2021 European Championships: Day 7 Prelims Live Recap


After 6 days of racing in Budapest, we have finally arrived at the 7th and final prelims session of the 2021 European Championships. The Sunday morning session will feature the fewest events of any session with only the individual men’s 400 IM and women’s 400 free, along with both the men’s and women’s 4×100 medley relays.


  • European Record: 4:06.16 – Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 2008
  • European Championship Record: 4:09.59 – Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 2008
  • 2018 European Champion: David Varraszto (HUN) – 4:10.65

This year’s 200 IM bronze medalist, Italy’s Alberto Razzetti started things off with a win in the first heat of the 400 IM, hitting a 4:14.57. Razzetti was entered with no time in the event but has been at least as fast as a 4:21.60 in the event which he swam back in 2018, which was also the last time he swam the event in long course. Tomas Ludvik of Czech Republic and Thomas Wareing of Malta followed in the heat with a 4:32.14 for 2nd and a 4:40.16 for 3rd.

Hungarian swimming Dominik Mark Torok followed Razzetti’s swim with a 4:19.67 to win heat 2, adding around 2 seconds to his 4:19.30 entry time from 2020. Swimming for Switzerland, Marius Toscan was a 4:02.09 while Danill Giourtzidis swam a 4:25.33 for Greece.

In the 3rd of 4 heats of the event, Italian swimmer Pier Andrea Matteazzi held the lead for the majority of the race but wasn’t ultimately able to hold off Ilya Borodin who charged to a 4:14.64 finish, overtaking Matteazzi. Borodin was just a touch slower than Alberto Razzetti‘s 4:14.57, giving him a second-place rank so far, while Matteazzi finished with a 4:14.70 for third overall thus far. Borodin’s swim was a few seconds over his 4:11.17 world junior record which he set just last month.

Russia’s Maxim Stupin was also in on the action during heat 3, hitting a 4:15.58 which is just slower than his 4:14.20 entry time while Arjan Knipping swam a 4:17.47 for the Netherlands.

In the final heat of the men’s 400 IM prelims, 2018 champion in the event David Verraszto set himself up nicely to try for a repeat victory as he posted a 4:13.39 to take over the top seed from Razzetti. 3 years ago in Glasgow, Verraszto won the event with a 4:10.65. Teammate Peter Bernek followed in the heat with a 4:13.83 which gives him second seed heading into the final.

Max Litchfield of Great Britain came into the event with the top seed of 4:10.65 which he swam back in 2019 but fell to 3rd place in the heat with a 4:13.87, just 0.04 seconds slower than Bernek.


  • European Record: 3:59.15 – Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 2009
  • European Championship Record: 4:01.53 – Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 2008
  • 2018 European Champion: Simona Quadarella (ITA) – 4:03.35

Laura Benkova from Slovakia and Imani De Jong from the Netherlands won the first 2 heats of the women’s 400 freestyle with times of 4:21.05 and 4:15.20. De Jong was followed by Tamryn Van Selm with a 4:17.11 and Claudia Hufnagl in 4:18.61 who were also both quicker than Benkova’s time.

Helena Rosendahl Bach took heat 3 by storm, bringing the field down to a 4:11.79 to overtake the lead so far. That swim for Bach was an improvement upon her entry time of 4:13.49. Aimee Willmott followed for Great Britain, swimming a4:12.76 to take over second place while Lotte Goris of Germany hit a 4:14.06.

Reigning European champion Simona Quadarella looked to earn top seed heading into the final of the event but Russia’s Anna Egorova managed to pull off the heat win, swimming a 4:08.87 to Quadarella’s 4:09.04. Both of them were a little slower than their entry times of 4:04.10 for Egorova and 4:05.38 for Quadarella. At the last championships, Quadarella took gold in the women’s 400 free with a 4:03.35.

Should Quadarella make it to the podium in the event, it will be her 3rd individual medal of the meet, having already won gold in both the 800 and 1500 freestyles. Egorova meanwhile has already won 1 bronze medal by finishing 3rd in the 800 free.

Turkey’s Beril Boecekler was the only other sub-4:10 swimmer in the heat with her 4:09.53 while Holly Hibbott had a solid swim of 4:10.11 for third place.

In the final heat of the prelims, no one was fast enough to overtake Egorova’s leading time of 4:08.87. Boglarka Kapas lead the way with a 4:09.02 and fellow Hungarian Ajna Kesely was second in a 4:09.14. Those 2 swimmers were entered with a 4:05.36 and 4:01.31, giving them the potential to improve in tonight’s final when they go up against Quadarella and Egorova.

After having been reported to be out of the championships due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis back in Turkey, Merve Tuncel made her first appearance at the meet here, hitting a 4:09.37 for 3rd place in the heat. Julia Hassler of Liechtenstein was 4th with a 4:10.74, just off her own national record in the event of 4:10.40 from 2019.


  • European Record: 3:28.10 – Great Britain (2019)
  • European Championship Record: 3:30.44 – Great Britain (2018)
  • 2018 European Champion: Great Britain – 3:30.44

Great Britain swam the fastest 4×100 medley relay on the men’s side of the prelims, hitting a 3:32.48 to nearly get within 2 seconds of the country’s meet record from 2018 of 3:30.44. Joe Litchfield opened things up with a 54.09 backstroke split while James Wilby notched a 58.90 in the breaststroke. Duncan Scott was the team’s butterflier, hitting a 51.43 and Tom Dean closed it out with a 48.06 in the freestyle.

Swimming in the same heat, France was nearly able to out-swim Great Britain but wound up 0.02 seconds slower with a 3:32.50 for second seed heading into the finals. Italy won the first heat of racing with a 3:33.47 which was good enough for third overall in the prelims. Poland followed Italy in heat 1 with a 3:34.53 which gave them 4th heading into the finals.

Joining the top 4 teams in the final will be Ireland, Russia, Belarus, and Germany. Switzerland also raced the prelims of the 4×100 relay but got disqualified from the race.


  • European Record: 3:53.38 – Russia (2017)
  • European Championship Record: 3:54.22 – Russia (2018)
  • 2018 European Champion: Russia – 3:54.22

3 teams got under 4 minutes during women’s 4×100 medley heats with the Netherlands’ time of 3:58.67 leading the way. Kira Toussaint opened things up for them with a 59.51 back split, followed by Tes Schouten‘s 1:07.84 breaststroke split and Maaike de Waard‘s 58.25 butterfly. Femke Heemskerk threw down a 53.07 anchor leg to bring it home.

Russia was right behind the Netherlands, swimming a 3:58.78 which will get them into the final as second seeds. The Russians currently hold the European record in the event which sits at a 3:53.38 from back in 2017. Russia is also the European Championships record holder from their gold medal-winning time of 3:54.22 in 2018.

Sweden also managed to dip under 4 minutes during the heats, posting a time of 3:59.36 for third place. Italy was 4th place overall, followed by Great Britain, Finland, Belarus, and Denmark who will all advance to the final. Both Greece’s and Poland’s relay squads got disqualified from the event.

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3 years ago

Poland’s Korzeniowski with a solid fly split of 51.54, not bad for a 36 year old

Philip Johnson
3 years ago

Hmm so I assume Femke will swim in the final? Not sure why they would swap out Kromo with her since Femke swam three 51 splits + is the champ in the 100 free.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
3 years ago

Kromo will probably swim the fly leg with femke on free

Reply to  maybe?
3 years ago

No, Maaike de Waard most of the times swims it, Kromo is better on the short (50m) distance, Maaike on the 100 😉 The Netherlands will have the exact same four as this morning!

3 years ago

Based on today italy france ireland and poland got The men medley spots? South korea out?

Jacque Steyn
Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Ireland are really going for it in the relays, hoping to qualify for the Olympics.
The women’s relays aren’t strong enough but the men may qualify in the 4×200 free and 4×100 medley. Very impressive

Reply to  Jacque Steyn
3 years ago

At og expecting sub 3:33 to finak

3 years ago

Just a little correction: Razzetti’s previous best time in the 400 IM dated back to 2018, not 2016. It was also the last time he had swum it.

Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Toussaint’s legs must be fried by now. Yikes, leading off the prelims relay. What’s this, like her 50th 100 back this meet?

3 years ago

Interesting to see whether Italy will go with Castiglioni, the silver medalist in the 100, Pilato with the hot hand and WR last night, or will they not change their breaststroker and go with Carraro because she’s the only one not swimming the 50 and comes in fresh?

3 years ago

If France can get a breaststroker, they’re going to have a really nice medley relay in 2024.

Joris Bohnson
Reply to  Aquajosh
3 years ago

Theo Bussiere was 59 mid before his injury last year, Tokyo is a bit too soon but I think they will perform well next year with Brouard, Metella, and Grousset (already going 47.)

Boring name
3 years ago

51.4 from Duncan really impressive imo

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Boring name
3 years ago

Didn’t see that one coming. Bet he’d have a good 200 fly, too. Not Milak good, but maybe 1:53-4.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

I’d say more like 1:55 – 1:56