2022 European Championships: Day 4 Finals Preview


It’s Day 4 and we’re at the halfway point of the 2022 European Championships. After an electric day 3 where we saw David Popovici break the 13-year-old 100 free world record, Sarah Sjostrom win her fifth 50 fly European title, Lorenzo Galossi shatter the 800 free world junior record, and Gregorio Paltrinieri set a championship record in the same event, you might be worried that we’ve seen all the exciting swims this meet has to offer.

But don’t fear, not only is Popovici back in action in the men’s 200 free semifinals, but Kristof Milak races the men’s 100 fly, and the women’s 200 free final looks to be an absolute nail-biter.

Day 4 Finals Full Schedule

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

Scratch Report

Women’s 100 Butterfly Semifinals

  • SCRATCH: #16 Dalma Sebestyen (HUN), First Alternate Laura Lahtinen (FIN)
  • IN: Julia Maik (POL)

Women’s 200 Breaststroke Semifinals

  • SCRATCH: #12 Sophie Hansson (SWE)
  • IN: Laura Lahtinen (FIN)

Men’s 100 Butterfly

Noe Ponti courtesy of Fabio Cetti

In day 3 finals, Kristof Milak pulled off a stunning double, earning silver in the 100 free in a personal best 47.47, then qualifying for the men’s 100 fly as the first seed in 51.01 about fifteen minutes later. The 51.01 is well off his personal best 49.68, but showed off his competitive grit. Milak has been on fire through the first half of the meet, and won this event at 2020 Euros in 50.18, will he better that tonight?

Switzerland’s Noe Ponti is sitting right behind Milak with a 51.16. He owns a lifetime best of 50.74, which he swam at the Tokyo Olympics to earn bronze. The 51.16 is faster than he went in any of the three rounds of this event at Worlds, and he’s set himself up well to grab a medal.

Nyls Korstanje reset the Dutch record in the 50 fly twice earlier in the meet. In the final though, he was unable to match his time and fell to fourth, which is sure to be motivation for him to stand on the podium here in the 100. He qualified in 51.46, which is just off the 51.45 national record he set a few weeks ago.

Women’s 50 Backstroke

Silvia Scalia

Silvia Scalia courtesy of Andrea Staccioli/Deepbluemedia

Silvia Scalia shattered her 50 back Italian record in the semifinals, blasting 27.39 to also qualify first for the final. Italy has been having a strong meet so far and with that swim, Scalia established herself as the woman to beat, ahead of a crowded field that includes European record holder Kira Toussaint and Worlds bronze medalist Analia Pigree.

Defending champion Toussaint moved through to the final in fourth with a 27.84, dropping a bit of time from her prelims swim. She recently moved her training base to her alma mater University of Tennessee in the U.S., and a medal would surely be a huge confidence boost for her. Pigree comes into the semifinal tied with Medi Harris for second in 27.68. Pigree was about four-tenths faster at Worlds, so she’s capable of being faster tonight as well.

Her teammate, Mary-Ambre Moluh, is the newly crowned European junior champion in this event, and was the fifth swimmer under 28 seconds in the semi, with a 27.86.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

After a disappointing outing at Worlds, Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Matti Mattsson has looked good through the first two rounds of the men’s 200 breaststroke. He leads the field with a 2:09.88 and led his semifinal from the start. He improved from his prelims time and was also the only man to break 2:10. With Arno Kamminga out of the meet, Mattsson has asserted himself as the favorite for gold.

Luca Pizzini and Andrius Sidlauskas were the next fastest qualifiers, posting 2:10.48 and 2:10.59, respectively, which sets up a potentially close race tonight.

After swimming 2:08.59 to win silver at the Commonwealth Games, James Wilby narrowly made the final, advancing in eighth with a 2:11.73.

Notably, in a meet where we’ve seen finals crowded with pairs of swimmers from the same country, the eight men in this final represent eight different nations. We’ll also have a totally new podium, as none of the medalists from 2020 are racing in the final.

Women’s 200 Freestyle

Marrit Steenbergen
Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Netherlands’ Marrit Steenbergen has been having an incredible meet so far, highlighted by a win in the 100 free, and she kept right on rolling in the semifinals of the women’s 200 free. She grabbed lane 4 for the final with 1:57.30 She’s far from a lock for gold though, as there’s a crowded field lurking just behind her.

Isabel Gose is the next fastest qualifier in 1:57.70, but not by much, as second through fifth place are separated by a tenth of a second. It’s shaping up to be an absolute dogfight to earn a medal.

We’ll likely see a range of strategies too, as both Steenbergen and Charlotte Bonnet lead their semifinal heats early in the race, with Gose, Freya Anderson, and Nikoletta Padar surging on the back half.

Anderson set her lifetime best of 1:56.08 at Worlds and came into the meet as one of the favorites for gold. She’s in a strong position right in the middle of this pack, and with a last 50 of 29.84 in the semi, it looks like she could have more to give tonight.

Men’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay

Italy ITA, MIRESSI Alessandro, CECCON Thomas, ZAZZERI Lorenzo, FRIGO Manuel,
Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Italy is the Tokyo Olympic silver medalists and the 2022 Worlds bronze medalists, making them the favorites in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay. They’re sitting second with a 3:15.00 from the heats and will make several lineup swaps for the final, including adding Alessandro Miressi and Lorenzo ZazzeriItaly has been having a successful home championships, and the crowd would surely go wild for a relay gold.

Hungary and Great Britain will make things interesting, though. The Hungarians won the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay earlier in the meet, and are sure to be eager to continue that success, especially after finishing fifth at Worlds. One thing to keep in mind though, is that this will be the end of a triple for Kristof Milak, who also has the 100 fly final and the 200 free semis before this race.

Great Britain’s Tom Dean, Matt Richards and Jacob Whittle both scratched the 200 free prelims, implying that they’re all in for this relay. All three swam on Great Britain’s prelims relay, and the move seemed to pay off as they qualified third in 3:15.02, just behind Italy. They’ll have their hands full with Italy and Hungary tonight, but look capable of holding off Spain and the Netherlands to grab a medal.

Semifinals Quick Hits

  • There were a slew of scratches in the men’s 200 freestyle this morning, but we’ve come out of the heats with Kristof Milak and David Popovici as the top two qualifiers, both hitting 1:46s. With the 100 fly and the relay, Milak has a busy schedule this session, so he’ll likely just do what he needs to in order to make the final. Popovici will surely speed up tonight, but hold something back for the final.
  • Worlds 100 fly silver medalist Marie Wattel qualified second this morning, swimming 57.85 after blasting out on the first 50. Top seed is Louise Hansson, who was also out fast in prelims, touching almost a second ahead of 16-year-old Lana Pudar.
  • Men’s 100 back world record holder Thomas Ceccon got the job done in the 50 back, touching in 24.69 for the top time. He got his hand on the wall just ahead of top-seeded Apostolos Christou, who clocked 24.72. They should have no trouble advancing to the final; however, with six men advancing to the semis under 25 seconds, everyone will have to be at their best to join them.
  • Sophie Hansson, one of the top seeds in the women’s 200 breaststroke scratched the event after qualifying for the semis in 12th. Spain’s Jessica Vall also came in as a medal contender, but only qualified for the semis in 13th, meaning she’ll need to be faster tonight to keep her medal hopes alive. It was Switzerland’s Lisa Mamie who came out on top time morning in 2:23.12, ahead of the strong Italian duo of Francesca Fangio and Martina Carraro.

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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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