2023 European Short Course Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2023 European Short Course Swimming Championships

The first preliminary session of the meet took place earlier today, and was highlighted by numerous national record breaking swims. The first final’s session of the meet will feature four finals and four semi-finals, with two of those finals being relay events.

The night will commence with the final of the women’s 400 IM, where Freya Colbert (4:29.68) of Great Britain swam the top time of the morning to qualify 1st. Her teammate, Abbie Wood, qualified 2nd fastest overall and won the first of the heats. Great Britain looks to have a great chance to continue their promising showing here in Otopeni by opening the first night with a 1-2 punch. Ellen Walshe of Ireland, who owns a personal best of 4:26.52, has medaled in this event at the World Championships and qualified 3rd through to the final.

The men’s 400 freestyle is the only other individual final on tonight’s program, and the top qualifier is the 2018 Short Course World Champion in the event (Danas Rapsys). Rapsys touched in 3:39.19 earlier today to lead a field of five 3:39s through to the final. The top eight are separated by just over a second, showcasing just how deep this first men’s final of the meet is.

Great Britain qualified 1st for both the men’s and women’s 4×50 freestyle relay this morning. The team of Matthew Richards (21.09), Duncan Scott (21.12), Alexander Cohoon (20.89), and Lewis Burras (20.71) touched in 1:23.81 to take down the British record and will have to a chance to lower it even further tonight with the addition of Ben Proud.

WOMEN’S 400 IM – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Abbie Wood (GBR) – 4:27.45
  2. Freya Colbert (GBR) – 4:29.04
  3. Ellen Walshe (IRL) – 4:29.64
  4. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) – 4:32.87
  5. Lara Grangeon (FRA) – 4:35.41
  6. Lisa Nystrand (SWE) – 4:37.07
  7. Anja Crevar (SRB) – 4:38.66
  8. Louna Kasvio (FIN) – 4:39.73

Abbie Wood of Team GB took the race out strong, touching in 1:02.15 to take an early lead after the completion of the butterfly leg. Her teammate, Freya Colbert, then made a big move on backstroke to touch at the 200 over 1.5 seconds faster than the rest of the field. Wood then battled back on breaststroke, closing the 1.5 second gap on just the first 50 of breast. She would extend it at the 300m turn, claiming a near 2 second lead heading into the final 100. She held on through the final 100, leading a 1-2 finish for Great Britain (4:27.45).

Wood has been as fast as 4:25.65 in the event, which she swam in 2020. However, she has shifted focus to the shorter 200 IM in addition to the 200 free and 200 breast in recent years, so being quite close to her 400 IM best is promising heading into the remainder of the meet.

Colbert touched in 4:29.04 to collect a silver medal, while Ireland’s Ellen Walshe (4:29.64) had a very balanced swim to grab the bronze.


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

Top 8: 

  1. Daniel Wiffen (IRL) – 3:35.47
  2. Danas Rapsys (LTU) – 3:37.80
  3. Lucas Henveaux (BEL) – 3:37.91
  4. Antonio Djakovic (SUI) – 3:38.01
  5. Marco de Tullio (ITA) – 3:38.13
  6. Matteo Ciampi (ITA) – 3:38.61
  7. Felix Auboeck (AUT) – 3:38.83
  8. Victor Johansson (SWE) – 3:39.36

Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen demolished his personal best and national record en route to winning the 400 freestyle, stopping the clock in a sizzling time of 3:35.47.

The splitting from Wiffen in the 400 final was mighty impressive, as the 21 year old Irishman essentially even split the race. He took out the first half in 1:47.55 before closing in 1:47.92 on the final 200. He spent the first 125 of the race building into his stroke, then once he took the lead at the 150 turn he never relinquished it. Wiffen won the race by nearly 2.5 seconds.

Danas Rapsys of Lithuania hit the wall in 3:37.80 to grab the silver medal, while Lucas Henveaux re-lowered the national record he broke earlier today by nearly 2 seconds – winning bronze by doing so. Henveaux entered the meet with a PB and national record of 3:40.80 from October, lowered it to 3:39.96 earlier today, and now finished the day in 3:37.91.

The Italian duo of Marco de Tullio and Matteo Ciampi clocked a pair of 3:38s to grab 5th and 6th.

The 2021 World Short Course Champion in the event, Felix Auboeck, placed 7th here tonight in a time of 3:38.83. Auboeck clocked a time of 3:35.90 when he won the world title, which still rests as his personal best.

WOMEN’S 50 FREESTYLE – Semi-Finals

  • World Record: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) – 22.93 (2017)
  • European Record: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) – 22.93 (2017)
  • SC Euros Record: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 23.12 (2021)

Top 8 Advancing to the Final:

  1. Beryl Gastaldello (FRA) – 23.77
  2. Michelle Coleman (SWE) – 23.78
  3. Anna Hopkin (GBR) – 23.86
  4. Julie Kepp Jensen (DEN) – 23.96
  5. Valerie van Roon (NED) – 24.00
  6. Jessica Felsner (GER) – 24.04
  7. Neza Klancar (SLO) – 24.05
  8. Sara Curtis (ITA) – 24.13

Beryl Gastaldello of France will swim in lane four tomorrow, as she qualifies first with a time of 23.77. Michelle Coleman of Sweden is just 0.01 back, clocking a time of 23.78 to back-up her 23.74 effort from the prelims.

Half of the finalists qualified with a time under the :24 second barrier, with Anna Hopkin (23.86) and Julie Kepp Jensen (23.96) securing the 3rd and 4th seeds for tomorrow night.

It took 24.13 to make tomorrow night’s final, as Sara Curtis of Italy rounds out the field of eight. Danielle Hill of Ireland touched in 24.16 to place 9th, re-breaking the national record she set in prelims.

MEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE – Semi-Finals

  • World Record: Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 22.11 (2022)
  • European Record: Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 22.11 (2022)
  • SC Euros Record: Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 22.47 (2021)

Top 8 Advancing to the Final:

  1. Mewen Tomac (FRA) – 22.91
  2. Ole Braunschweig (GER) – 23.04
  3. Thierry Bollin (SUI) – 23.10
  4. Ralf Tribuntsov (EST) – 23.13
  5. Lorenzo Mora (ITA) – 23.16
  6. Shane Ryan (IRL) & Apostolos Christou (GRE) – 23.19
  7.  –
  8. Miroslav Knedla (CZE) – 23.26

French swimmer Mewen Tomac posted the only sub-23 performance of the session, claiming the top seed in 22.91. Ole Braunschweig of Germany (23.04), Theirry Bollin of Switzerland (23.10), Ralf Tribunstov (23.13), Lorenzo Mora (23.16), Shane Ryan (23.19), Apostolos Christou (23.19), and Miroslav Knedla (23.26) rounded out the rest of the field, and were separated by just two tenths of a second.

3rd through 8th is only separated by 0.16 heading into the championship final tomorrow, so it looks to be an exciting battle to see who earns a podium position.


  • World Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) / Alia Atkinson (JAM) – 1:02.36 (2013/2014/2016)
  • European Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 1:02.36 (2013)
  • SC Euros Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 1:02.92 (2013)

Top 8 Advancing to the Final:

  1. Tes Schouten (NED) – 1:04.02
  2. Eneli Jefimova (EST) – 1:04.03
  3. Sophie Hansson (SWE) – 1:04.07
  4. Benedetta Pilato (ITA) – 1:04.45
  5. Andrea Podmanikova (SVK) – 1:04.85
  6. Clara Rybak-Andersen (DEN) – 1:05.27
  7. Martina Carraro (ITA) – 1:05.28
  8. Imogen Clark (GBR) – 1:05.32

The top three seeded entrants heading to tomorrow night’s final are separated by just 0.05, as Tes Schouten (1:04.02), Eneli Jefimova (1:04.03), and Sophie Hansson (1:04.07) will swim in lanes 3, 4, and 5.

Schouten has been as quick as 1:03.90 in the event, Jefimova posted 1:03.79 earlier in the year, and Sophie Hansson owns a personal best of 1:03.50. It’s looking like it’ll take a near personal best to win the final, given the top 3 are all hovering at the 1:04.0 mark and have dipped under the 1:04-barrier in the past.

Italy advanced two athletes to the final, as Benedetta Pilato (1:04.45) and Martina Carraro (1:05.28) currently rank 4th and 7th.

MEN’S 100 BUTTERFLY – Semi-Finals

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

Top 8 Advancing to the Final:

  1. Noe Ponti (SUI) – 48.61 CR
  2. Maxime Grousset (FRA) – 48.94
  3. Daniel Gracik (CZE) – 50.02
  4. Jacob Peters (GBR) – 50.04
  5. Matteo Rivolta (ITA) – 50.07
  6. James Guy (GBR) – 50.53
  7. Michele Busa (ITA) – 50.64
  8. Nikola Miljenic (CRO) – 50.91

Maxime Grousset took the lead in semi-final #1 and never looked back. Touching at the 50 in 22.83, he continued to extend his lead with every stroke to finish in 48.94. The swim checks-in as a new national record, and just missed the championship record by 0.01.  You can read more about his impressive swim here.

Noe Ponti took a similar approach in heat 2, posting a swift 22.73 first 50m split en route to winning the semi in 48.61. His swim broke the championship record from 2009 (48.93), and crushed his national record of 48.81 from last year. You can read more about his record breaking swim here.

3rd through 5th is separated by just 0.05 heading into the final, with Daniel Gracik (50.02), Jacob Peters (50.04), and Matteo Rivolta (50.07) all nearing the elusive :50-second barrier.


  • World Record: Netherlands (2020) – 1:32.50
  • European Record: Netherlands (2020) – 1:32.50
  • SC Euros Record: Netherlands (2009) – 1:33.52

Top 8:

  1. Sweden – 1:35.60
  2. Italy – 1:36.92
  3. Great Britain – 1:37.19
  4. Denmark – 1:37.38
  5. Netherlands – 1:37.98
  6. Hungary – 1:38.49
  7. Slovakia – 1:38.79
  8. Finland – 1:39.70

Sweden took a convincing win in the first relay final of these championships, touching 1st by well over a second. Their quartet of Sara Junevik (24.31), Michelle Coleman (23.29), Louise Hansson (23.95), Sofia Aastedt (24.05) combined to post a time of 1:35.60.

Italy had a great swim to grab the silver medal (1:36.92), as the foursome of Silvia Di Pietro (24.39), Costanza Cocconcelli (24.21), Chiara Tarantino (24.20), and Sara Curtis (24.12) touched out Team GB by 0.27.

Great Britain’s squad of Anna Hopkin (23.97), Freya Anderson (24.23), Lucy Hope (24.49), and Medi Harris (24.50) teamed up to post a respectable 1:37.19.

Julie Kepp Jensen of Denmark had the fastest of the lead-off legs, clocking a time of 23.94 to touch ahead of Anna Hopkin (23.97).


  • World Record: United States (2018) – 1:21.80
  • European Record: France (2008) – 1:20.77
  • SC Euros Record: France (2008) – 1:20.77

Top 8:

  1. Great Britain – 1:22.52
  2. Italy – 1:23.14
  3. Greece – 1:23.27
  4. Netherlands – 1:24.88
  5. Hungary – 1:25.71
  6. Estonia – 1:25.87
  7. Romania – 1:25.93
  8. Finland – 1:26.57

The British men put on a sprint freestyle clinic during the final event of the night, tearing down the national record en route to their gold medal performance. Ben Proud posted an opening leg of 20.56, Matthew Richards posted 20.50 on the second leg, Alexander Cohoon (20.99) dipped under :21 on the third leg, and Lewis Burras anchored the team home in 20.47.  Their final time of 1:22.52 is nearly a full second faster than the time Australia posted to win the 2022 Melbourne World Championships a year ago.

Italy’s relay of Leonardo Deplano (21.05), Lorenzo Zazzeri (20.50), Thomas Ceccon (20.98), and Alessandro Miressi (20.60) hit the wall in 1:23.14.

Greece touched 3rd in a national record time of 1:23.27. Their relay was highlighted by a very strong back half, as backstroke specialist Apostolos Christou posted a time of 20.58 on the third leg before Andreas Vazaios anchored in 20.52.

The home country (Romania) finished in 7th place, breaking their national record in the process. David Popovici led off the team in 21.30, a new best time and national record.

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2 months ago

Was there ever a sub 20 second Split in textil?
Only Splits I remember are Leveaux and Bousquet in 2008.

Reply to  Winkelschleifer
2 months ago

I don’t think so… I remember Flo going 20.04 in the 4×50 IM in Doha 2014, but nobody under 20.
That French 4×50 free relay was crazy!

2 months ago

Was there ever a sub 20 seconds Split in textile?
The only Splits I remember are Leveaux and Bousquets…

2 months ago

Wasn’t the Brits roster for Doha supposed to be released by the end of November?

Scuncan Dott v2
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Yep, was supposed to be released last Thursday.

2 months ago

Any non-Europeans manage to get the stream working?

Reply to  snailSpace
2 months ago

I’llgive it a go for the next session 👍

I miss the ISL
2 months ago

Where are Sjostrom and Meilutyte?

Alison England
Reply to  I miss the ISL
2 months ago

They presumably chose to focus on training. Though I think Ruta has been unwell?

2 months ago

Who would have ever thought that a Sarah Sjostrom-less Swedish 4×50 free relay would win a continental title by more than a second?

Reply to  Aquajosh
2 months ago

Yes, obviously many absences and the choice of France to not swim this relay. I think that a quartet Gastaldello, Bonnet, Pigree, Moluh could be in medal position.

2 months ago

What’s the story behind the Men’s 4x50m Free Euros record being a full second faster than the official world record? Never ratified?

Reply to  OldManSwims
2 months ago

FINA didn’t start recognising the 4×50 world records until 2013. When they did they didn’t consider historic performances

The first recognised WR is therefore an Indiana University time of 1:36

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Chris
2 months ago

from the meet where indiana set 50 meaningless WRs

2 months ago

Only 5 people in the feild had faster first 25s than Ben Proud. 2 were also British. 9.73. Madness.

Reply to  Jess
2 months ago

All 5 were on a rolling start though. Proud was the only one who led off.