2021 European Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The opening night of finals from the 2021 European Championships in Budapest will have eight events on the slate, including four races where the first medals of the pool swimming competition will be on the line.

Leading things off will be the women’s 400 IM, where hometown favorite Katinka Hosszu will look to regain her crown after winning three straight titles from 2012 to 2016. In 2018, Hosszu opted not to compete in the event, and France’s Fantine Lesaffre snagged the gold.

Hosszu paced the prelims in 4:37.42, with 17-year-old teammate Viktoria Mihalyvari second in 4:38.07. That left two other Hungarians—Boglarka Kapas (4:40.03) and Zsuzsanna Jakabos (4:40.50)—out of the final despite swimming the third and fifth-fastest times overall.

Since the women’s 400 IM was added to the European program, Hungary has won six golds, six silvers and three bronze medals in the event—if they win gold tonight, they’ll tie GDR (East Germany) with 17 total medals in the event. If Hosszu and Mihalyvari both get on the podium, they’ll lead the event’s all-time medal count.

The men’s 400 free has the makings of a fantastic race with the top seven qualifiers separated by just eight tenths of a second. Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic leads the way after setting a new National Record of 3:47.23 in the prelims, with Henrik Christiansen (3:47.51) and Gabriele Detti (3:47.56) second and third and Danas Rapsys lurking in seventh.

We’ll also see semis in the women’s 50 free, men’s 50 back, women’s 100 fly and men’s 100 breast before the women’s and men’s 400 free relays close things out. The men’s 100 breast is particularly loaded, with the five fastest men of all-time in the field. In the prelims, Adam PeatyIlya Shymanovich and Nicolo Martinenghi also broke 59 seconds, with Arno Kamminga not far off in 59.09.

Women’s 400 IM Final

  • European Record: 4:26.36, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2016
  • European Championship Record: 4:30.90, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2016
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 4:38.53
  1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 4:34.76
  2. Viktoria Mihalyvari (HUN) / Aimee Willmott (GBR), 4:36.81

It was a patented Katinka Hosszu performance in the women’s 400 IM, as the reigning Olympic champion regained her European title with a wire-to-wire victory in a time of 4:34.76.

After Aimee Willmott pulled within a half-second of the lead on the backstroke leg, Hosszu pulled away on breast, ultimately winning by over two seconds in a time that rockets her up to #2 on the seasonal world rankings. It also marks a season-best by four seconds for the Hungarian, who had previously been 4:38.85 in April.

Hosszu’s teeenage countrywoman Viktoria Mihalyvari sat back in seventh at the 200 but moved her way through the field on the back-half, closing in 30.74 to pull even with Willmott and tie the Brit for silver in 4:36.81. The 17-year-old Mihalyvari falls .01 off the Hungarian Age Record held by Eva Risztov, while Willmott was just over a second off her season-best of 4:35.70.

In fourth, Italian Ilaria Cusinato produced her fastest swim since departing with coach Shane Tusup, clocking 4:38.08.

Men’s 400 Free Final

  • European Record: 3:40.07, Paul Biedermann (GER), 2009
  • European Championship Record: 3:44.01, Gabriele Detti (ITA), 2016
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 3:46.78
  1. Martin Malyutin (RUS), 3:44.18
  2. Felix Auboeck (AUT), 3:44.63
  3. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 3:45.39

Back-half specialist Martin Malyutin did his thing after nearly the entirely field was relatively even at the 200, closing with blistering splits of 27.52/26.60 to edge out Felix Auboeck and win the men’s 400 free in a time of 3:44.18.

The swim marks a massive personal best for Malyutin, who had set his previous PB of 3:45.92 just last month at the Russian Olympic Trials. The 21-year-old slots into #2 in the 2020-21 world rankings, trailing only Aussie Elijah Winnington (3:43.90).

Auboeck claimed silver in 3:44.63, not far off his Austrian Record of 3:44.19 set in 2017, while Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys picks up the bronze medal in 3:45.39. Auboeck has been 3:44.51 this season, now ranking fifth, while Rapsys crushes his season-best by over two seconds.

Italians Gabriele Detti (3:46.07) and Marco De Tullio (3:46.36) were fourth and fifth, and Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic reset his National Record for the second time today in 3:46.54 for sixth.

Women’s 50 Free Semi-Finals

  • European Record: 23.67, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2017
  • European Championship Record: 23.74, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2017
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 24.77
  1. Pernille Blume (DEN), 24.06
  2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 24.14
  3. Kasia Wasick (POL), 24.34
  4. Maria Kameneva (RUS), 24.40
  5. Femke Heemskerk (NED), 24.41
  6. Michelle Coleman (SWE), 24.54
  7. Anna Hopkin (GBR), 24.66
  8. Barbora Seemanova (CZE), 24.69

Denmark’s Pernille Blume looked phenomenal in winning the first semi-final of the women’s 50 free, scorching a time of 24.06 to overtake Sarah Sjostrom atop the 2020-21 world rankings by .01.

Blume’s swim, which held up as the top time heading into the final, is her seventh-fastest ever, and is notably also .01 under her Olympic winning time in 2016. It’s also her fastest performance since the 2018 Euros, where she won silver behind Sjostrom and set the Danish NR of 23.75.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo led the second semi for the Netherlands in 24.14, just off her season-best (24.11) to qualify second overall.

Taking second to Kromowidjojo in the heat and third overall was Poland’s Kasia Wasick, who dipped under her National Record of 24.51 set in the prelims in 24.34.

Great Britain’s Anna Hopkin was six one-hundredths off the time required to qualify for the Olympics (24.66, needs to go 24.60).

Men’s 50 Back Semi-Finals

  1. Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 23.93
  2. Apostolos Christou (GRE), 24.49
  3. Robert Glinta (ROU), 24.57
  4. Hugo Gonzalez (ESP), 24.60
  5. Grigory Tarasevich (RUS), 24.68
  6. Conor Ferguson (IRL), 24.81
  7. Simone Sabbioni (ITA) / Viktar Staselovich (BLR), 25.02

Kliment Kolesnikov did it again.

The Russian broke the world record in the men’s 50 backstroke for the second straight European Championships, except this time, he also becomes the first man under 24 seconds.

Kolesnikov set the world mark at 24.00 in 2018, and now eclipses that barrier in 23.93 in a historical semi-final performance. The 20-year-old also takes out his European and Russian Records. He had previously been 24.08 this year at the Russian Olympic Trials.

Greece’s Apostolos Christou qualified second in 24.49, lowering his National Record of 24.75 set at the 2019 World Championships. The time slots him into second in the world rankings behind Kolesnikov.

Women’s 100 Fly Semi-Finals

  • European Record: 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2016
  • European Championship Record: 55.89, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2016
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 57.92
  1. Louise Hansson (SWE), 56.73
  2. Marie Wattel (FRA), 57.48
  3. Svetlana Chimrova (RUS), 57.62
  4. Arina Surkova (RUS) / Anna Ntountounaki (GRE), 57.77
  5. Elena Di Liddo (ITA), 57.88
  6. Anastasiya Shkurdai (BLR), 57.92
  7. Ilaria Bianchi (ITA), 58.06

Louise Hansson appears to be picking up right where Sarah Sjostrom left off for Sweden, as she dominated the women’s 100 fly semis in 56.73, qualifying first for the final by three quarters of a second.

The time for Hansson ties her personal best time, set last month in Stockholm, which ranks her fifth in the world this season. The 24-year-old out-split the field on both 50s: 26.54/30.19.

Arina Surkova and Anna Ntountounaki tied for second in the semi in 57.77, with Ntountounaki also equalling her Greek Record set at the 2018 Euros. They qualified fourth for the final, while Marie Wattel (57.48) and Svetlana Chimrova (57.62) went 1-2 in the first semi for second and third. It was a season-best for Chimrova, who had been 57.83 at Russian Trials in April.

Men’s 100 Breast Semi-Finals

  • European Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2019
  • European Championship Record: 57.10, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2018
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 59.93
  1. Adam Peaty (GBR), 57.67
  2. Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA), 58.45
  3. Arno Kamminga (NED), 58.74
  4. James Wilby (GBR), 58.80
  5. Alessandro Pinzuti (ITA), 59.20
  6. Ilya Shymanovich (BLR) / Berkay Oegretir (TUR), 59.23
  7. Andrius Sidlauskas (LTU), 59.30

It was business as usual for Adam Peaty in the men’s 100 breast semis, as he soared to the ninth-fastest time in history: 57.67.

Nicolo Martinenghi kept it close on the first 50, down by just over two tenths, but it was all Peaty coming home, as he put together another sub-31 closing split (30.95).

Peaty has now been under 58 seconds 16 times and holds the 24-fastest swims ever by a Brit.

Martinenghi took second in the semi and overall in 58.45, less than a tenth off his Italian Record set earlier this year (58.37), while James Wilby come home strong (31.11) to join them under 59 seconds in the second semi in 58.80.

In the first heat it was all Arno Kamminga, as the Dutchman, who recently joined Peaty by becoming the second man ever under 58 seconds, cruised to a time of 58.74 to qualify third overall.

Turkey’s Berkay Oegretir tied with Ilya Shymanovich for second in the heat in 59.23. Turkey has only won one medal in swimming at the European LC Championships (2000).

A couple of heavy hitters, Russians Kirill Prigoda (59.36) and Anton Chupkov (59.49), missed the final in ninth and 10th.

Women’s 400 Free Relay Final

  • European Record: 3:31.72, Netherlands, 2009
  • European Championship Record:  3:33.62, Netherlands, 2008
  1. Great Britain, 3:34.17
  2. Netherlands, 3:34.29
  3. France, 3:35.92

The British women executed an excellent race en route to winning the European title in the women’s 400 free relay in a new National Record time of 3:34.17, qualifying them to swim the race in Tokyo.

Lucy Hope (53.89), Anna Hopkin (53.59) and Abbie Wood (53.90) handed Freya Anderson the lead by two tenths over France heading into the anchor, but it was the Netherlands who were the real danger.

Femke Heemskerk threw down a scorching 51.99 closing split for the Dutch, but Anderson managed to hold her off in 52.79 to earn the win by 12 one hundredths.

This marks only the second win for the British women in this event, with the first coming all the way back in 1927 – which was also only the second time women competed.

Hope’s lead-off was also a new Scottish Record, taking out her previous mark of 54.19.

The Netherlands picked up silver in 3:34.29, while France won bronze in 3:35.92. Pernille Blume anchored in 53.56 for fourth-place Denmark (3:36.81).

Men’s 400 Free Relay Final

  • European Record: 3:08.32, France, 2008
  • European Championship Record: 3:11.64, France, 2014
  1. Russia, 3:10.41
  2. Great Britain, 3:11.56
  3. Italy, 3:11.87

The Russians put together four strong legs to roll to victory in the men’s 400 free relay, shattering the Championship Record by over a second in a time of 3:10.41. This marks Russia’s second consecutive win in the event after France won three straight from 2012-2016.

Andrei Minakov led things off in 48.18, and then Alexander Shchegolev moved the team ahead of Italy for the lead in 47.64 before Vladislav Grinev (47.49) and Kliment Kolesnikov (47.10) closed the show.

Kolesnikov’s split was tops in the field, while Shchegolev’s split was a big one for the 19-year-old.

The British men took out a 12-year-old National Record to claim the silver medal, marking just the second time they’ve ever stood on the podium in the event.

Tom Dean (48.32), Matthew Richards (48.13), James Guy (47.92) and Duncan Scott (47.19) combined for a time of 3:11.56, lowering the 3:11.62 record set at the 2009 World Championships.

Alessandro Miressi took out the Italian Record leading off in 47.74, and then the team got two more sub-48s from Thomas Ceccon (47.98) and Manuel Frigo (47.85) to take bronze in 3:11.87.

The Hungarians were fourth, with a 47.50 anchor from Kristof Milak, and Kristian Gkolomeev was also sub-48 for fifth-place Greece (47.77).

Andrej Barna threw down a scorcher – 47.15 swimming third for Serbia, who placed seventh overall in 3:13.73 for a new National Record.

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Troll in the Dungeon
4 months ago

13 men sub 60 for the 100 breast in prelims. Can we get all 16 sub 60 for the semi finals?

Last edited 4 months ago by Troll in the Dungeon
4 months ago

Wood and Hopkin have been brought in for the GB relay. Unsurprising, Wood had some amazing splits in the ISL but may be a risk to use someone who hasnt swam a LC 100 free this year competitively. Wood has turned into an exact replica of SMOC for British swimming it seems 🤣

Troll in the Dungeon
Reply to  Jack
4 months ago

I guess now is the time for experimentation, over the Olympics.

On the men’s side they’ve gone for Richards over Whittle. Russia’s men’s line up is absolutely going to smoke the field.

Thomas Selig
Reply to  Jack
4 months ago

Hopkin was expected. Wood is an interesting call: as you say good ISL splits, should be capable of better than the 55. that the two youngsters put up.

Richards gets the fourth spot over Whittle for the men. A bit surprised by that, as Whittle swam well this morning. Russia have changed their entire quartet, bringing in Minakov, Shchegolev, Grinev, and Kolesnikov.

Reply to  Jack
4 months ago

Wood swam heats of the 100fr in Manchester back in March. Went 55.7, looked pretty easy, but scratched finals to focus on IM. You’d hope a 1.57 freestyler of the speedier build could go 54 flying.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dee
4 months ago

Makes no sense at all to hold yet another championship meet so close to the Olympics, especially when most of those countries already had “trials” earlier this spring

Reply to  Comet
4 months ago

Not everyone qualifies for the olympics so look at all the other swimmers who a chance to represent their country

Reply to  Taa
4 months ago

Very true especially for the young and upcoming athletes that could be mapping the road for 2024 but for the big stars makes no sense at all to try to peak three times in the same year.

Reply to  Comet
4 months ago

Already a WR (Kolesnikov) in these nonsense Champs.. Seriously, I understand your point, but swimming is so competitive that also with untapered swimmers, 2 months before the most important event of the quadriennium (which is become quinquennium) we can watch great races and results.

Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  Comet
4 months ago

Europeans are a great stepping stone before the Olympics in order to get back into a national team environment and international racing. AND as you can see most of the swimming stars are present (apart from those training is the US and injured like Sjoestrom)

4 months ago

Understandable that Richards has been given the swim tonight, he has the individual spot and usually steps it up in the evening, but that’s a little hard on young Whittle. Use that in the 100 tomorrow young man! Dean leading off between Mityukov & Miressi – Hopefully they can pull him to a good time.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dee
Sapnu puas
4 months ago

Nooooo bring back Adrian Moorhouse not Mark Foster

Troll in the Dungeon
4 months ago

The Hungarians sure know how to host a swim meet. I volunteered at Budapest 2017 – that was awesome, but they seem to have smashed it again. Great job.

Sam B
Reply to  Troll in the Dungeon
4 months ago

from a few 100 million dollars (they take from the taxpayers and the EU), they sure do!

Corn Pop
Reply to  Sam B
4 months ago

Germany ( aka the EU ) provides 4.9% of Hungary. GDP in bribes.

4 months ago

I know there’s the LEN stream & Hungarian stream, but does anyone know if there’s a stream with English commentators (Eurosports maybe?)

Reply to  john26
4 months ago

bbc player/sport

4 months ago

hosszu 4:34.76 2nd fastest time this season behind mckeown who might not focus on the 400 IM, was a bit unsure about her but she’s looking solid now

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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