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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Serbian 🐐
1 year ago

Rumor says Barna wasn’t even shaved

Eric the eel > Phelps
1 year ago

6 individual races today with one world record, 2 fastest and 3 second fastest times of this season. The Europeans are definitely huge and not just a training meet.

1 year ago

I genuinely wonder how much rest Peaty needs to swim a 57.6.

Eric the eel > Phelps
1 year ago

Barna Andrej from Serbia 47.15 on a relay start , I’m excited for the 100 free with potentially 6 men under 48 (Kolesnikov, Minakov or Grinev, Miressi, Barna, Scott, Milak)

Last edited 1 year ago by Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  Eric the eel > Phelps
1 year ago

Only two Russians could be in the final.

Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  whever
1 year ago

Minakov or Grinev

Reply to  whever
1 year ago

Tomorrow morning 100 free heats will be explosive. Also Shchegolev in fine form and it’s significant that he swam the 4×100 free final instead of a charismatic swimmer like Rylov capable of great relay splits in the past. 47.10 from Kolesnikov, after the 50 back WR, is also impressive. Every comparison is impossible, but at Russian Nats Kolesnikov was way slower in the relay, the first day of competition. And then he swam 47.31 in the 100 free final..

Last edited 1 year ago by nuotofan
1 year ago

That men’s GB relay is looking good. Even if Duncan is the only one that drops time between now and Tokyo, they probably walk away with the bronze over the Aussies

1 year ago

Ah, now I can go back to trying to sleep.

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

You can fall asleep after all of these?

Thomas Selig
1 year ago

Nice little PB for Dean there leading off. Richards justifying the selectors’ faith in him with a solid split, though cut it fine on the takeover. Good from Guy, and a very good anchor from Scott to bring home silver. Weren’t going to beat the Russians, so have to be pleased with that.

Two really good relays from GB, with everyone pulling their weight. Good to see.

That women team on the podium though: Wood, Hopkin and Hope are all on the shorter side perhaps, but the size difference with Anderson is quite something.

Last edited 1 year ago by Thomas Selig
Troll in the Dungeon
Reply to  Thomas Selig
1 year ago

Haha I winced when I saw Richards’ takeover because it looked way too early. 0.01 cutting it fine!

1 year ago

Nothings says “i’m a 50 free swimmer’ more than Thom de Boer opening his 100 free in 22.18 and coming back in 26.85 haha

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  CRD
1 year ago

+4.67 split differential.

For comparison, Alain Bernard was +4.19. Eek!

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 …

Read More »