2018 Euros Previews: Efimova Looking To Take The Triple


  • August 3-9, 2018 (swimming portion)
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Tollcross International Swimming Centre
  • Psych Sheet

See all of SwimSwam’s European Championships previews here.

The 50m of any stroke is such a fury of power that anything can happen, but I’ve tried to narrow down the top 8 racers that have proven they have what it takes to be in the Glasgow final.

Russia’s Yuliya Efimova is the only European to have dipped under the 30-second barrier thus far this year, carrying a 2018 best of 29.84. The multiple Olympic medalist threw down some impressive times already this year at Sette Colli and shows no signs of slowing down across all 3 breast events.

Behind her in this 50m are a pair of British sprinters in Sarah Vasey and Imogen Clark, both of whom have notched season-bests of 30.60. Vasey’s mark was made at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where the Loughborough swimmer and British national champion raced her way to 50m breaststroke gold.

Mainstay Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania can never be counted out of the sprint breaststroke race, as the 2012 100m breast champion also owns a PB of under 30 seconds. She’s only notched 30.75 so far this season at Maria Lenk, but this 21-year-old’s talent demands she be listed as a medal contender in Glasgow.

Predicted to finish 8th is Ireland’s top breaststroker Mona McSharry. At just 17, McSharry has already written the Irish record books in the breaststroke events and has an international title under her belt via her 100m gold at last year’s World Junior Championships.

In the 100m distance, Efimova is so far ahead in terms of her performances recently that the race will come down to 2nd and 3rd among the rest of the European pack. Spain’s Jessica Vall was a finalist at last year’s World Championships and has already produced a 2018 time faster than what she went in Budapest. As such, she is a contender to take silver.

Italy’s Arianna Castiglioni also clocked a PB so far this year, coming within half a second of the national record in a time of 1:06.91. That ranks Castiglioni among the top 15 swimmers in the world in the event and she’s hungry to claim a medal.

Promising teen Tes Schouten should also rattle how the top 8 shake out, already owning the Dutch national record at just 17 years of age. Entering the KNZB Challenger in Oosterhhout this past March, Schouten held a career-fastest of 1:08.07, but hacked that down to 1:07.12 to score a new senior national record and enter the world’s top 20. Breaking that barrier may fuel her to yet another personal best when among the best in Europe.

A little known fact is that 200m IM Olympic silver medalist Siobhan Marie O’Connor actually owns the British national record in this 100m breast in 1:06.34 from 2016. O’Connor hasn’t raced the event that frequently since then, but has the capacity to be in-line with the rest of the field to potentially put herself on the podium. I’ve placed her a conservative 6th.

As far as the 200m breaststroke goes, Efimova enters these European Championships as the clear favorite once again, holding a 2018 time well over 2 seconds faster than the field.

2 finalists from the 2017 World Championships, Molly Renshaw of Great Britain and Jessica Vall of Spain are both in the mix, as is Renshaw’s domestic nemesis Chloe Tutton.

Renshaw and Tutton finished with the silver and bronze medals in this event at this year’s Commonwealth Games, clocking times of 2:23.28 and 2:23.42, respectively. Look for them to go neck-and-neck vying for the silver medal behind the Russian, while Germany’s Jessica Steiger, Turkey’s Viktoria Gunes and Spain’s veteran Marina Garcia are among the rest trying to stake their claim on the podium.


Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Yuliya Efimova Russia 29.52 29.84
2 Ruta Meilutyte Lithuania 29.48 30.75
3 Sarah Vasey Great Britain 30.30 30.60
4 Imogen Clark Great Britain 30.21 30.60
5 Natalia Ivaneeva Russia 30.54 30.54
6 Arianna Castiglioni Italy 30.33 30.67
7 Jenna Laukkanen Finland 30.79 31.08
8 Mona McSharry Ireland 30.87 30.87


Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Yuliya Efimova Russia 1:04.36 1:04.98
2 Jessica Vall Spain 1:06.44 1:06.58
3 Arianna Castiglioni Italy 1:06.91 1:06.91
4 Tes Schouten Netherlands 1:07.12 1:07.12
5 Ruta Meilutyte Lithuania 1:04.35 1:07.35
6 Siobhan Marie O’Connor Great Britain 1:06.34 1:07.40
7 Sarah Vasey Great Britain 1:06.78 1:08.36
8 Mona McSharry Ireland 1:07.10 1:07.36
Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Yuliya Efimova Russia 2:19.41 2:20.72
2 Molly Renshaw Great Britain 2:22.33 2:23.28
3 Chloe Tutton Great Britain 2:22.34 2:23.42
4 Marina Garcia Spain 2:22.88 2:23.36
5 Vitalina Simonova Russia 2:22.72 2:23.67
6 Jessica Vall Spain 2:22.56 2:24.81
7 Jessica Steiger Germany 2:25.00 2:25.79
8 Viktoria Gunes Turkey 2:19.64 2:26.92

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3 years ago

She is swimming an individual final (barring some divine intervention) in a session I am attending. I won’t boo, because I don’t think it’s the British way, but I will sit in silence when she is introduced. May even conspire to get those around me to join me in silence haha.

All seriousness, can’t see past an Efidoper sweep of the medals, and a fourth gold in the medley relay. Lets hope they dont hand out swimmer of the meet honours.

Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

How will “they” know about your opinion if you keep quiet?

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

My silence for her introduction doesnt equate to total silence for the whole night haha. I imagine, in an audience of largely avid swim fans and family (as it was London 2016), my opinion will be shared quite widely anyway.

3 years ago

Ruta 5th in the 100? She showed return to form last year with 1:05s at worlds.

Reply to  SeanSwims
3 years ago

She actually did really well in Budapest last year, a sign of return. She swam a 1:05.06 in SF!! ended up 4th though, yet that swim didn’t get much recognition. She swam 3 1:05s in at one meet–she’s only done that twice before, in Barcelona (2×1:04) and in London! For comparison in Rio she was 1:07.32, for 7th, in Kazan she was 1:06.36 for 2nd, in 2014 she had the world #1 time, but only a 1:05.39, 2013 in Barcelona was her peak year, and in London, she won only with a 1:05.47. Last year she swam her best swim not in Barcelona!! Pretty hopeful for her to do well.

3 years ago

One steroid injection away from history that one!

Reply to  IDisagree
3 years ago

You just jealous that she is fast, beautiful and articulate!!!

Displaced Wolverine
3 years ago

Lmao, I don’t care, I follow her instagram and she is absolutely FIIIRE! Go Efimova!

Reply to  Displaced Wolverine
3 years ago

Can’t believe I’ve lived to witness somebody verbalising an emoji

Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

at least no one has been named after an emoji. that we know of anyway…

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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