2021 European Short Course Championships: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


  • Tuesday, November 2nd – Sunday, November 7th
  • Aquatics Palace, Kazan Russia
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The 2021 European Short Course Swimming Championships have gotten underway with the first day of prelims. One of the most contentious races of the meet will be featured today in the form of the women’s 50 freestyle as sprint queen Sarah Sjostrom will attempt to hold off the competition en route to gold.

Polish star Kasia Wasick and 2019 SC Euros champion Maria Kameneva are both within half a second of Sjostrom’s entry time and will be among those looking to take the crown this year.

Kristof Milak has a busy day 1 schedule as he is entered in both the 50 backstroke and 100 butterfly, which will be held with only the women’s 100 breast in between. Olympic silver medalist in the 100 butterfly Milak is the top seed in the 100 fly here with a 49.68, just ahead of Szebasztian Szabo‘s 49.75, while he’s third seed in the 100 backstroke behind Kliment Kolesnikov and Robert Glinta.

In the women’s 100 breaststroke, Benedetta Pilato and Arianna Castiglioni are at the helm with their entry times of 1:03.55 and 1:03.90, respectively.

Follow along below for live results and analysis of all of those races, along with the women’s 400 IM, men’s 400 free, and women’s 800 free.

Annika Johnson contributed to this reporting.

Women’s 400 IM

  • SC Euros Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 4:19.46 (2015)
  • European Record: Mireia Belmonte (ESP) – 4:18.94 (2017)
  • World Record: Mireia Belmonte (ESP) – 4:18.94 (2017)

Turkish national record holder Viktoria Gunes and Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos dueled in the third heat with Jakabos taking out the first 50 meters in a blistering 28.76 compared to Gunes’ 29.07.

They stuck together for the first 200 meters until Gunes took control on the breaststroke, splitting 38.09/38.78 compared to Jakabos’ 39.15/40.18. They touched the wall in a tie at 4:34.76, hinting at an exciting race in finals tonight.

Serbian 20-year-old Anja Crevar popped a 4:35.17 in heat one to come within  1.5 seconds of her national record from the 2019 European Championships. She’s now going into finals ranked third and has medal potential here if she fends off the rest of the field led by Italy’s Sara Franceschi who dropped a 4:35.20 in prelims.

At the 2019 European Short Course Championships, Jakabos won silver and Crevar placed 5th in this event.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

  • SC Euros Record: Danas Rapsys (LTU) – 3:33.20 (2019)
  • European Record: Yannick Agnel (FRA) – 3:32.25 (2012)
  • World Record: Yannick Agnel (FRA) – 3:32.25 (2012)

In the absence of all 3 medalists from the 2019 Championships, the men battled it out in the men’s 400 freestyle. Italy’s Marco de Tullio and Luc Kroon took the respective heat 3 and 4 wins and were actually separated by only 0.01 seconds.

That means that de Tulio will advance in the first place into the final, which is an improvement upon his 10th place seed in the event with a 3:43.42. Seconds place Kroon will follow, and Henrik Christiansen of Norway will advance in third place with a 3:40.85, which is roughly a second slower than his 2nd place entry time of 3:39.10.

Matteo Ciampi, whose best time in the event trails Gabrielle Detti’s Italian record of 3:36.83, sits comfortably in 5th place after prelims, having hit a 3:41.20 to take 3rd place in heat 4. He was just behind Germany’s Florian Wellbrock in the heat who notched a 3:41.09.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

  • SC Euros Record: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 23.30 (2017)
  • European Record: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) – 22.93 (2017)
  • World Record: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) – 22.93 (2017)

Sarah Sjostrom didn’t hold back during heat 5 of the women’s 50 freestyle prelims, notching a 23.32 to finish first overall. That time from Sjostrom is only 0.02 seconds slower than the time it took for Sjostrom to claim gold in the event back in 2017 of 23.30, which is also the current Championships record in the event.

Sjostrom has made the podium in this event twice before, having picked up gold in 2017 and a pair of silvers in 2013 and 2015. She will advance to the semi-final round and now has another two shots to threaten both her own Championship record of 23.00, as well as her PB and Swedish record of 23.00.

Poland’s Kasia Wasick was entered in second place with a 23.30 and managed to retain her placement here by winning heat 4 in a 23.68. She touched exactly half a second ahead of Danish competitor Julie Nelsen’s 24.08, who was second in the heat and will move on in 4th place. Between Wasick and Jensen is heat 3 winner Maria Kameneva who was a little slower than her entry time of 23.55 with a 23.98.

Kim Busch of the Netherlands and Arina Surkova of Russia tied each other for 5th place (24.15), followed by Italy’s Silvia di Pietro of Italy (24.25). Rounding out the top 8 here, Barbora Seemanova notched a 24.26 which will set her up for an opportunity to claim the Czech record in the event of 24.09 held by Anika Apostalon.

Should she get that record, she will then hold the 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 freestyle national records.

Men’s 50 Backstroke

  • SC Euros Record: Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 22.64 (2019)
  • European Record: Florent Manaudou (FRA) – 22.22 (2014)
  • World Record: Florent Manaudou (FRA) – 22.22 (2014)

The unsurprising leader in the men’s 50 backstroke after the prelims round is the 2019 champion and current Championships record holder Kliment Kolesnikov of Russia. Kolesnikov swam his way to a 22.85 in round one of the event, which is only 0.10 seconds slower than the 22.75 he used to win the event 2 years ago and 0.21 seconds off the 22.64 Championships record from that same year.

Kolesnikov looks to be in a good spot here but he was closely followed by Italian standout Michele Lamberti who stunned with a 22.91 to win heat 3. Lamberti provided the only sub-23 swim other than Kolesnikov and managed to jump from 20th seed heading into the event to 2nd. Lamberti shaved more than a second off his entry time of 24.18.

Not only was that swim by Lambretti a significant improvement upon his own PB, but it was actually also a new Italian record. The swim improved upon Simone Sabbioni’s 2017 mark of 23.05.

Lamberti’s countrymate Lorenzo Mora was right behind him with a 23.01 for third seed, while Apostolos Christou came 4th in Greek record time of 23.17. That swim is better than his own national record of 23.33, which he set at this meet 2 years ago.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke

  • SC Euros Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 1:02.92 (2013)
  • European Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 1:02.36 (2013)
  • World Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) / Alia Atkinson (JAM) – 1:02.36 (2013/2014)

This race was all about Italy as 4 of the top 6 finishers came from that country. Arianna Castiglioni was #1 with a 1:04.40, around 0.50 seconds over her entry time of 1:03.55. She was closely followed by fellow Olympian Martina Carraro who swam a 1:04.44 to win heat 5 and secure a spot in the second round of racing.

The difficult part about having a bounty of swimmers in one event from one country is that only two can move past prelims. That means that 3rd place finisher Francesca Fangio and 6th place finisher Benedetta Pilato will be eliminated from contention. Pilato was a little bit slower here than her entry time and Italian record in the event of 1:03.55, while Fangio actually marked a significant improvement upon her 21st place seed of 1:06.31.

Interrupting the Italian top 6 were Russia’s Nika Godun and Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova. Godun placed second to Castiglioni in the second last heat of racing, notching a 1:04.94 to narrowly trail her own PB in the event of 1:04.71, which hails from a performance at the recent Budapest stop of the 2021 FINA World Cup.

Joining Godun, Estonian star Eneli Jefimova earned a spot in the semis by placing 3rd in heat 2 with a 1:05.05. That’s a solid morning swim for Jefimova considering her current PB and national record in the event sits at a 1:04.95 (just 0.10 slower than her swim).

Those 4 women will be joined in the semis by the likes of Emelie Fast of Sweden, Evgeniia Chikunova of Russia, Kotryna Teterevkova of Lithuania, among others.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

  • SC Euros Record: Yevgeny Korotyshkin (RUS) – 48.93 (2009)
  • European Record: Yevgeny Korotyshkin (RUS) – 48.48 (2009)
  • World Record: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 47.78 (2020)

Just as the Italian contingent did in the women’s 100 breaststroke, the Russian men lead the way in the 100 butterfly prelims. Aleksandr Shchegolev and Roman Shevlyakov went 1-2 in the butterfly heats with a 50.05 and 50.13, respectively.

Both of them worked in sync to win heat 3 and 4 as Shevlyakov moved up from 10th seed heading into the event (50.66) to second seed and Shchegolev went from 11th (50.76) to first place. As the duo advances into semis, they will still have some work to do to retain their top spot as a myriad of competitors follow closely.

The surprise of the session has been Italian young gun Michele Lamberti who just moments prior to the 100 fly broke the 50 backstroke national record. That backstroke swim, however, didn’t stop him from powering his way to 3rd overall in the 100 butterfly with a 50.17. Not only is that nearly 2 seconds quicker than the 52.06 he entered with (from 24th place), but it also comes within striking distance of the Italian national record of 49.54 by Matteo Rivolta.

Rivolta actually placed 16th overall but since Lambreti and fellow Italian Alberto Razetti (14th in prelims, 50.83) were ahead of him, he won’t move on.

Kristof Milak trailed his PB of 49.68 here with a 50.39 here but will still have time to strike in the coming rounds. The Olympic silver medalist in the event was beaten by the aforementioned trio, along with Norway’s Tomoe Hvas who hit a 50.33. Milak and Hvas were the 1-2 seeds heading into the meet.

Women’s 800 Freestyle

  • SC Euros Record: Alessia Filippi (ITA) – 8:04.53 (2008)
  • European Record: Mireia Belmonte (ESP) – 7:59.34 (2013)
  • World Record: Mireia Belmonte (ESP) – 7:59.34 (2013)

Anastasia Kirpichnikova decided to close out the first prelims session of the meet with an event-leading swim in the women’s 800 freestyle. Kirpichnikova posted a new Russian record in the event of 8:08.44 to lower her own mark from the 8:10.62 that she delivered back in 2019 at Russian Championships.

That swim from Kirpichnikova also got her within 4 seconds of the current Euro SC Championships meet record in the 800 freestyle which Alessia Filippi hold at an 8:04.53 from back in 2008. Kirpichnikova will have another shot at breaking that record during the final.

Her Russian record-breaking swim was enough to overtake top seed in the event and reigning champion Simona Quadarella. Quadarella of Italy won the event 2 years ago in an 8:10.30 and was entered first with that same time. While she wasn’t as quick as Kirpichnikova, Quadarella can’t be counted out for a repeat title yet as she swam an 8:14.35 for second place.

Quadarella was followed by fellow Italian Martina Caramignoli who posted an 8:16.80 for third place in the prelims, and Germany’s Isabel Gose who was next in an 8:16.92. Merve Tuncel of Turkey swam an 8:20.16 to stay right above her entry time of 8:19.33 and jump from 7th seed to 5th into the final.

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2 years ago

Estonian NR for Zaitsev in 1fly, 50.5

2 years ago

Impressive 22.91 in the 50 backstroke from Michele Lamberti: new Italian record but, above all, a massive PB from a young, very thin sprinter, back and fly specialist, with still plenty of room for improvements. Too many turns in the 400 free for chlorinedaddy..: he touched at 350m and lost a lot of time at the wall before pushing for the two laps remaining. He would have been 3.42 with the right laps count.

Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

Is this young man by any chance related to Italian long time WR holder in the 200 Free Georgio Lamberti? Would be about the right age to have a son.

Reply to  justanopinion
2 years ago

Yes, his son.