2018 Euros Previews: World Champions Peaty, Chupkov Headline Men’s BR

2018 LEN EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

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

If we look back at the 2014 version of the European Aquatics Championships in Berlin, the male breaststrokers really set the stage for what was to come over the next three years. Great Britain’s Adam Peaty had his breakout meet, winning gold in the 50 and 100 breast, and Germany’s Marco Koch edged out another Brit, Ross Murdoch, for gold in the 200.

Peaty finished the year as the fastest swimmer in the world in both of his events, and Murdoch and Koch sat 1-2 in the 200. There had been European success in years prior in men’s breaststroke internationally, largely led by Hungarian Daniel Gyurta in the 200, but now the continent was setting up to be the best in the world in this stroke.

That’s arguably the case now, as over the last two World Championships they’ve swept the breaststroke events going six-for-six, with Peaty leading the way with four titles. Koch won the 200 in Kazan in 2015, and Russian Anton Chupkov triumphed in 2017. To boot, Peaty won gold by a landslide in the 100 at the Olympic Games in Rio, while Chupkov took bronze in the 200 with Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin winning gold (Kazakhstan is technically an Asian country, but does have about 10% of their land lying in Europe, and has a dominant European presence in their culture. Not that this matters, since they don’t swim in this competition).

Suffice to say, Europeans are some of the best breaststrokers in the world, and they’ll look to maintain that spot as they head into the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Olympic Games.

Adam Peaty 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

Peaty

The 23-year-old Peaty is obviously the massive favorite in both the 50 and 100, entering as the world record holder, reigning World Champion and defending European Champion in both. Beginning four years ago in Berlin, he went undefeated internationally (LC) in the 50 and 100 breast with World titles in 2015, 2017 and the Olympic gold in 2016. However, it came to a screeching halt at the Commonwealth Games in April, as he was upset by South African legend Cameron van der Burgh in the 50.

A little surprised at the loss, Peaty stated that he would simply take it as a positive and move onto Euros:  “It gives me a reality check. Even if you are the best in the world, world record holder, you can still be beaten. I think that’s the most valuable lesson from today. In April I’m never this fast so I’ll take it as a positive and move on to the Europeans.”

With a bit of extra motivation behind him, who knows what kind of times Peaty can put up here. Last summer he was on fire in the 50, knocking the world record down nearly half a second to 25.95, and was dominant in the 100 in 57.47 (just over three tenths off his WR of 57.13). I’m not so sure we’ll see those records fall here, but he should win both events comfortably.

While there will be little intrigue in the race for gold, the battle behind Peaty sets up to be a spectacular one with plenty of big names in the mix.

Fabior Scozzoli 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

50 Breast

Russian Kirill Prigoda, Belarusian Ilya Shymanovich, and Italian Fabio Scozzoli were all sub-27 in the 50 last year, getting through to the final at Worlds, and Shymanovich and Scozzoli have been even faster in 2018. They both broke their respective national records a few months ago, and come in as favorites for the minor medals. Additionally, Scozzoli and Prigoda went 1-2 over Peaty in the 50 at the Short Course European’s in December.

Two darkhorses who could surprise here are Ties Elzerman of the Netherlands and Caba Siladji of Serbia. Like Shymanovich and Scozzoli, they’ve set national records as well this year and come in flying under the radar despite both being 27.0.

100 Breast

Kirill Prigoda 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

The 2nd fastest European behind Peaty last year was Italian junior Nicolo Martinenghi, but he was forced to bow out of the meet due to a groin injury. With him out, the 22-year-old Prigoda probably becomes the favorite for silver. The bronze medalist in the event at last year’s World Championships, he possesses the right combination of speed (Euro SC silver in 50) and endurance (won the 200 at that same meet) to put together a great swim. He was 59.05 in Budapest, 59.27 in April, and has a 58 in his sights.

His countryman Chupkov took him out head-to-head at the Russian Championships earlier this year, recording a PB of 59.15, and the reigning 200 World Champ will be able to mow down anyone within reach with his incredible back-half speed. Peaty’s the only guy who can rival Chupkov’s sub-31 ability on the second 50, which gives the Russian a great shot at silver if his early speed is flowing.

Another contender for silver is Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands, who set the Dutch National Record just over a month ago at the Sette Colli Trophy in 59.14. Then you’ve also got 2017 Worlds finalists Andrius Sidlauskas of Lithuania and Murdoch of Great Britain, and the speedsters Scozzoli and Shymanovich will also be in the thick of it. Another Brit James Wilby could also make some noise here but will be in tough with Peaty and Murdoch competing (only two swimmers from each country can advance past the prelims).

200 Breast

Anton Chupkov 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

While Peaty is the dominant figure in the sprints, Chupkov has become that guy in the 200. After Olympic bronze in 2016, his performance in Budapest was truly spectacular, lowering the European Record twice en route to gold and a time of 2:06.96 (making him only the second man to crack 2:07). He’s the top European this year at 2:07.81, 3rd in the world, and will no doubt be looking to finish the summer as the fastest on the planet once again.

Wilby, a 24-year-old who has always been in the shadows of the other British breaststrokers, really broke out at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year. He took bronze in the 50, silver in the 100, and in the 200 made up a 1.62-second deficit at the 100 to run down Murdoch for gold in a time of 2:08.05. He and Chupkov are currently the only two swimmers in the world who can close out a 200 breast sub-1:05, so the back-half battle here is something to get excited about.

Other contenders here are Murdoch, Prigoda, Kamminga and Russian Ilya Khomenko, who have all been 2:08 in 2018. Of course, only two of Chupkov, Prigoda, and Khomenko can advance out of the heats. That rule could impact Khomenko multiple times, as he’s got the ability to be a factor in all three events but may not be able to get by two of his countryman. We also can’t overlook Sweden’s Erik Persson. He’s only been sub-2:09 once in his career, but it was a 2:07.8 back in April of last year.

50 Breast Predictions

Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Adam Peaty Great Britain 25.95 26.41
2 Fabio Scozzoli Italy 26.73 26.73
3 Kirill Prigoda Russia 26.85 27.12
4 Ilya Shymanovich Belarus 26.86 26.86
5 Ties Elzerman Netherlands 27.02 27.02
6 Caba Siladji Serbia 27.05 27.05
7 Johannes Skagius Sweden 27.02 27.60
8 Oleg Kostin Russia 27.19 27.26

100 Breast Predictions

Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Adam Peaty Great Britain 57.13 58.59
2 Kirill Prigoda Russia 59.05 59.27
3 Anton Chupkov Russia 59.15 59.15
4 Arno Kamminga Netherlands 59.14 59.14
5 Andrius Sidlauskas Lithuania 59.12 1:00.24
6 Ilya Shymanovich Belarus 59.40 59.40
7 Fabio Scozzoli Italy 59.33 59.33
8 James Wilby Great Britain 59.43 59.43

200 Breast Predictions

Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Anton Chupkov Russia 2:06.96 2:07.81
2 Kirill Prigoda Russia 2:08.11 2:08.32
3 James Wilby Great Britain 2:08.05 2:08.05
4 Ross Murdoch Great Britain 2:07.30 2:08.32
5 Arno Kamminga Netherlands 2:08.70 2:08.70
6 Luca Pizzini Italy 2:08.95 2:09.34
7 Erik Persson Sweden 2:07.85 2:09.21
8 Giedrius Titenis Lithuania 2:07.80 2:10.32

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25 free champ

What’s more impressive? Peaty’s biceps or Ben Proud’s V shape?

Brownish

Peaty’s biceps because it’s a winner.

Rice

Proven – The brits are the hottest (Well the men anyway)

50free

Ben’s Teeth?

Dee

You genuinely think most women would care about his teeth when placed beside 99% of other men? I don’t lol

PeatyPiper

A minor point, the last European Aquatics Championships was actually 2016 in London rather than 2014 in Berlin. I think traditionally it has been held every 2 years like the World Championships, but now that they are trying to bundle a number of sports into a European Championships it may become every 4 years like the Olympics.

Brownish

No, in every 2 years. The last was in London, 2016 as you wrote, the next will be in Budapest, 2020.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/LEN_European_Aquatics_Championships

Dee

The championships will still be every two years. Every other Championship, so every 4 years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, all the sports will merge to form a multisport championship. I believe it’s to ready Europe’s athletes better for the Olympic Games – Going into a multisport event can be very different.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James is currently a university swimmer for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. He is studying economics. Along with swimming, he also loves hockey. He's in his 14th season as a competitive swimmer. Best Times - SCM (LCM) 50 FR - 24.56 (25.12) 100 FR - 53.58 (56.70) 200 FR - 1:56.07 (2:04.29) 1500 …

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