2021 LEN EUROPEAN SHORT COURSE CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Tuesday, November 2nd – Sunday, November 7th
- Aquatics Palace, Kazan Russia
- SCM (25m)
The 2021 European Short Course Championships wrapped up over the weekend from Kazan, Russia, with the host nation once again taking the top of the overall medal table when all was done and dusted. You can refresh yourself on the podium outcome from Kazan here.
In case you missed out on the daily live recaps on SwimSwam, here is our post-meet digest with some of the key swimmers, performances and other items of note gleaned from the 6-day affair.
4 New World Records Were Established
A championship meet of this caliber wouldn’t be complete without at least one World Record biting the dust but over the course of the competition, we saw 4 such standards met or exceeded.
Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo matched the 50m fly World Record en route to gold, hitting a mark of 21.75. That equaled the time Brazilian Nicholas Santos clocked in 2018, although Szabo’s new lifetime best checks in now as the European Record and Hungarian Record.
After finishing with the silver in the men’s 100m breaststroke, an event in which he owns the World Record, Belarus’ Ilya Shymanovich rocked a time of 25.25 in the 50m breaststroke final. Topping the podium in the race, Shymanovich tied the World Record that South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh put on the books in 2009.
The outright new World Records here came in relay events, where the Dutch brought down the mark in the mixed medley relay. The combination of Kira Toussaint (25.99), Arno Kamminga (25.54), Maaike de Waard (24.50) and Thom de Boer (20.15) set the new standard at 1:36.18 while claiming gold.
The other World Record transpired in the men’s medley relay, with the nation of Italy approaching the 1:30 barrier with a final time of 1:30.14. Michele Lamberti (22.62), Nicolo Marginenghi (25.14), Marco Orsi (22.17) and Lorenzo Zazzeri (20.21) made it happen in a time of 1:30.14, overtaking the previous WR of 1:30.44 Russia put on the books at the 2017 edition of this meet in Copenhagen.
Sarah Sjostrom Wows Post-Surgery
28-year-old Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden did not compete at the 2019 edition of these European Short Course Championships, so the fact she was here post-elbow surgery to boot rendered her one swimmer in the spotlight.
Earlier this year Sjostrom broke her elbow while slipping on ice in her native Sweden. She underwent surgery, rehabilitation and fought back to not only race but medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Sjostrom took home silver in the women’s 50m freestyle there.
Here in Kazan, Sjostrom was a one-woman wrecking ball, collecting a massive haul of 4 individual gold medals. The Olympian scored wins cross the 50m free, 100m free, 50m fly and 100m fly, and bronze in the 100m IM, establishing two new Championship Records in the process. Her time of 23.12 in the 50m free and 24.50 in the 50m fly now enter the books as the fastest ever at this biannual meet.
Sweeps for Toussaint & Kirpichnikova
These 2021 European Short Course Championships marked the first time that two swimmers were able to successfully sweep all of the golds in their respective disciplines.
Kirpichnikova topped the podiums in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle events, crushing a championships record of 15:18.30 in the latter, less than half a second off of German Sarah Kohler’s World Record.
Ties Galore in Kazan
There were a remarkable five ties across the races here in Kazan, an unprecedented number for this competition. The identical swims came as follows:
- Women’s 100m fly – Anna Ntountounaki of Greece and Anastasiya Shkurdai of Belarus each clocked 56.35 for silver.
- Women’s 50m fly – Ntountounaki tied once more at the meet, posting the same time of 25.09 as Italy’s Silvia Di Pietro for bronze.
- Men’s 50m free – Pawel Juraszek of Poland and Vladimir Morozov of Russia nabbed bronze together in 20.95.
- Women’s 100m breast – both Evgenia Chikunova of Russia and Eneli Jefimova of Estonia registered a time of 1:04.25 to share silver.
- Women’s 400m IM – Anja Crevar of Serbia and Sara Franceschi of Italy clocked times of 4:30.47 to be co-silver medalists in the event.
Popovici Captures First Senior Int’l Medal
17-year-old David Popovici broke through with a solid performance in the men’s 200m freestyle, topping the podium in a time of 1:42.12.
That not only established a new Romanian national record, but the feat also represented the Olympian’s first-ever senior international gold medal.
entering this meet, Popovici had wreaked havoc across junior meets, including notching 100m free gold at the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019 followed by a 50m/100m/200m free sweep at this year’s European Junior Swimming Championships.
Popovici remarkably made two Olympic finals in Tokyo but this gold signifies his expanding ability to handle both long course and short course with plenty of years to hone his craft in each.