Euro Relay Splits: Heemskerk Blasts 51.99, Three Men Hit 47.1 On 4×100 Free

2021 LEN EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

A pair of hotly contested relays took place during the opening finals session at the 2021 European Aquatics Championships, with the British women and Russian men prevailing in their respective 400 free relays.

There were several notable splits across the two races – including a sub-52 leg on the women’s side. Let’s take a look at the splits below:

Women’s 400 Free Relay

Lead-off Splits

Country Swimmer Split
Netherlands Ranomi Kromowidjojo 53.56
Denmark Signe Bro 53.73
Great Britain Lucy Hope 53.89
France Marie Wattel 53.97
Sweden Michelle Coleman 54.34
Slovenia Neza Klancar 54.82
Italy Silvia DiPietro 55.11
Hungary Fanni Gyurinovics 55.19

It was certainly no surprise to see 2012 100 free Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo lead the way for the Netherlands on the lead-off leg, clocking in at 53.56 – just over four tenths off her fourth-ranked 53.13 from April.

Lucy Hope had a standout lead-off for the British women, lowering her Scottish National Record by a full three tenths of a second in 53.89. She set the previous standard of 54.19 just last month at British Trials.

Denmark’s Signe Bro also set a best time by a tenth in 53.73.

Flying Splits

Country Swimmer Split
Netherlands Femke Heemskerk 51.99
Great Britain Freya Anderson 52.79
France Charlotte Bonnet 53.36
Denmark Pernille Blume 53.56
Great Britain Anna Hopkin 53.59
Great Britain Abbie Wood 53.90
Sweden Louise Hansson 53.93
Italy Federica Pellegrini 53.94
Netherlands Marrit Steenbergen 54.13
France Anouchka Martin 54.25
France Assia Touati 54.34
Netherlands Kira Toussaint 54.61
Denmark Julie Kepp Jensen 54.63
Slovenia Janja Segel 54.68
Sweden Sophie Hansson 54.78
Slovenia Katja Fain 54.81
Italy Margherita Panziera 54.88
Denmark Jeanette Ottesen 54.89
Hungary Panna Ugrai 55.05
Italy Costanza Cocconcelli 55.15
Hungary Petra Senanszky 55.54
Slovenia Tjasa Pintar 55.65
Sweden Sara Junevik 55.67
Hungary Evelyn Verraszto 56.53

Only two women broke 53 from a relay takeover – and Femke Heemskerk went sub-52.

Heemskerk matched her career-best split in 51.99, having also hit that mark at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan. It still wasn’t enough to run down Freya Anderson, however, who closed in 52.79 for Great Britain to hold on for the victory.

Medley specialist Abbie Wood had a strong split for GBR in 53.90, and Anna Hopkin‘s 53.59 was critical as well.

France had a promising swim from Charlotte Bonnet, who swam her fastest time in two years back in March (53.70). Today she split 53.36 for the third-fastest in the field.

Given Pernille Blume‘s 24.06 50 free semi-final, her split of 53.56 maybe left a little something to be desired. The Dane produced her fastest-ever relay leg  – 51.77 – at this meet in 2018.

Men’s 400 Free Relay

Lead-off Splits

Country Swimmer Split
Italy Alessandro Miressi 47.74
Russia Andrei Minakov 48.18
Switzerland Roman Mityukov 48.20
GBR Thomas Dean 48.32
Greece Apostolos Christou 48.39
Hungary Nandor Nemeth 48.41
Serbia Velimir Stjepanovic 48.72
Netherlands Nyls Korstanje 48.86

Alessandro Miressi let everyone know he’ll be tough to dethrone in the individual 100 free, as the defending champion reeled off a new Italian Record on the opening leg in 47.74, taking out his previous mark of 47.92 set in 2018. Miressi had also gone 47.95 leading off in the heats.

Miressi is the fifth man to break 48 seconds this season, joining Kliment Kolesnikov (47.31), Andrei Minakov (47.57), Vladislav Grinev (47.85) and Duncan Scott (47.87).

Minakov put the Russians in second in 48.18, while Switzerland’s Roman Mityukov set a new National Record for the Swiss in 48.20. Tom Dean also set a best time for the Brits in 48.32, improving on his 48.51 from Trials.

Apostolos Christou set a new Greek Record leading off in 48.39, his second of the session after doing so in the 50 back semi-finals.

Flying Splits

Country Swimmer Split
Russia Kliment Kolesnikov 47.10
Serbia Andrej Barna 47.15
GBR Duncan Scott 47.19
Russia Vladislav Grinev 47.49
Hungary Kristof Milak 47.50
Russia Alexander Shchegolev 47.64
Greece Kristian Gkolomeev 47.77
Netherlands Stan Pijnenburg 47.79
Italy Manuel Frigo 47.85
GBR James Guy 47.92
Italy Thomas Ceccon 47.98
Switzerland Antonio Djakovic 48.11
Netherlands Jesse Puts 48.11
GBR Matthew Richards 48.13
Greece Andreas Vazaios 48.14
Hungary Szebasztian Szabo 48.25
Italy Lorenzo Zazzeri 48.30
Hungary Richard Bohus 48.34
Switzerland Nils Liess 48.53
Switzerland Noe Ponti 48.57
Serbia Nikola Acina 48.72
Netherlands Thom de Boer 49.03
Greece Odyssefs Meladinis 49.09
Serbia Uros Nikolic 49.14

We saw 11 men split under 48 seconds with a relay exchange, led by none other than Kolesnikov who followed up his 50 back world record with a 47.10 anchor for the victorious Russians. 19-year-old Alexander Shchegolev (47.64) and Grinev (47.49) also had strong swims for the gold medalists.

The British men broke a 12-year-old National Record in 3:11.56, led by Scott’s 47.19 closing leg that moved them past Italy for silver. We also saw another sub-48 from James Guy (47.92), who has proven to be an invaluable asset on this relay despite his 200/400 background.

Serbia’s Andrej Barna – who previously competed for the University of Louisville in the NCAA – had the second-fastest split in the field at 47.15 after going 47.74 in the prelims. Barna’s flat-start best stands at 48.75 from the U.S. Open in November, so he appears to be in line for a big PB when the individual event rolls around.

Serbia ended up finishing seventh in a new National Record time of 3:13.73. Along with them and Great Britain, we also saw new national marks set by Greece (3:13.39), Switzerland (3:13.41) and the Netherlands (3:13.79).

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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