 1:01.24. She will need to do better tonight if she wants to challenge some of this morning’s top performers.
See Results in PDF here
Men’s 50 Back – Prelims
- 2012 European Champ: Jonatan Kopelev, Israel, 24.73
- 2010 European Champ: Camille Lacourt, France, 24.07
- Meet Record: Camille Lacourt, France, 24.07 – 2010
- World Record: Liam Tancock, Great Britain, 24.03 – 2009
- European Record: Liam Tancock, Great Britain, 24.03 – 2009
The men’s splash and dash backstroke edition featured a tie between Isreal’s Guy Barnea and Russia’s Vladimir Morozov at 24.99 for the top spot entering semifinal action. Barnea, a 2008 Olympian, was not far off his personal best of 24.73 from last year’s World Championships, while Morozov has a bit more to go before he challenges his personal best of 24.52. Morozov led off the Russian 4×100 Mixed Medley Relay in a 53.81 last night, the second fastest leadoff split to none other than British individual event champion Christopher Walker-Hebborn, and he is never shy of sprint speed, so you can never count him out.
As expected, France’s Jeremy Stravius was not far from the lead of the pack in a 25.04, and will surely continue to use his phenomenal underwater speed to challenge the rest of the field in the forthcoming rounds. Stravius finished second last night in the 100 back, and sure enough, the man that topped the Frenchman last night, Christopher Walker-Hebborn (25.29, 7th) will join him in semifinal action.
Fourth place went to Germany’s Nicolas Graesser (25.15), while Nikita Ulyanov (25.22), Sergey Fesikov (25.28), Walker-Hebborn, and Steffano Pizzamiglio and Niccolo Bonnachi rounded out the top 8 (the latter two names tied for 8th).
No real surprises in this race, although the Netherlands’ Bastiaan Lijesen (25.65) was the 9th seed entering Wednesday, but nearly missed out on semi final action with a 15th place finish.
See Results in PDF here
Women’s 800 free – Prelims
- 2012 European Champ: Boglarka Kapas, Hungary, 8:26.49
- 2010 European Champ: Lotte Friis, Denmark, 8:23.27
- Meet Record: Laure Manaudou, France, 8:19.29 – 2006
- World Record: Katie Ledecky, USA, 8:11.00 – 2014
- European Record: Rebecca Adlington, Great Britain, 8:14.10 – 2008
British distance specialist Jazmin Carlin cruised to victory in the morning heats of the 800 with a winning time of 8:22.70, good enough to give her a 2.5 second cushion over the rest of the qualifiers. Carlin’s best time is a 8:18.11 from the Commonwealth Games last month (a Games record at that), and she is poised to be a significant contender for the top spot in Thursday night’s final. She will have to deal with Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia (8:25.22, 2nd) who will surely have plenty left for the medals round as well.
Denmark’s Lotte Friis was nearly too complacent with her preliminary swim and took 6th overall in a 8:31.04. Entered with a 8:16.32 seed time from last year’s World Championships, Friis was out in a decent first half split of 4:11.77 before turning in four consecutive 1:04+ 100 splits to slip off her early pace. It will be interesting to see if she has something special planned for the final on Thursday night or if any other external factors are in play.
Finishing third through 8th were Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas (8:28.87), the Netherlands’ Sharon Rouwendall (8:31.02), Germany’s Sarah Koehler (8:31.03), Friis, Slovenia’s Tjasa Oder (8:31.14) and Italy’s Martina Carmignoli (8:32.58).
See Results in PDF here