2015 European Short Course Championships: Day 2 Finals Live Recap


(Note for those reading results: Only TWO swimmers per nation may advance to the semi-finals, therefore you will see some swimmers from bigger countries “skipped” in the order of QTs in preliminary results)


Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom threw down a massive 25.06 to lead the field into the final of the women’s 50 butterfly, with Italian speedster Silvia Di Pietro right behind in 25.22.  For Di Pietro, that marks a new Italian National Record, surpassing her own 25.38 mark from last year’s short course World Championships in Doha. Danish dynamo Jeanette Ottesen also sits in the top 3 in the final, finishing in 25.25, with Great Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor touching in 25.49 for the 4th seed.


The country of Belgium saw its two studs Glenn Surgeloose and Pieter Timmers come into this men’s 200 freestyle final as the #1 and #2 seeds, with Surgeloose clocking a shiny new Belgian National Record to boot (1:42.94). But Germany’s Paul Biedermann had other plans for tonight’s prime time race, clocking splits of 50.85 and 51.83 to register a final gold medal-winning time of 1:42.68 tonight.

Timmers wound up with a time of 1:42.85 for 2nd place, scoring yet another new Belgian record to take it back from Surgeloose.  For his part, Surgeloose touched in 1:43.55 for bronze, about half a second slower than his earlier mark of 1:42.94 from prelims.


Germany nabbed back-to-back wins with 2015 World Champion Marco Koch following that title up with a win here in Israel, scoring a time of 2:00.53 in the men’s 200m breaststroke.  The time also marks a new Championship Record for the German and blasts his bronze medal-winning time of 2:01.62 from this same meet in 2013 out of the water. Koch’s monstrous swim also laid waste to his own personal best short course mark of 2:01.28 set in Dubai at last year’s World SC Championships.

In fact, Koch’s swim today of 2:00.53 was the 2nd fastest in history, sitting only behind the World Record of 2:00.48 from tonight’s silver medalist.

Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta swam strongly, but still finished over a second behind leader Koch and snagged the silver in his time of 2:01.99. Gyurta was the man who clocked a new World Record of 2:00.48 in Dubai, so he’s slowed some here, potentially a symptom of his overall training plan targeting Rio.

Great Britain’s representative in the race, Andrew Willis finished in 2:02.76 for bronze. Willis will be traveling to the USA next week to compete in the Duel in the Pool for the European All Stars, according to the originally-released roster.

Remember that Russian up-and-comer and World Junior Record holder Anton Chupkov was disqualified in semi-finals of the event.

All 3 men are now situated in the top 5 of the 200m breaststroke event worldwide:

2015-2016 SCM Men 200 Breast

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The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo put on a clinic in the 2nd semi-final of the women’s 100 freestyle this morning.  Her mark of 51.39 signified the only sub-52 mark of the stacked field, which includes such super stars as Sweden’s Sjostrom and Dutch teammate Femke Heemskerk.

51.37 is what it took to win the 2014 World Short Course Championships and Kromowidjojo was just .02 of a second off of that, with some gas left in the tank. The 2012 double gold medalist has gone as fast as 51.28 in Berlin and certainly has some of the speediest athletes in the world chasing her into the final.

Sjostrom was solid in a 52.01, knocking about two tenths off of her 52.23 prelims swim and Heemskerk touched in 52.36 for the 3rd seed.  In the mix is 3rd-seeded Russian Veronika Popova, who touched in 52.21 for a new Russian National Record in the event. She overtook her own previous mark of 52.45 from Doha.

Italy’s Federica Pellegrini made her way to the final as well, lurking in the 6th spot with her semi outing of 52.69.

Missing from the semi-finals was young Dutch star Marrit Steenbergen, who was a ‘DNS’ even for the heats of this event, selecting to focus on the 100m IM today instead.  Also missing from tonight’s semi’s was the 3rd seeded Hungarian #IronLady, Katinka Hosszu, who most likely is targeting her 100 backstroke and 800 freestyle finals.


A tight race ensued between Hungarian David Verraszto and British swimmer Roberto Pavoni that went down to the very end of the race. The pair split evenly over the butterfly, with Verraszto’s 56.60 behind Pavoni’s 56.42, but Verraszto made up about half of a second in the backstroke leg of the race. He carried that momentum through to the breaststroke, which left Verraszto still ahead of Pavoni even with the Brit outsplitting the Hungarian 56.01 to 56.17 on the final 100.

Verraszto did major damage over the fall with his streak of wins in the 400 IM event along the World Cup circuit, establishing himself as a threat across this multi-discipline event. Of his gold tonight, Verraszto said, “I look like a bit of my father now, I have 5 kilos extra around my belly. I couldn’t have enough training during the World Cup campaign to get rid of it after my post-Kazan rest period, so I had to apply smart tactics to deliver here.”

For silver medalist Pavoni’s part, the British athlete said, “I’m totally happy, it was a really great race and I set a new personal best, two seconds, so I cannot be disappointed.”

Tonight’s race was a two-man affair, with home crowd hero Gal Nevo touching about two seconds behind the leaders with his mark of 4:04.68 to take the bronze. However, from his comments you could have sworn the swimmer won the event.  “This was one of the most amazing moments of my 20-year long career. I heard the crowd in every second, it was fantastic, especially because my two-week old daughter was also here.”


The #IronLady was at it again, as the Hungarian Katinka Hosszu opting out of the women’s 100m freestyle semi-final gave her the rest needed to fire off a new championship record in the 100m backstroke race.  Clocking a swift 55.42, the mark was less than a second off of her own Hungarian National Record, which also stands as the world record of 55.03, and was well over a second ahead of the rest of the field.

For her dazzling display of backstroking power, Hosszu threw down splits of 27.00/28.42 to swim her way to the top of the podium. She commented after the race that, “since we haven’t tapered for this event, my speed is not as high as usual and this I can feel especially in the shorter distances. Still, I’m pretty happy to win the 100th short course European medal for Hungary.”

In a time of 57.17 was silver medalist Alicja Tchorz torched the old National Record of her country, touching in 57.17 for the best time of her career. 58.43 was her best time coming into this meet, so she absolutely demolished that outing from 2009.

Iceland’s Eyglo Gustafsdottir also cleared her nation’s record in this event, clocking a time of 57.42 for bronze. 58.40 was her swiftest race to date and it came just last month. For a country whose name we rarely see on the podium Gustafsdottir was extremely ecstatic. “I have no words, I can’t believe it, it’s simply amazing.”


A mainstay on the international swimming scene, Pole Radoslaw Kawecki knocked the 2nd semi out of the park this morning in the men’s 100 backstroke. He touched in a time of 50.11 to tie his 4th-fastest mark of all-time and secure the top seed headed into the final.

Russia’s Stanislav Donets wrangled in the 2nd seed with his sub-51 time of 50.67, followed by tatted backstroker Chris Walker-Hebborn from Great Britain, who touched in 50.74 to wind up as the 3rd seeded swimmer. CWH has been as fast as 50.44, so he’ll need to turn it on with all cylinders firing in order to catch Kawecki in the final.


Lights out is the only way to describe the way Hosszu swims….EVERY RACE. The #IronLady snatched her 2nd Championship Record of this session, landing herself in the top spot after the women’s 100m IM semi’s with a time of 57.49.  That mark shaves .03 of a second off of her previous Championship Record she set just this morning in the heats of this event.

As impressive as Hosszu was in the race, British all-around asset Siobhan-Marie O’Connor swam just .10 of a second behind to come away with a time of 57.59.  That is a lifetime best for the recently-turned 20-year-old, overtaking the 57.66 she clocked in Doha. O’Connor is absolutely a threat to Hosszu if she brings her A game to the final tomorrow.

Also in the race is Israeli Amit Ivri, who clinched the 3rd seed with her time of 59.34. With the crowd roaring behind her, Ivri already raced her way to a new National Record of 59.49 in the heats, then lowered that to 59.34 in this semi-final.  Probably not feasible to catch the top two women, but certainly a potential bronze medal awaits the 26-year-old.

With their efforts tonight, Hosszu and O’Connor slaughtered the previous world rankings in this event:

2015-2016 SCM Women 100 IM

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So, Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh is celebrating his 30th birthday today and he did what any birthday boy would do….win a gold medal!  Cseh hammered out a career-best time of 49.33 to crush the field and set another new National Record in the event, lowering his other sub-50 second time from heats yesterday. Cseh split the race in what looked like a smooth, calculated swim, touching the first 50 in 23.33 and the 2nd in 26.00.

Compare that to 2nd place swimmer Matteo Rivolta from Italy, who went out faster in 22.99, but couldn’t hold on for the gold, letting up a tad on the 2nd 50 to clock a split of 26.71. Rivolta had gone faster in the semi’s, cracking the Italian National Record with his mark of 49.55.

The bronze winner in this race was Russia’s Nikita Konovalov who finished in a respectable 50.28. Konovalov was tied for 6th headed into this final, so he certainly capitalized on being surrounded by top talent to get himself onto the podium.


Great Britain’s Jazmin Carlin raced her way to the top of the podium and to the top of the short course world rankings with her time of 8:11.01. Carlin was able to hold on and beat out a charging Hungarian, Boglarkas Kapas, who clinched silver in 8:11.43.

For Carlin, her time tonight registers as the 2nd-fastest of her career, only behind the 8:08.16 she scored for silver at last year’s Short Course World Championships behind Spain’s Mireia Belmonte. Carlin is now queen of the 800m freestyle world rankings, overtaking the spot of Australia’s Jessica Ashwood who previously swam the world’s fastest time before this meet of 8:13.63.

The Netherlands got on the board with Sharon Rouwendaal‘s time of 8:15.84, the 3rd-swiftest time of her career.

2015-2016 SCM Women 800 Free

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The Swedish speed demon, Sarah Sjostrom, cranked out a monster time of 24.58 in the women’s 50 butterfly to score a new Championship Record.  Sjostrom threw down the only sub-25-second time of the field en route to winning gold. This ties the siren’s fastest time ever, as she clocked a 24.58 at last year’s Short Course World Championships for gold in Doha.

Danish rival Jeanette Ottesen was certainly in the race, but finished several tenths behind in a mark of 25.04. Ottesen has been sub-25 on multiple occasions, most recently last December in 24.71 to finish with the silver behind Sjostrom.

Italy’s Silvia Di Pietro chipped away at the Italian National Record, scoring new marks during heats and prelims, to finally let it rest at 25.26 in finals.  Di Pietro earned the bronze for Italy in this race.


The final race of the night saw the Italian combination of Simone Sabbioni, Fabio Scozzoli, Silvia Di Pietro and Erika Perraioli fight to the finish in the mixed 200m medley relay. Italy won the gold in a new championship record time of 1:38.33.

Splits for the winning relay were as follows: Sabbioni 23.50, Scozzoli 25.99, Di Pietro 25.24, Ferraioli 23.60

Russia was next with its mark of 1:38.36 for silver, while Belarus claimed the bronze in 1:39.03.

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4 years ago

All four guys from Belgium were sub 1:45…they seem to be on a steady rise the last two Olympic cycles…curious to see how this translates come Rio.

4 years ago

2nd fastest time in history for Koch, only .05 off world record . He absolutely decimated Gyurta on the final 50 , looks odd to see him so far behind the winner

4 years ago

Can someone please explain to me why the Russians are being allowed to compete here? If a country’s national anti-doping agency (responsible for testing athletes competing in all sports) has been found to be non-compliant with WADA practice then that nation should be banned from international competition in all sports with immediate effect…PERIOD.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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