2021 European Swimming Championships: Day 6 Prelims Live Recap


It’s sprint central in Budapest during day 6 prelims with the men’s 50 free, women’s 50 fly, men’s 100 fly, women’s 50 breast, and mixed 4×100 free relay set to take place, along with the women’s 200 backstroke.

Defending champ Ben Proud will swim his first individual race of the meet as he leads the field in the 50 freestyle with a 21.42 which he swam just last month. He’ll face stiff competition in the event, however, from the likes of Kristian Gkolomeev and Olympic champion Florent Manaudou.

In the women’s 50 butterfly, the absence of world record holder Sarah Sjostrom leaves the field wide open for someone to rise to the gold medal. France’s Melanie Henique and Dutch sprinter Ranomi Kromowidjojo are actually tied for first seed with a time of 25.24 while Emilie Beckmann of Denmark and Marie Wattel of France follow with a 25.50 each.

Margherita Panziera will lead the way into the 200 backstroke and holds a sizeable lead over the field. Panziera is entered with a 2:05.56 which is nearly 3 seconds quicker than second seed Kata Burian of Hungary who will go in with a 2:08.20.


  • European Record: 2:04.94 – Anastasia Fesikova (RUS) 2009
  • European Championships Record: 2:06.18 – Margherita Panziera (ITA) 2018
  • 2018 European Champion: Margherita Panziera (ITA) – 2:06.18

Reka Nyiradi of Hungary swam a 2:10.44 to take heat 2 of the women’s 200 backstroke, improving upon her 2:11.16 entry time which she swam earlier this year. Aviv Barzelav from Israel posted a 2:11.60 for second place in the heat which gets her within a second of Anastasia Gorbenko‘s national record. Cassie Wild followed for third place with a 2:12.04.

In a Hungarian-dominated 3rd heat, Katalin Burian and Eszter Szabo Feltothy swiftly knocked Nyiradi from advancing to the next round, both beating her prelim swim. Burian was a 2:09.54 to slightly trail her entry time of 2:08.20 while Szabo Feltoyhy was a 2:09.72.

It was top seed and defending champion in the event Margherita Panziera who swam the quickest time of the prelims with a 2:08.52 from heat 4. Panziera was entered with a 2:05.56 which is an Italian record that she set recently at the 2021 Italian Championships. Panziera will be gunning for that time over the next 2 rounds of the race as she conducts the final stages of 200 backstroke prep for Tokyo this summer.

Lena Grabowski of Austria got in with a 2:09.12 which gives her the second-best time of the morning while Africa Sanz Zamorano followed in a 2:11.98.


  • European Record: 20.94 – Frederick Bousquet (FRA) 2009
  • European Championships Record: 21.11 – Ben Proud (GBR) 2018
  • 2018 European Champion: Ben Proud (GBR) – 21.11

The first few sub-23 swims of the session came during heat 3 with Serbia’s Nikola Acin leading the way in a 22.51, followed by Polish swimmer Jan Holub‘s 22.80, S. De Meulemeester‘s 22.91 for Germany, and Elias Persson‘s 22.97 for Sweden. With another 5 heats to go, it’s unlikely those swims will be enough to advance.

Acin lost his lead in the next heat as Norway’s Nicholas Lia was the fastest there with a 22.37, while Romanian David Popovici hit a 22.43 and Jasper Aerents a 22.80. Following them, Estonia’s Daniel Zaitsev won heat 5 of the 50 free with a 22.32 which gets him within striking distance of the national record in the event of 21.98 from Norbert Trandafir in 2013.

Florent Manaudou was sure to bring the field under 22 seconds with his heat 6-winning swim of 21.86, half a second slower than his Olympic gold medal swim of 21.34 from London 2012. That will easily be enough to move Manaudou on to the next round ad he’ll be joined by Finland’s Ari-Pekka Liukkonen, slightly over his own PB and national record of 21.58 from 2020. Italy’s Leonardo Deplano nearly crack 22 as well in heat 6 with a 22.10 for third place.

Thom de Boer of the Netherlands managed to overtake Manaudou’s lead in heat 7, hitting a 21.76 to give him first place overall so far. That was just 0.02 seconds off his own Dutch record from December 2020. Kristian Gkolomeev followed with a 21.98 while Poland’s Konrad Czerniak notched a 22.00. In the final heat of the prelims, top seed and defending champ Ben Proud was a 21.93 to get himself in the mix while Alessandro Miressi was a 21.97 and Lorenze Zazzeri a 22.01, both for Italy which will knock Deplano out of the semi-final.


Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen and Emilie Beckmann took control of the women’s 50 butterfly prelims, each getting under 26 seconds during heat 4 with times of 25.91 and 25.96, respectively. Ottesen holds the current national record in the event at a 25.24 from back in 2013. Maaike de Waard wasn’t far off, hitting a 26.11 for third place in the heat.

During the next heat, Ranomi Kromowidjojo decided to take the lead for herself and also dipped under 26 with a 25.88. Kromowidjojo actually holds an identical national record to Ottesen with a 25.24 Dutch record which she set earlier this year. Arina Surkova from Russia tied Beckmann’s swim of 21.96 for second place in heat 5, nearing her 25.62 Russian record, while the Swedish duo of Sara Junevik and Louise Hansson were 3rd and 4th in a 25.99 and 26.20.

Finishing things off, Melanie Henique powered her way to a 25.30 which gives her a substantial lead over the field heading into the semi-finals. Henique retains her top seed and is only 0.06 seconds off her French record in the 50 fly of 25.24. Henique was the only sub-26 swim in the final heat as Elena di Liddo of Italy was second in a 26.28 and Marie Wattel a 26.35 or third.


Over the course of the first 4 heats, Antani Ivanov of Bulgaria declared a commanding lead in the men’s 100 fly with the only sub-52 swim of 51.93. That’s a solid improvement from his entry time of 52.96 and will likely bump him far up from his 43rd entry rank. Simon Bucher and Marcin Cieslak followed up Ivanov’s swim in heat 4 with respective swims of 52.25 and 52.58 which will likely be right on the cusp of the top 16 who will advance to semis.

Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo managed to overtake the lead from heat 5 of the 100 fly, hitting a 51.66 which is actually a little slower than his 51.28 entry time. Federico Burdisso of Italy and Nyls Korstanje of the Netherlands were right behind Szabo, both hitting a 51.83 for second place in the heat while Poland’s Jakub Majerski also snuck under 52 with a 51.91.

Unable to catch Szabo, Switzerland’s Noe Ponti delivered a 51.49 from heat 6 which gives him the second rank overall with only 1 heat to go. Ponti wasn’t too far off his own Swiss record in the event which sits at a 51.15 from earlier this year. James Guy followed by just 0.03 seconds to post a 51.52 while European Championships record holder and defending champion Piero Codia was a 51.82 for third place.

In an unsurprising conclusion to the men’s 100 fly prelims, Kristof Milak took the lead by posting a 50.64 as the only sub-51 swim in the field. That swim for Milak exactly ties the current championship record which Piero Codia set at a 50.64 during the 2018 championships. Milak’s current Hungarian record in the event is a 50.47 from earlier this year and the biggest question moving forward will be how close he can get to Milorad Cavic‘s 2009 European record of 49.95.

Bulgaria’s Josif Miladinov was just over his own national record of 51.42 to take second place to Milak in the final heat, allowing him to move on to semis. Matteo Rivolta followed with a 51.84 in the final heat for Italy while Hubert Kos posted a 51.93 for third. Both Rivolta’s and Kos’ swims were within the top 16 overall but won’t be fast enough to advance as fellow Italians Codia and Burdisso, and fellow Hungarians Milak and Szabo were both faster and only 2 per country can move on to the next round.


  • European Record: 29.48 – Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 2013
  • European Championships Record:  29.66 – Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 2018
  • 2018 European Champion: Yuliya Efimova (RUS) – 29.66

Sweden’s Klara Thormalm and Croatia’s Ema Rajic lead the way over the course of the first three heats, hitting swims of 31.12 and 31.19, respectively. Those swims will potentially be enough to advance them to the next round.

Swimming in heat 4 of the 50 breast, the Italian duo of Arianna Castiglioni and Martina Carraro pushed each other to get under 31 and managed to take over the lead. Castiglioni was quicker with a 30.15 while Carraro swam a 30.57. Tatiana Belonogoff came in with a 31.05 for Russia while Jenna Laukkanen was a 31.28 for Finland.

100 breast champion Sophie Hansson managed to exactly match her entry time of 30.46 from earlier this year during heat 5 of the event, moving her up to the second rank so far behind Castiglioni’s 30.15. Hansson is not too far off Jennie Johansson‘s Swedish record in the event of 30.05 from back in 2015 and will surely be gunning for the mark as she advances to the next round.

Defending champion and championships record holder Yuliya Efimova was second to Hansson in the heat with a 30.55, trailing her winning time of 29.66 from last year by just under a second. Behind Efimova, Rosey Metz from the Netherlands was a 30.63 while Hansson’s teammate Emelie Fast of Sweden posted a 30.64. Veera Kivirinta managed to also sneak under 31 for Finland with a 30.95 for 5th in the heat.

Saving the fastest for last, Benedetta Pilato threw down a 29.50 50 breast from the final heat which was quick enough to set a new world junior, European junior, championship, and Italian record. Pilato held most of those marks (WJ, EJ, ITA) at a 29.61 from December 2020 but she takes the European Championship record from Yuliya Efimova who held it at a 29.66 from 2018. The swim for Pilato also gets her within 0.10 seconds of Lilly King’s 29.40 world record which she set at the 2017 World Championships.

Pilato’s swim also bumps Martina Carraro out of the semi-finals as she was the 3rd fastest Italian in the prelims behind Pilato and Castiglioni. Finnish swimmer Ida Hulkko followed Pilato in the heat with a 30.40, nearing her own national record of 30.33, and Sarah Vasey was next in the heat with a 30.58.


  • European Record: 3:21.81 – Netherlands (2017)
  • European Championships Record: 3:22.07 – France (2018)
  • 2018 European Champion: France – 3:22.07

Italy had the top swim of the prelims in the mixed 4×100 freestyle relay as Manuel Frigo, Thomas Ceccon, Chiara Tarantino, and Silvia di Pietro threw together a 3:26.37 to get within 2 seconds of the country’s 3:24.55 national record set by Filippo Magnini, Luca Dotto, Erika Ferraioli, and Federica Pellegrini at the 2016 version of this meet.

The Italians were closely followed by the Polish contingent of Jakub Kraska, Kacper Majchrzak, Kornelia Fiedkiewicz, and Alicja Tchorz who also got under 3:27 with a 3:26.95. That swim for Poland was actually under the country’s NR which was set by Kraska (49.24), Jan Holub (49.37), Kasia Wasick (53.93), and Aleksandra Polańska (55.09) at the 2019 World Championships.

Next up was the Netherlands whose team of Stan Pijnenburg, Luc Kroon, Marrit Steenbergen, and Kim Busch threw together a 3:27.37, just out-swimming Great Britain’s 4th place time of 3:28.00. Joining those 4 countries in the final will be Hungary, Serbia, Denmark, and Sweden.

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3 years ago

Not really to the prelims really, but I’m now questioning if Milak should swim the 200free in Tokyo (I assume that he’s not going to swim the 100/400free) Going into this meet, I thought it was inevitable that he was put up a time that’ll contend. But I’m not really sure 1:45.7 justifies it. He’d need to drop a second just to contend for a medal and it may wreck our chances for seeing a 1:49 for the 200fly.

Reply to  John26
3 years ago

With Milak’s ambition to extend his race schedule to be considered one of the strongest swimmer in the World, three individual races like 200 free, 200 fly, 100 fly should be reasonable (the only conflict in a session between 200 free final and 200 fly semifinal, but 200 free is before the 200 fly semifinals). But if Milak wants to maximize the results ( times and positions) in the 200 fly and 100 fly, he should race only the two fly events. Usual trade-off, seen so many times in the past. The incredible greatness of Phelps was to race 5 individual events, and winning them obtaining also great results, Obviously also his times would have been a lot faster focusing… Read more »

Reply to  nuotofan
3 years ago

He is still learning the 200 free. He will be great in it in a couple of years. I don’t think he will swim it in Tokyo unfortunately. I expect great things from him in the 2 fly events and in the 4×200 relay though.

Reply to  John26
3 years ago

It is very unlikely Milak will swim the 200 free at the olympics. The 200 free is an exploration and a type of endurance training for him… I am sure at the olympics he will go for the events he is the best in.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tit-tat
Reply to  John26
3 years ago

He should swim it! Phelps new he wasn’t the favorite in Athens against Thorpe, PVDH, and Hackett, but raced it anyway because that’s what elite competitors are made out of.

Milak is 21 and continuing to drop time regularly. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was 1:44 at the Olympics. That could still miss the podium, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth racing. When we look at the true legends of the sport, they were always those who raced multiple disciplines, and I think Milak has that kind of potential.

3 years ago

What is Morozov doing? He wasn’t even in the relay so I’m curious about him.

Reply to  dddd
3 years ago

He skipped these championships, he would’ve been top seed in the 50 free if he competed

Reply to  maybe?
3 years ago

Got it!
I sincerely hope he has a better
season …

3 years ago

The time for Nyls Korstanje means he finally officialy qualifies for the Olympics in the 100 fly 🙂
And Thom de Boer did overtake Manaudou’s time, so he qualifies fastest for tonight’s semifinals

Reply to  Dorien
3 years ago

Hasn’t Korstanje already gone faster than that this year?

Reply to  Iain
3 years ago

Yeah, but that wasnt an official qualification meet. I know, Dutch rules can be weird 😅

NC Fan
Reply to  Dorien
3 years ago

Weird qualification but awesome none the less. Congrats Nyls. Two NC State swimmers in top 8 of 100 fly after prelims. Fly practice in Raleigh in the fall with Noe, Nyls, and Aiden Hayes and more is gonna be insane.

3 years ago

Wow the girl is called Tarantino!!!!! Legend!

3 years ago

Swiss missing may be Russia’s lucky card to avoid the disappointment of not qualifying

Thomas Selig
3 years ago

Russia playing with fire, 5th in the first heat, albeit looks a stronger heat on paper.

Thomas Selig
Reply to  Thomas Selig
3 years ago

and Russia are out. Serbia with a big swim behind the expected top 3.

Whittle with another super solid split for GB. His 100 has been really consistent this week.

Reply to  Thomas Selig
3 years ago

Was close, 0.73 seconds separated 5th and 9th.

3 years ago

wow this coverage is outstanding! i really dont know what i could possibly complain about

Thomas Selig
3 years ago

29.5! WR watch for semis tonight? Shame we couldn’t see it…