Budapest 2022, Euro Day 2 Recap: New Faces Assert Themselves as Medal Threats


Without a relay or distance event, the Day 2 finals session was a little shorter than usual, but no less action packed–especially for the Europeans. In this finals session, it seemed that with every race, there was another European swimmer winning a medal, setting a national record, or posting a top qualifying time.

Through 2 sessions of finals, the Europeans are 1 medal behind their count from the 2019 World Championships. At this point in 2019, the Europeans had won 7 medals: 2 gold, 3 silver, and 1 bronze. So far this year, they have 6: 2 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze. There’s an asterisk when it comes to comparing these counts though; in 2019, the men hadn’t raced the 400 IM yet by Day 2. Also, the Russians were racing and had contributed 2 silver medals to the European total–Oleg Kostin in the 50 fly and the men’s 4×100 free relay.

What’s most exciting for the future of European swimming though, is that there are no repeat medalists from 2019. Every European medalist from these 2022 Worlds did not medal in Gwangju.

2022 v. 2019 European Medalists Through Day 2 of Worlds

2022 2019
Gold Leon Marchand, M 400 IM

Nicolo Martinenghi, M 100 Breast

Adam Peaty, M 100 breast

Katinka Hosszu, W 200 IM

Silver Lukas Märtens, M 400 Free

Arno Kamminga, M 100 Breast

Marie Wattel, W 100 Fly

Russia, M 4×100 Free Relay

James Wilby, M 100 Breast

Sarah Sjostrom, W 100 Fly

Oleg Kostin, M 50 Fly

Bronze Italy, M 4×100 Free Relay Gabriele Detti, M 400 Free

Leon Marchand‘s win was heralded as a changing of the guard in the 400 IM. It was, but as we can see from the chart, it’s not the only example of new stars stepping up that we’ve seen so far in Budapest. Three of the six European medals have been won in a national record time. Though Marchand, Marie Wattel, and Nicolo Martinenghi each bettered their own records, it still shows their impressive trajectories. In 2019, Marchand didn’t compete at Worlds. Martinenghi DQ’ed in the 100 breast semifinals, and Wattel finished 8th, a second slower than her silver medal time. Though he was pegged as the favorite in a Peaty-less 100 breast, Kamminga’s silver medal underscores how much he has improved since the last World Championships, where he failed to make the final.

Even outside of the medal rounds though, Europeans put on a show on Day 2.

In the second semifinal of the men’s 100 back, Apostolos Christou, Thomas Cecconand Ksawery Masiuk each lowered their respective national records. Christou and Ceccon are the top two qualifiers for the final, and are now the 7th and 10th fastest performers of all time. Masiuk’s time is no less impressive, as he came into the meet with a best time of 53.40 and through two rounds has taken almost a second off his best to get down to 52.58 and vault into medal contention.

Blasting a world junior record in the men’s 200 free semifinal, Romania’s David Popovici is the top qualifier for the final. With his time of 1:44.40, Popovici has put the rest of the field on notice. After missing the Olympic podium by .02, the 17-year-old seems on the verge of establishing himself as a major medal threat for years to come.

Behind him, Felix Auboeck cracked a lifetime best and new Austrian record in 1:45.70. Though Auboeck has been around on the international scene for a bit, he’s still a relatively new face in the 200 free. After not racing this event in Tokyo, he’s the #2 qualifier for finals and has announced himself as a threat from the 200 free up to the 1500. On Day 1, he also set an Austrian record in the 400 free and finished fourth. He’s clearly on good form in Budapest as he goes hunting for his first long course Worlds medal.

Quick Hits

  • Another new medal threat, Germany’s Anna Elendt is the top qualifier heading into the women’s 100 breast final on Day 3. She touched in 1:05.62, just off her national record of 1:05.58 that she set at the San Antonio Pro Series earlier this spring. In Gwangju, she didn’t make it out of the heats.
  • In the same event, Ruta Meilutyte found her way back to the final. The former world record holder qualified fourth in 1:06.04.
  • The Netherlands’ Kira Toussaint recently switched her training base back to her alma mater, the University of Tennessee. Early returns for that choice look good, as she qualified for the final in 59.16, hacking more time off her pre-meet season best of 59.95.

Continental and National Records on Day 2

  • Nicolo Martinenghi got the ball rolling in the first event of the session. He lowered his own Italian record in the 100 breast by .02 seconds, clocking 58.26 for the win.
  • In the women’s 100 fly record, Marie Wattel won the silver medal in 56.14, shaving .02 seconds off the French record she set in the semifinal of the Tokyo Games.
  • Greece’s Apostolos Christou blasted 52.09 in the men’s 100 back to break the Championship and Greek records. Christou held the old record in 52.77, which he swam at the 2021 European Championships.
  • In the same semifinal, Thomas Ceccon broke his third Italian Record in two days, touching in 52.12.
  • Not to be outdone, Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk lowered the national record that he set in prelims from 53.33 to 52.58. He came into the meet with a 53.40, so he’s taken almost a second off his best with finals still to come on Day 3.
  • In addition to a new world junior record, David Popovici‘s 1:44.40 200 free is also a new Romanian record.
  • Felix Auboeck set an Austrian record in the semifinals of the men’s 200 free, posting a 1:45.17 to take out his old record of 1:45.70, set in April 2021. He’s now the #2 qualifier for finals in an event he didn’t race in Tokyo.

European Medal Table Through Day 2 Finals

Total Medals Gold Silver Bronze
France 2 1 1
Germany 1 1
Italy 2 1 1
Netherlands 1 1

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Awsi Dooger
9 months ago

I was rooting for Kamminga not to win primarily because I didn’t understand the hype in that direction, nor the near-90% he pulled in the pick-em contest. As a gambler I got burned so many times by that type of thinking decades ago…the ultra elite is suddenly absent so you shift heavy allegiance and expectancy toward the second best. It’s remarkable how flawed and fragile that is. I remember losing numerous times in sports wagering and also with thoroughbreds. Fortunately I exhausted it from my system.

For example, if Duplantis is participating in the pole vault then he’s worth the price. But if he’s absent it doesn’t matter if a second tier guy like Chris Nilsen looks head and… Read more »

9 months ago

There may indeed, be a changing of the guard in some events, but as a general rule, I just don’t see it. In the 400 IM for men, Chase K. was totally in the mix along with a new ‘kid’ Carson Foster. And I could sit other examples. For me, the real story is how well TEAM USA has been doing, right out of the start!

9 months ago

It was pretty much expected. USA is pretty much the only country that sent a full strength team. But yes, they are doing very well.

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, …

Read More »