2022 European Championships: Day 2 Finals Preview

2022 EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

It’s the second night of finals at the 2022 European Championships. After a relatively calm day 1 with a medal round in only 1 individual event, day 2 is loaded up. On tap are finals in the women’s 200 backstroke, men’s 50 butterfly, women’s 100 freestyle, men’s 100 breaststroke, and women’s 800 freestyle. There are semifinals of the women’s 100 breaststroke, men’s 100 freestyle, women’s 50 butterfly, and men’s 200 backstroke as well. At the end of the session is the mixed 4×100 medley relay to close out the night.

Full Day 2 Finals Schedule

  • Women’s 200 Backstroke Final
  • Men’s 50 Butterfly Final
  • Women’s 100 Freestyle Final
  • Men’s 100 Breaststroke Final
  • Women’s 100 Breaststroke Semifinals
  • Men’s 100 Freestyle Semifinals
  • Women’s 50 Butterfly Semifinals
  • Men’s 200 Backstroke Semifinals
  • Women’s 800 Freestyle Final
  • Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay Final

Women’s 200 Backstroke

Margherita Panziera courtesy of Fabio Cetti

Two-time defending champion Margherita Panziera held her top seed through the rounds of the women’s 200 backstroke. Panziera is the fastest European woman in this event this season as she clocked 2:07.27 to finish fourth at Worlds. In the semis, she posted 2:08.18 and is sitting almost two seconds ahead of second-seeded Eszter Szabo-Feltothy, is in prime position to earn another gold.

Feltothy, Katie Shanahanand Dora Molnar all qualified for the final within .08 seconds of each other, setting up what should be a thrilling race for silver and bronze behind Panziera. In addition, all three hold best times in the 2:09 range, with Shanahan setting hers at 2:09.22 during the Commonwealth Games. Whichever two get closest (or below) their bests will be the two standing on the podium.

Men’s 50 Butterfly

Nyls Korstanje has led the way through the rounds of the men’s 50 fly, qualifying first for semis and finals. He’s also reset the Dutch record twice, first to 22.90 and then to 22.88. He looks like the man to beat in the final, but the win is far from a lock.

That’s because chasing him is Maxime Grousset and Thomas Ceccon. Grousset sits only .02 seconds behind Korstanje, having clocked 22.90 in the semis. That was his first time under 23 seconds, dropping down from 23.07 to within hundredths of his own national record. If he’s on the same form as the semis, he’ll push Korstanje all the way to the wall.

Ceccon has become known for his backstroke since he set the 100 back world record at Worlds, but he’s got a strong fly too. In Budapest, he reset Italy’s national record multiple times, bringing it down to 22.79. He posted 23.14 to qualify as the third seed, so while he’s off the pace that Korstanje and Grousset set in the semis, we know that he’s capable of matching them.

Women’s 100 Freestyle

Charlotte Bonnet courtesy of Fabio Cetti

Like Panziera in the 200 back and Korstanje in the 100 free, Charlotte Bonnet has been in control of the women’s 100 freestyle since the prelims. Bonnet has been sub-54 in both of her swims; in the semis, she blasted 53.56 for her fastest swim since 2019. She’s on much better form here than she was at Worlds, where she finished 16th in 54.73, and looks ready to snag gold for France.

Perhaps the only woman who can catch her is Marrit Steenbergen. She’s the only other woman who’s been under 54 seconds so far, swimming 53.80 in the semis. Steenbergen came in clutch for the Dutch women on the 4×200 free relay last night, surging past Great Britain on the anchor for their first win in that event. Her 53.80 is the second fastest time she’s swum in her career–will she drop her fastest tonight?

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

Arno Kamminga
courtesy of Gian Mattia D’Alberto LaPresse

It’ll be a showdown between Nicolo Martinenghi and Arno Kamminga in the men’s 100 breast. Martinenghi beat Kamminga in Budapest, earning gold in an Italian record time of 58.26. Kamminga will be looking for revenge here; he’s the silver medalist from 2021 Euros, 2021 Olympics, and 2022 Worlds–this would be a big win for him. He used a strong back half to win his semifinal in 59.29.

He’ll have to be faster than that to beat Martinenghi though, as the Italian threw down the gauntlet with a 58.44, .85 seconds ahead of Kamminga. That’s less than two-tenths off his 58.26 from Worlds, teasing a big swim tonight. In interviews, the Italians differ on whether the home crows brings pressure, but there’s no doubt that it’s been energizing for them. That could provide Martinenghi the extra boost to claim gold in Rome as well.

Behind them, three other men were under the minute mark in the semis, so it looks like there’s a tight race brewing for third as well.

Women’s 800 Freestyle

Simona Quadarella courtesy of Fabio Cetti

Italian distance star Simona Quadarella is the favorite in the women’s 800 free. In prelims, she cruised to the top time with an 8:23.46, over six seconds faster than Isabel Gose, the number two seed heading into the final. Quadarella has won the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyle at the last two European Championships, making her the two-time defending champion in every women’s distance event. She’ll begin her defense of this sweep tonight as she tries to complete the rare triple-triple. She’s been 8:16 this year, so look for her to put the hammer down in the final.

While Quadarella is all but a lock for gold, there’s an interesting race developing behind her. There’s Gose, as well as Turkish teen Merve Tuncel, who swept the distance events at the European junior championships earlier this summer. There, Tuncel won the 800 free in 8:28.32, so she should have more in the tank for the final as well.

Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay

Using what very well could be their finals relay, the Netherlands grabbed the top seed for the mixed 4×100 medley relay in 3:46.64. They won bronze in this event at Worlds and though it seems like they won’t make any substitutions, all their legs should be faster tonight.

Watch for Italy to get a lot faster if they swap Thomas Ceccon and Nicolo Martinenghi onto the relay for backstroke and breaststroke. Those two make up one of the fastest first medley halves in the world, so Italy could vault onto the podium from where they’re currently sitting in sixth.

At Worlds, Germany used a female breaststroker which cost them, as they finished a distant eighth. Their roster has forced them to rethink, and they used Lucas Matzerath on that leg this morning, which paid dividends right away as they qualified second. It might be a challenge for them to hang on for a medal tonight, but if they keep Matzerath on breaststroke they have a better chance of making it happen.

Semifinals Quick Hits

  • The Italian women were dominant in the 100 breaststroke in prelims posting the top four times, though due to the country cap on finals, only Benedetta Pilato and Lisa Angiolini qualify for the semis. They both looked strong this morning, with Pilato just .24 seconds off her own championship record. Look for Sophie Hansson to speed up tonight, as well as Ruta MeilutyteMeilutyte, the newly crowned world champion in the 50 breast, qualified 10th in 1:07.88
  • Speaking of championship records, David Popovici wasted no time establishing one of his own in the men’s 100 freestyle. The teen phenom blasted 47.20, just off his lifetime best (and world junior record) from Worlds. He’s four-tenths ahead of Alessandro Miressiwho also had a strong swim this morning, coming within two-tenths of his Italian record. The only two men under 48 seconds in heats, they’ve established themselves as the men to beat.
  • Swedish superstar Sarah Sjostrom dominated the heats of the women’s 50 fly. She looked in control as she swam 25.30, posting the top time of the morning by .32 seconds. She was already the favorite and she’s doubled down on that, though we almost certainly won’t see her full speed before the final. Marie Wattel and Louise Hansson were the other women under 26 seconds this morning, though Maaike de Waard was right there with 26.01.
  • It was the French who took control of the men’s 200 backstroke in the heats, with Yohann Ndoye Brouard and Mewen Tomac qualifying first and third, respectively, for the semis. Hungary also had a strong showing, with Benedek Kovacs and Hubert Kos grabbing the second and fifth seeds. Luke Greenbank looked controlled this morning, a good sign as he attempts to rebound after finishing off the podium at Commonwealth Games.

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lalaking
1 month ago

It’s time to show real skills, European guys.

mar co
1 month ago

Does France not exist? in pre-event previews or here i did not see single mention about them but they are favorites for bronze in mixed relay.
Ndoye-Viquerat-Wattel-Bonet is very strong team

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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