Moldova stepped into the swimming limelight on the first day of the European Youth Olympic Festival in Tbilsi, Georgia, as Alexei Sancov broke national and meet records to win the 200 free in 1:49.20.
Sancov, just 16 years old, smashed his prelims time of 1:51.46 to take the win over German youngster Johannes Hintze. Hintze’s 1:50.18 was also under the old meet record of 1:50.28 held by Italy’s Mitch D’Arrigo.
Sancov’s time breaks an ancient Moldovan record by a half-second. The old record, set way back in 1988, was 1:49.70 from Yuri Bashkatov, according to the Moldovan Swimming Federation’s site.
The European Youth Olympic Festival is featuring boys in the 15-16 age bracket and girls in the 13-14 age group. Day 1 saw just 5 medal finals among several more semifinals.
Hungarian 14-year-old Ajna Kesely won the girls 200 fly, going 2:15.04 to just miss the meet record by four tenths. Great Britain’s Emily Large was second at 2:16.20.
Meanwhile, Romania’s Maria Gadea, also 14, won the girls 400 IM in 4:53.87. Gadea used the field’s best breaststroke split to rocket from 5th to 1st, and never looked back, winning the event by two seconds over Great Britain’s Rebecca Sutton.
Russia swept the 4×100 free relays to close the night. The girls team won in 3:50.33, getting a big 56.68 leadoff split from Valeria Sukhanova and a 57.69 from anchor Iuliia Filippova. Both were the best splits of their respective legs, as was the 57.90 from third swimmer Marianna Bobrova, just 13 years old.
The Russian boys went 3:26.16 to win gold, missing the meet record by just two tenths. Ivan Girev‘s 50.69 wsa the key leg – Girev is just 15 years old, and held off a surging German team for gold. Johannes Hintze anchored in a field-best 50.25 for Germany, but the team could only take second in 3:26.20.