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2016 MALE EUROPEAN SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: ADAM PEATY
The 2016 Rio Olympics saw Great Britain’s Adam Peaty become the first British male swimmer to win Olympic gold in 28 years. In the 100 breast final in Rio, his challenge was to outswim 2012 Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh. Peaty accomplished that by a margin of 1.5 seconds, taking a huge victory while shattering his own former World Record. The record now stands at a blazing 57.13.
On the final day of Olympic competition, Peaty lined up to swim the breaststroke leg of Great Britain’s 4×100 medley relay, looking to help his team upset the Americans for gold. Through the backstroke portion of the relay, Chris Walker-Hebborn had the team sitting in 6th, but Peaty quickly put them into the lead with an eye-opening 56.69 breast split. Great Britain wound up taking the silver, but Peaty’s breaststroke split was a full 2 seconds faster than any other breast split in the field. It was also the fastest 100 breast split of all time.
In no particular order
- Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy: Paltrinieri ran away with the men’s 1500 free at the Rio Olympics, raking the lead at the 200 meter mark and never looking back. He finished with a time of 14:34.57, putting himself 5 seconds ahead of silver medalist Connor Jaeger (USA). Paltrinieri recently competed in the mile in the short course pool, taking 2nd only to Park Tae Hwan (KOR) at the 2016 Short Course World Championships.
- Laszlo Cseh, Hungary: Cseh, an international veteran on the Hungarian national team, competed in his 4th Olympic Games this summer. He missed the podium in the 200 fly, but then redeemed himself with a medal in the 100 fly. Cseh was a part of the infamous three-way tie for 2nd with long-time rivals Michael Phelps (USA) and Chad Le Clos (RSA).
- Gabriele Detti, Italy: Detti bounced back in 2016 after facing some health problems that kept him from competing in the 2015 World Championships. In the leadup to Rio, he set a new Championship Record in the 400 free at the European Games and qualified to compete in the 400 free and 1500 free in Rio with his performances at Italian nationals. At the Games, he was a 2-time Olympic medalist, winning bronze in both of his events.