2021 European Championships: Day 7 Finals Live Recap


We’ve rounded the last turn of the 2021 European Championships and we’re on the final straightaway, as the meet will close tonight with seven individual finals and the 400 medley relays.

The first three finals will all be 50s, headlined by the women’s 50 breast where Benedetta Pilato comes in after setting a new world record in the semi-finals. Pilato swam a time of 29.30, breaking Lilly King‘s 2017 world mark of 29.40.

The 16-year-old Italian enters the final as a lock for gold, barring a disqualification, as she’s seeded almost a full second (0.95) ahead of the next-fastest qualifier, defending champion Yuliya Efimova.

The men’s 50 free and women’s 50 fly project to be close, with Kristian Gkolomeev and Melanie Henique holding the respective top seeds from the semis.

Gkolomeev, the 2018 silver medalist, will face a stacked field that includes defending champion Ben Proud and two-time winner Florent Manaudou (2014, 2016).

Kristof Milak has been on fire over the last few days, having posted the second-fastest swim in history in the 200 fly before tying and then breaking the Championship Record in the early rounds of the men’s 100 fly. He’s the odds-on favorite in that final, as is Margherita Panziera in the women’s 200 backstroke, where she’ll look to defend her title from 2018.

Milak looked very disappointed despite dominating the 100 fly semis, clearly jamming his finish, so he should have a lot more in the tank than his 50.62 from yesterday.

In the men’s 400 IM, Hungary’s David Verraszto established the top seed in this morning’s prelims in 4:13.39, putting him in prime position to win a fourth straight title. A Hungarian gold would be the country’s ninth straight in the event after Laszlo Cseh ran the table for five straight championships from 2004 to 2012.

Simona Quadarella has a chance to defend her title and complete the distance freestyle sweep in the women’s 400 free.

In the 400 medley relays, the British men will look to win a fourth consecutive European title, while the Russian women aim to go back-to-back.

Luke GreenbankAdam PeatyJames Guy and Duncan Scott will form the formidable British lineup on the men’s side, though the Italian team of Thomas CecconNicolo MartinenghiFederico Burdisso and Alessandro Miressi will also be dangerous.

The British women have notably opted for Anna Hopkin as their anchor leg over Freya Anderson.

Women’s 50 Fly FINAL

  1. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 25.30
  2. Melanie Henique (FRA), 25.46
  3. Emilie Beckmann (DEN), 25.59

Ranomi Kromowidjojo had the edge over Melanie Henique in the women’s 50 fly, getting her hands on the wall first in a time of 25.30 to win her second 50m event of the meet.

Kromowidjojo’s time falls .06 shy of her Dutch Record, 25.24, set in March. Henique, who owns the French Record of the same time (25.24), wins silver in 25.46, her second medal in the event after bronze back in 2010.

Denmark’s Emilie Beckmann won bronze in a best time of 25.59, her second straight medal and the fourth in a row for the Danes.

Anna Ntountounaki reset her Greek Record yet again for fourth in 25.65.

Sweden’s run of five straight wins comes to an end.

Men’s 50 Free FINAL

  • European Record: 20.94, Frederick Bousquet (FRA), 2009
  • European Championship Record: 21.11, Ben Proud (GBR), 2018
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 22.01
  1. Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (FIN), 21.61
  2. Ben Proud (GBR), 21.69
  3. Kristian Gkolomeev (GRE), 21.73

In the tightly contested men’s 50 free final, Finland’s Ari-Pekka Liukkonen had the power over the closing meters, inching ahead of the field to win the gold medal in a time of 21.61.

Liukkonen, 32, falls .03 shy of his National Record set in 2017, and moves into third in the world this season. The Finn was the bronze medalist back in 2014.

2018 champion Ben Proud got in for silver in 21.69, his third straight medal in the event and good for fifth in the world this season.

Kristian Gkolomeev, the top seed from the semis in 21.60, wins the bronze medal in 21.73, his second consecutive trip to the podium after a silver in 2018.

Dutchman Thom De Boer (21.80) and Frenchman Florent Manaudou (21.81) were on the outside looking in terms of the podium, with De Boer equalling his semi-final time and Manaudou going 14 one hundredths slower.

Women’s 50 Breast FINAL

  1. Benedetta Pilato (ITA), 29.35
  2. Ida Hulkko (FIN), 30.19
  3. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 30.22

After lowering the world record in the semi-finals, 16-year-old Benedetta Pilato becomes Italy’s first-ever women’s 50 breaststroke champion with the second-fastest swim in history of 29.35.

Ida Hulkko continued the momentum created by Liukkonen for Finland, winning silver in a new Finnish Record of 30.19. Hulkko held the previous record of 30.33 from last year.

2018 winner Yuliya Efimova rounds out the podium in 30.22, edging out Great Britain’s Sarah Vasey (30.23) and Sweden’s Sophie Hansson (30.31).

Men’s 100 Fly FINAL

  • European Record: 49.95, Milorad Cavic (SRB), 2009
  • European Championship Record: 50.62, Kristof Milak (HUN), 2021
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 51.96
  1. Kristof Milak (HUN), 50.18 CR
  2. Josif Miladinov (BUL), 50.93
  3. James Guy (GBR), 50.99

After jamming his finish in the semi-finals, Kristof Milak executed everything right in tonight’s final of the men’s 100 fly, soaring to a new Hungarian and European Championship Record of 50.18.

Milak led the field at the 50 in 23.58, with teammate Szebasztian Szabo and Russian Mikhail Vekovishchev within a tenth, but pulled away from the pack on the second length, coming home in a blazing 26.60.

Milak’s time ranks as the ninth-fastest in history, and he’s also now the fourth-fastest performer of all-time, trailing only the trio of men who have cracked 50 seconds: Caeleb DresselMichael Phelps and Milorad Cavic.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 100 Fly (LCM)

  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.50 – 2019
  2. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.66 – 2019
  3. Michael Phelps (USA), 49.82 – 2009
  4. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.86 – 2017
  5. Milorad Cavic (SRB), 49.95 – 2009
  6. Milorad Cavic (SRB), 50.01 – 2009
  7. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 50.07 – 2017
  8. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 50.08 – 2017
  9. Kristof Milak (HUN), 50.18 – 2021
  10. Michael Phelps (USA), 50.22 – 2009

Fourth in this event in 2018, Milak came into this week with a lifetime best of 50.47, set in late March at the Hungarian Championships, and had back-to-back swims of 50.64 and 50.62 in the prelims and semis here.

Josif Miladinov, still one month away from his 18th birthday, had a huge performance to win silver in 50.93, breaking 51 seconds for the first time and lowering his Bulgarian Record of 51.08.

Miladinov is the third man to go 50-point this year, joining Milak and American Michael Andrew (50.80).

James Guy went sub-51 for the second straight evening, touching in 50.99 for bronze, and Poland’s Jakub Majerski had another 26-point back-half split (26.88) to take fourth in a new Polish Record of 51.11. The previous National Record stood for 10 years at 51.15 from Konrad Czerniak. For Guy, it’s his second consecutive bronze medal in the event.

In fifth place was Italian Federico Burdisso, who swam his second consecutive personal best time in 51.39. Burdisso went 51.66 in the semis which lowered his previous PB of 51.73 from 2018.

It’s also worth noting that Milak and Guy were the only two returners from the 2018 final.

Women’s 200 Back FINAL

  • European Record: 2:04.94, Anastasia Fesikova (RUS), 2009
  • European Championship Record: 2:06.18, Margherita Panziera (ITA), 2018
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:10.39
  1. Margherita Panziera (ITA), 2:06.08
  2. Cassie Wild (GBR), 2:07.74
  3. Katalin Burian (HUN), 2:07.87

Margherita Panziera opened up a half-second advantage on Cassie Wild on the third 50 and then assured herself the victory with a massive 31.86 closing split, successfully defended her title in the women’s 200 backstroke in a time of 2:06.08.

Panziera’s time improves on her Championship Record set in 2018 by a tenth. The Italian currently ranks second in the world this season by virtue of her 2:05.56 in late March.

Wild had a phenomenal showing, holding off Hungarian Katalin Burian on the last 50 to win silver in 2:07.74, a two-second PB and a time that makes her the third-fastest Brit in history.

Burian wins a second straight bronze in the event in 2:07.87, four tenths off her best set in 2018, and Lena Grabowski reset her Austrian Record for the third time this week in 2:08.19 for fourth.

Men’s 400 IM Final

  • European Record: 4:06.16, Laszlo Cseh (HUN), 2008
  • European Championship Record: 4:09.59, Laszlo Cseh (HUN), 2008
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 4:15.84
  1. Ilya Borodin (RUS), 4:10.02 WJR
  2. Alberto Razzetti (ITA), 4:11.17
  3. Max Litchfield (GBR), 4:11.56

Russian teenager Ilya Borodin grabbed the lead of the men’s 400 IM final on the backstroke leg and really asserted himself on breast, splitting 1:10.41 to set himself up for a big win in 4:10.02.

Borodin, 18, lowers his Russian, World Junior and European Junior Records of 4:11.17 set in April, and moves him up into third in the world this season.

He also effectively ends Hungary’s incredible streak of eight straight wins in the men’s 400 IM, and it’s also the first time since 1999 that Hungary doesn’t even reach the podium. Borodin also claims Russia’s first win in the event, though the former Soviet Union did claim the title in 1962, 1977 and 1981.

Italian Alberto Razzetti put together an incredible performance out of Lane 2, with strong splits everywhere, minus the backstroke leg, which clearly cost him the gold. Razzetti led after fly (56.33), fell to eighth after backstroke (1:07.53), moved up to fifth on breast (1:10.33), and then closed in 56.98 to snag the silver medal.

Known more as a 200 IM specialist, Razzetti drops three seconds from his PB set in the prelims, and is now just over a second outside of the Italian Record of 4:09.88. According to Swim Rankings, Razzetti entered the meet with a best time of 4:21.60 from 2018, and hadn’t raced the event since then.

Great Britain’s Max Litchfield, the silver medalist in 2018, came home in 27.92 to run down three-time defending champion David Verraszto and win bronze in 4:11.56, leaving Verraszto (4:12.15) locked out of the medals for the first time since 2008.

2020-2021 LCM Men 400 IM

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Women’s 400 Free Final

  1. Simona Quadarella (ITA), 4:04.66
  2. Anna Egorova (RUS), 4:06.05
  3. Boglarka Kapas (HUN), 4:06.90

Simona Quadarella refused to be denied a second consecutive distance freestyle sweep in the final of the women’s 400, fending off a push from Russia’s Anna Egorova with an impressive closing 50 of 29.38 to claim gold in a time of 4:04.66.

Quadarella’s time is her fastest this season – pushing her up to seventh in the world – while falling just over a second shy of her PB set three years ago in Glasgow (4:03.35).

Egorova, who set a Russian Record of 4:04.10 last month, picks up the country’s first medal in this event since the former Soviet Union was a nation, clocking 4:06.05 for silver.

2016 champion Boglarka Kapas came home in 29.96 to win bronze in 4:06.90, just ahead of teammate and 2018 bronze medalist Ajna Kesely (4:07.42). The two turned within six one hundredths of each other with 50 to go.

Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay Final

  • European Record: 3:28.10, Great Britain, 2019
  • European Championship Record: 3:30.44, Great Britain, 2018
  1. Great Britain, 3:28.59
  2. Russia, 3:29.50
  3. Italy, 3:29.93

The British men put together four very impressive legs to win a fourth consecutive title in the 400 medley relay, breaking their Championship Record from 2018 by nearly two seconds in 3:28.59.

Luke Greenbank was within three tenths of his PB leading off in 53.64, though he left the team in an early hole thanks to Kliment Kolesnikov‘s blazing opening split of 52.13. For Kolesnikov, who flipped in 24.98, he misses Evgeny Rylov’s Russian Record by .01. Kolesnikov turned in 24.97 on his mixed medley lead-off where he went 52.09.

On the breast leg it was Adam Peaty rocketing the Brits into the lead with a 57.38 split, making up over 1.6 seconds on Russia’s Kirill PrigodaJames Guy (50.65) out-split Mikhail Vekovishchev (50.94), and then Duncan Scott finished things off with a 46.92 split to book the win.

A sub-47 split for Scott, at the end of a long meet without a full taper, is very promising.

Andrei Minakov anchored Russia home in 47.41, giving them a second straight silver in 3:29.50, and the Italians set a National Record for bronze in 3:29.93. Nicolo Martinenghi had a phenomenal 57.84 breast leg for them.

Ilya Shymanovich also produced a sub-58 breast split for Belarus in 57.84.

Women’s 4×100 Medley Relay Final

  • European Record: 3:53.38, Russia, 2017
  • European Championship Record: 3:54.22, Russia, 2018
  1. Great Britain, 3:54.01 CR
  2. Russia, 3:56.25
  3. Italy, 3:56.30

The British women closed the meet out with a bang in the 400 medley relay, setting a new Championship Record in 3:54.01, while also obliterating their previous National Record of 3:56.93.

A big factor in that performance goes to Kathleen Dawson, who set a new European Record in the 100 backstroke on the lead-off leg in 58.08. Dawson’s swim lowers Gemma Spofforth‘s super-suited 2009 record of 58.12, which was also the previous British Record.

Dawson also re-lowers the Championship Record she had initially set in the 100 back final (58.18), before she was forced into the re-swim where she won in 58.49. The 23-year-old had set the CR in the 100 back semis in 58.44.

After that huge momentum boost, Molly Renshaw (1:05.72), Laura Stephens (57.55) and Anna Hopkin (52.66) finished things off for Great Britain, as they took out Russia’s meet record from 2018 of 3:54.22.

The Russians battled Italy and Sweden for the silver medal, with Svetlana Chimrova‘s 56.78 fly leg proving to be the difference-maker as they narrowly held off Italy’s Federica Pellegrini by .05 in 3:56.25.

Pellegrini anchored Italy home in 53.66 for bronze in 3:56.30, a new National Record, managing to run down Sweden (3:56.54), who had impressive splits from the Hansson sisters (Sophie 1:05.45, Louise 56.79 on breast and fly).

Femke Heemskerk continued to be ever-reliable on the Dutch anchor leg, splitting 52.19 to move them past Belarus and claim fifth in 3:57.41. Kira Toussaint was a bit off what she had done earlier in the week on the lead-off in 59.76.

The Belarusians lowered their prelim National Record by over a second in 4:00.37, taking sixth, while Finland missed theirs by half a second for seventh in 4:01.96. Denmark was disqualified.

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Troll in the Dungeon
1 year ago

I think I am right in saying Luke Greenbank went sub 54 3 times this week? A couple of those times fairly convincingly as well (53.3, 53.6?). If we he drop even a few tenths into Tokyo down to 53.0, followed by a 56 low/56.0 by Peaty, and then Guy and Scott replicate their splits there, it will take a WR to beat GB in the men’s medley relay.

Reply to  Troll in the Dungeon
1 year ago

Four times; Heat (53.9), semi (53.6) & final (53.3) of 100bk, plus leading off the relay (53.6).

Jacque Steyn
Reply to  Troll in the Dungeon
1 year ago

That’s has been the weakness. But Greenbank now getting to 53 low is great.
Greenbank 53.2
Peaty 56.7
Guy 50.4
Scott 46.9
3:27.2 WR

Reply to  Jacque Steyn
1 year ago

I’d still like to see what the US do.
Given that Dressel is likely to take a second out of Guy and Murphy or whoever will take a second on more out of Greenbank, that’s an awful lot of pressure on Peaty, who – remarkable to say -is not really particularly amazing relay swimmer relative to his individual performances. It would be surprising if Scott weren’t behind entering the water, and while we know he can fly, at this point we just don’t know how fast the US freestyler will be.
On the womens relays, they have a chance to medal in the medley. They’d need some super legs to do it, but they are in the mix,… Read more »

The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

GB had better enter all 7 relays at Tokyo after the week they have had. No excuse not to.

Jacque Steyn
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

No point entering women’s 4×200. No way that team will go under 7:50 and it takes around 7:45 to win a medal. The US, AUS, CAN and China will all be way ahead.
Also Freya Anderson already has 2 individuals and 3 relays, so adding a demanding event it’s no chance of a medal is dumb.
Abbie Wood has 200 Breast and 200 IM (will final in both) and at least 4×100 free. No point adding 4×2.
I think the women can get bronze in 4×100 free and 4×100 medley tho.

Reply to  Jacque Steyn
1 year ago

As Bobo used to say here, “save your energy”

Reply to  Jacque Steyn
1 year ago

Canada won the bronze medal with a time of 7:44.35 in the final of the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships.

Reply to  Jacque Steyn
1 year ago

Canada won the bronze medal with a time of 3:31.78 in the final of the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships.

Reply to  Jacque Steyn
1 year ago

Bronze over Canada or AUS in the medley? GBR’s fly leg isn’t strong enough yet. Hopkin can’t hold off sub-52 splits— Manuel, Cate, Ruck. GBR was excellent today though. Much respect.

1 year ago

Best for them would be the mixed medley for the Girls

Jacque Steyn
1 year ago

GB just did 3:54.01 untapered. If you look back that time wins medals at almost all world and Olympic finals. Often as high as silver. At the olympics they’ll definitely go 3:53 mid to low.

1 year ago

All-Time Performers
Women’s 100 meter butterfly
MacNeil – 55.83 (3)
McKeon – 56.18 (7)
Curzan – 56.20 (8)

Reply to  Jacque Steyn
1 year ago

Their flat times this year add up to sub-7:50

Miss M
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

If they can get a decent fly, GB is a real danger. I’m how fast is Anderson over 100 fly?

1 year ago

Kathleen Dawson 58.08 split. Another person sub 58 soon. Scary

Eric the eel > Phelps
1 year ago

On the men’s side 11 out of 14 top 1 times for this season are from Europe, let’s see how Australia and USA will respond next month

Reply to  Eric the eel > Phelps
1 year ago

The strength of USA swimming is definitely on the women’s side with six current world record (LCM) holders in the fourteen individual Summer Olympic events.

Beach bum jason
1 year ago

More and more I wish Phelps trained fully 2009-2012 so he could have reached his full potential and had much faster times in 100 fly 200 fly 200 IM 400 IM 200 meter free.

1 year ago

A clear win in the trophy for Italy, and a very well deserved one – Very few weaknesses in their squad and a lot depth across many events.

As I said the other day, I think the medals table kind of misrepresented how GB & Russia were swimming because we have more big stars than other countries – Both swam very very well, but relative to PBs, neither team was swimming miles better than any other country. The Swiss may have quietly had the best meet with what seemed like PBs from everyone.

A fantastic championship overall – Fast swimming left, right and centre, and the big 3 in European swimming nations all look primed to have a great… Read more »

1 year ago

I swear that Chupkov may sleep with the Russian flag

1 year ago

Yes, Rome an iconic swimming pool!

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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