2015 European Short Course Championships: Day 5 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 Qs in preliminary results)


Swedish siren Sarah Sjostrom led the field out of the prelims, but it’s Dutch spinter Ranomi Kromowidjojo who got the job done to claim the top seed out of semi’s. Kromowidjojo registered a time of 23.55, a mark within her top 10 performances of all time.

Sjostrom is certainly still in the mix, recording a mark of 23.75 to swim alongside Kromowidjojo in the final. Aliaksan Herasimenia from Belarus will also flank Kromowidjojo in that final, having scored a time of 23.83 to sit less than two tenths of a second off of her country’s national record.

Danish speedster Jeanette Ottesen will also be a threat in the final later on in today’s session, with her mark of 24.12, though well off her 23.73 best time.

A swim-off will be required to claim the 8th spot for the final, as Belarus’ Yuliya Khitraya and Inge Dekker both tied with 24.50.


The men’s sprint backstroke event was packed with heat, but it was Italy’s Simone Sabbioni who topped the field in this first men’s race, clocking at time of 23.23. That’s a new Italian National Record for the 19-year-old who already claimed the 200m backstroke bronze medal this meet after having finished 5th in the 100m distance.

Polish backstroke Tomasz Polewka also topped the field, as he registered the same time as Sabbioni in 23.23. That blew away his own personal best of 23.58 away by over three tenths of a second and positions him in the middle of the pool for the final later on this same session.

Great Britain’s Chris Walker-Hebborn slid into the 3rd place spot from the semi’s with his time of 23.35.  He’ll need to knock about two tenths off that time to surpass Liam Tancock’s British Record in the event of 23.10 on the books since 2009.

Two home crowd swimmers made the final, as Guy Barnea and Jonatan Kopelev finished as the 5th and 7th seeds, respectively. The 2nd swim-off of the session is required for the 8th spot, as Estonia’s Ralf Tribunstov and Turkey’s Baskalov Iskender tied for 8th in 23.59.



Belgium swam away with its first individual gold medal of these championships, as 23-year-old Fanny Lecluyse took the women’s 200m breaststroke in a time of 2:18.49.  Lecluyse was 2:21.43 in prelims, so she hacked almost three full seconds between the two swims to make her mark on these championships and snag a top-of-the-podium spot.

Lecluyse was clearly stoked with her swim and it oozed out during her interview. “A dream has come true. This was a great race and I could do everything I planned, I could accelerate at the right time and managed to clock my best time here.”

Over a second behind was Russia’s Maria Astashkina, who clocked a 2:19.69 for the silver. The Russian actually out-split Lesluyse in the 2nd 50 – 35.33 to Luclyse’s 35.45, but the Belgian came on strong and ultimately rocked a 35.69 final 50 to the Russian’s 36.41, which put her well over the edge to win the race.

For Astashkina’s part, she has dipped beneath the 2:19 mark once in her career with the 2:18.95 she swam at last year’s short course championships in Doha, so it would have taken a best time by far to catch the Belgian. She was also super pleased with her swim, commenting post-race, “I was very excited. I didn’t expect this medal. After the halfway mark I looked left and right and gave all I could.”

Coming up with the bronze was Turkey’s young star Viktoria Gunes, who touched in 2:19.73.  That’s yet another new National Record for the 17-year-old phenom. She has consistently lowered the time this championships after scoring a prelims outing of 2:21.01 and now she went sub-2:20 for the first time ever.

However, the only comment after the race from Gunes was that she was “very, very disappointed.”


Italian stud Marco Orsi collected a gold in this 100m distance to add to his silver in the 50, as he out-swam the field with his super swift mark of 46.05. That time represents the 2nd-best outing of this 25-year-old’s career, just .01 of a second behind his personal best of 46.04 logged just this past April in Riccione. Also of note, Orsi brought the title back to Italy after 9 years. The previous Italian who had earned the gold at these championships was Filippo Magnini in 2006.

Belgian freestyle specialist Pieter Timmers also got the job done to earn silver in this race, as he swam to the wall in a fierce 46.61.  That’s by far his best time ever, as his previous fastest outing was that of 46.82 that helped him into the men’s 100m freestyle final in Doha last December at the short course World Championships. There, he ultimately finished 6th.  **Of note, Timmers’ reaction time off the blocks was .46, which was by far the fastest.  The next closest was the winner Orsi, but his reaction time was .63 for comparison.

Polish 20-year-old Sebastian Szczepanski also got his spot on the podium finishing in a time of 46.87 for bronze. Konrad Cerniak holds the Polish National Record at 46.63, so keep an eye on this young Pole to step it up and crack that record as he continues to improve his elite international swims.


A Championship Record-setting swim was thrown down by the seemingly unstoppable Sarah Sjostrom from Sweden. Sjostrom split 25.86/29.17 to bring home another sprint European Short Course title this time in the 100m butterfly, scoring a final time of 55.03.  That surpassed the previous mark by just .02 of a second, as France’s Diane Bui Duyet held the old mark in 55.05 from 2009.

For her swim, Sjostrom commented afterwards, “It was a weird race for me, I had two bad turns, in the last leg all I thought was to get the title. I achieved that so I’m really happy.”

Runner-up in today’s race was Jeanette Ottesen from Denmark who scored a time of 55.68 for silver. Her best time is 55.32 from last year’s short course world championships in Doha, which earned her the bronze behind Sjostrom and China’s Lu Ying.

Germany’s butterfly squad broke through yet again at these championships, with Alexandra Wenk breaking through in this 100m distance to follow-up teammate Hentke’s gold in the 200m race. Wenk registered a time of 56.43 for a bronze medal, bringing down another German National Record in the process.  Her time today of 56.43 also laid radioactive waste to her previous best of 57.18 coming into this meet, which was lowered to 56.48 in prelims.

Wenk’s post-race comments summed up her excitement, as she commented, “I’m really happy, this is my first international medal. Only the two best European women are in front of me, and it’s great to better another national record.”


Russia earned its 2nd gold medal of the night, with Sergei Fesikov‘s win in the men’s 100m IM. Fesikov touched in 52.00 to win by over half a second in front of the rest of the field, which included silver medalist Yakov Yan Toumarkin and Greece’s Andreas Vazaios who scored the bronze.

Fesikov said post-race that, “I was going for the gold, though I was struggling with myself to give my very best.”

Fesikov swam a 51.35 for 5th at last year’s short course World Championships, so his time was not in the realm of his best, yet was enough to get the job done of Toumarkin’s 52.62 and Vazaios’ 52.67. However, both the Israeli and the Greek registered brand new National Records, so the race was an all-around celebration from the home crowd who roared Toumarkin, especially, home for the runner-up spot.

Toumarkin, who also earned a silver medal in the men’s 200m backstroke earlier in this competition said of his swim, “I didn’t expect two medals here, it’s amazing to compete in front of the home crowd. We had a lot of pressure before the event and during it, but I know how to transfer it to my advantage.”

For his part, Vasaios was equaling ecstatic, commenting, “I’m really surprised, but I fought and tried to swim as fast as possible and I stepped up here at the championships from 7th 100 fly, 5th 200 IM – and now I’m on the podium.”


Great Britain’s Jazmin Carlin wrangled in her 2nd medal of these championships, adding a gold in the women’s 400m freestyle to her win in the 800m from earlier this meet. Carlin hadn’t yet cracked the 4:00 mark coming into this meet, but crush that threshold the 25-year-old did, as she touched in 3:58.81 for the gold.

Her swim led Carlin to state after the race, “My second gold here, that’s amazing, especially since the short-course is not my favorite. Despite that, the expectations were very high so I can be really happy with the results here. Now I wait and see what will happen next year in Rio.”

Carlin swam a smart race, which was absolutely vital, knowing Hungary’s #IronLady Katinka Hosszu was hot on her heels. Hosszu held the advantage, earning lane 4 from prelims with her time of 4:01.72 to Carlin’s 4:01.68. Hosszu also fired off the first shots, slamming down a 57.31 first 100 split to take the lead and maintain that through the 2nd 100, where Carlin took over and was able to hold off a late charge by the Hungarian. Comparison of the two athletes’ racing strategies is below:

Jaz Carlin -27.76, 29.97, 30.25, 30.46, 30.42, 30.51, 30.06, 29.38 = 3:58.81

Katinka Hosszu – 27.37, 29.94, 30.54, 30.69, 30.60, 30.46, 29.58, 29.66 = 3:58.84

For Hosszu, this is her fastest swim in the event to date and registered a brand new Hungarian National Record. The previous mark was that of  3:59.68 held by Evelyn Verrasztó from 2009.

Hosszu’s analysis was as follows, “I can’t complain with clinching a silver after 6 gold medals, even by such a tiny margin. It’s tough at the end of a 400m race, but it happens sometimes. I felt all the acids in my body, it was the same feeling I had in Kazan in the meet ending 400m IM, I was in absolute pain and now I had Jazmin right next to me who could catch me in the end.”

Not far behind was another Hungarian, Boglarka Kapas who already finished 2nd to Carlin in the women’s 800m. Kapas’ final time here was also sub-4:00, with a 3:59.02 to collect the bronze. That’s the first time Kapas has broken 4:00, as her previous best was 4:00.27.


Holy old man speed again, as Hungarian Laszlo Cseh proves that 30 years of age can still be considered one’s “prime”. Following up his multi-medal performance in Kazan, Cseh has blasted a series of wins here, capped off by another European Record/Hungarian Record/Championship Record, this time in the men’s 200m butterfly.

Today Cseh fired off a time of 1:49.00 to demolish the previous record held by Russian Nikolay Skvortsov at 1:49.46 from 2009. Skvortsov’s time was in the midst of the super suit era, so yet another rubber suit record goes down as Cseh clocked a 1:49.00 for his gold medal win.

1:50.87 was his best short course time headed into this meet, so the Hungarian slashed just under 2 seconds off of his personal best to make this swim happen today. Cseh’s splits were 51.79 (including a freakish 24.19 opening 50)/57.21 to best his next competitor by over 2 seconds. Analysis of his splits will be in detail in a subsequent post, but a rough conversion to LCM puts that swim in the 1:52.30 ballpark.

But, Danish fly-meister Viktor Bromer earned his silver in a brand new Danish National Mark, clocking a mighty 1:51.62 for his efforts. 1:51.81 was his personal best before this meet and he was just 1:53.40 in prelims. So, Bromer threw down his best effort to date to follow behind the raging 30-year-old.

Simon Sjoedin also unofficially clocked a new National Record, as the Swede scored a swim of 1:52.89 for the bronze.


No major surprises in the women’s 50m freestyle event. The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo raced her way to the win in the women’s splash n’ dash, clocking a 23.56 for her efforts.  That time was just .01 slower than prelims, but was enough to put her on top of the podium against a monsterously-stacked field.

Sjostrom settled for silver in 23.63, but racked up her 4th medal of these championships. Her time was 23.63 to finish as the runner-up in this event.

Danish star Ottesen cracked 24-seconds, clocking a 23.94 for a comfortable bronze.

Kromowidjojo said after the race, “I’m really happy with the gold, but disappointed with the time. I came her to clock my best time in the 50m and the 100m free, but didn’t achieve that in either of them. We have to analyze this as soon as we get home.”


Poland claimed anther backstroke gold, this time from Tomasz Polewka in a time of 22.96. After teammate Radowslaw Kawecki doubled up on the 100m and 200m distance golds, Polewka touched in front of the field with the only sub-23-second time of the night in this sprint race, crushing his personal best before this meet of 23.58.

Polewka scored an unofficial new Polish National Record in the process, as Christopher Walker-Hebborn scored a new National Record of his own. The Brit registered a mark of 23.09 to dip beneath his nation’s previous best mark of 23.10 held by Tancock since 2009. Walker-Hebborn’s previous best was 23.31 prior to this meet and sat swam a 23.35 in semi’s earlier this same session.

Also in the top 3 was Simone Sabbioni from Italy, lowering his own National Record with a time of 23.09 to tie CWH for the silver medal.


The Netherlands picked up the win in this final women’s event of the championships, as the foursome of Tessa Vermeulen, Moniek Nijhuis, Inge Dekker and Ranomi Kromowidjojo collectively finished in a time of 1:44.85 for gold.  Splits were as follows: 27.51, 29.27, 25.10 and 22.97.

A tight battle ensued for the silver, with Sweden coming away with 2nd place in 1:45.34 to Italy’s 1:45.73. Notable splits from those minor medal relays included Italy’s lead-off 26.95 from Elena Gemo and then Silvia Di Pietro‘s fly leg of 24.98, plus Sweden’s Sjostrom with a fly leg of her own in 24.33, the swiftest of the entire field.



The entire meet concluded on a Championship Record-setting swim by the Italian foursome of Sabbioni, Fabio Scozzoli, Matteo Rivolta and Orsi, who combined for a gold medal-winning time of 1:31.71 in the men’s 200 medley relay event.

Splitting 23.29 for Sabbioni, 25.88 for Scozzoli, 22.19 for Rivolta and 20.35 for Orsi, the men killed the previous meet record mark of 1:31.80 held by Russia since 2009.

Russia earned the silver in the race with its time of 1:32.17, while Belarus clinched bronze in 1:33.21.



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Victor P
8 years ago

The men’s fly events are going to produce some really fast times across the board in Rio!

8 years ago

Not even in my wildest dreams have I hoped for 11 golds from team Hungary. These European Championships were an absolute blast from start to finish. Very good competition overall, with so many records.

I hope Hungary could win at least 1-2 gold medals in Rio, even if it will be infinitely more difficult. Katinka will have fierce competition in the 400 medley from Belmonte, and even if her 200 medley win looks quite sure now, I am afraid the Chinese will bring out another wonder swimmer, out of nowhere, just to take away the much deserved gold from Katinka in both medley races. On the backstroke Seebohm seems the hot favorite and even Franklin could make a great… Read more »

8 years ago

Simone isn’t even 20 yet not 25 swimswam

bobo gigi
8 years ago

And Ranomi is still present! Another 50 free gold for her.

bobo gigi
8 years ago

Great job by Mr Cseh. He has never looked as young as now.
Looks like Gunes is better in long course.
And amazing to see that the women’s 400 free winner can’t swim faster than the long course world record of KL.

Overall a very sad meet for the French team apart from Lara Grangeon. We had a very young team but most of them were really tourists.

How many golds and medals for Hungary? I’ve not counted but that’s impressive.

8 years ago

He’s a bit disappointed, went for the WR.

Reply to  tkrisz
8 years ago

This guy is one of the greatest European swimmers of all time, but still doesn’t have an Olympic gold. I predict some breathtaking races at Rio between him, Le Clos and Phelps. Gosh I’m so excited.

Reply to  Hunorix
8 years ago

Put in the mix Shields on the 100 .

Victor P
Reply to  Hunorix
8 years ago

Just think, it’s probably going to take a 1:52 low to medal in Rio and a sub 1:52 effort to win gold. The WR will be challenged.

8 years ago

Katinka lost one of her NR’s. Nice swim Dalma and congrats for this beatiful 6th place.

Reply to  tkrisz
8 years ago

Katinka gained a new NR intead of the lost one. Also Bogi inside the old record. Congrats to the Hungarian girls, great swims.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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