Euro Relay Splits: Three Men Hit 57 On BR, Dawson & Kolesnikov Wow On Lead-Offs


Great Britain ended a dominant relay performance at the 2021 European Championships with a pair of definitive wins in the men’s and women’s 400 medley, with both teams setting new Championship Records.

Both races saw plenty of noteworthy splits across the board – let’s take a closer look below.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay

Backstroke Lead-offs

Kliment Kolesnikov missed the final of the men’s 100 backstroke due to an incredibly tough double, but he showed he was in gold-medal form in the event on two occasions in relay scenarios.

After leading off the mixed 400 medley relay in 52.09, which doesn’t count officially due to it being a mixed relay, though it was under the existing Russian Record, Kolesnikov led off the men’s medley relay in 52.13 – .01 off of Evgeny Rylov‘s National Record and .02 off Camille Lacourt‘s European Record.

Kolesnikov also notably flipped in 24.98 at the 50, marking his second time go out under 25 this week after a 24.97 on the mixed medley. These may be the fastest two splits on the opening 50 of a long course 100 backstroke in history, though that isn’t confirmed.

China’s Xu Jiayu went out in 24.99 when he registered the second-fastest swim of all-time (51.86) in 2017.

Backstroke Lead-offs

Swimmer Country Split
Kliment Kolesnikov Russia 52.13
Yohann Ndoye Brouard France 53.22
Thomas Ceccon Italy 53.59
Luke Greenbank Great Britain 53.64
Kacper Stokowski Poland 54.18
Shane Ryan Ireland 54.23
Viktar Staselovich Belarus 54.75
Njoern Kamman Germany 55.42

Breaststroke Splits

Going 57-point in individual swims has become commonplace for Adam Peaty, so it’s no shocker when he does it on the medley relay. For anyone else, however, it’s a big deal.

Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi and Belarus’ Ilya Shymanovich produced matching 57.84 splits on the medley, with Peaty leading the way in 57.38, making them just the fourth and fifth swimmers to go sub-58 on a relay. The other two are Brenton Rickard (57.80 for Australia in 2009) and Yan Zibei (57.96 for China in 2020). Arno Kamminga, whose Dutch team didn’t field a team in this event, has of course broken 58 seconds individually.

Peaty now owns the 13 fastest splits of all-time, having also been 57.13 and 57.63 earlier in this meet. His fastest ever stands at 56.59 from the 2016 Olympic Games.

The splits from both Peaty and Martinenghi put their respective nations back into the race with Russia, who were well ahead after Kolesnikov’s lead-off.

Swimmer Country Split
Adam Peaty Great Britain 57.38
Nicolo Martinenghi Italy 57.84
Ilya Shymanovich Belarus 57.84
Lucas Matzerath Germany 58.95
Kirill Prigoda Russia 59.02
Darragh Greene Ireland 59.20
Jan Kozakiewicz Poland 59.34
Theo Bussiere France 1:00.60

Butterfly Splits

After back-to-back sub-51 swims from a flat start, culminating in a 100 fly bronze medal, James Guy was a very strong 50.65 for Great Britain to lead the pack, with Russia’s Mikhail Vekovishchev also coming through for his team in 50.94.

Swimmer Country Split
James Guy Great Britain 50.65
Mikhail Vekovishchev Russia 50.94
Jakub Majerski Poland 51.11
Federico Burdisso Italy 51.29
Mehdy Metella France 51.46
Yauhen Tsurkin Belarus 51.93
Ramon Klenz Germany 52.09
Brendan Hyland Ireland 53.08

Freestyle Splits

At the end of a long week, Duncan Scott still managed to deliver a sub-47 anchor leg for Brits, splitting 46.92 to assure them the victory by almost a full second. Scott owns history’s #2 split of all-time from the 2019 World Championships, where he anchored the Brits to gold in the 400 medley relay in 46.14.

Alessandro Miressi was on fire all week for Italy and closed things out strong with a 47.21 anchor.

Swimmer Country Split
Duncan Scott Great Britain 46.92
Alessandro Miressi Italy 47.21
Andrei Minakov Russia 47.41
Maxime Grousset France 47.82
Jakub Kraska Poland 48.19
Jack McMillan Ireland 48.37
Josha Salchow Germany 48.81
Artsiom Machekin Belarus 49.68

Women’s 400 Medley Relay

Backstroke Lead-offs

Kathleen Dawson swam five 58-second 100 backstroke swims this week, saving the best for last in the 400 medley relay.

Dawson broke Gemma Spofforth‘s European and British Record of 58.12 from 2009 in a blazing 58.08 on the opening leg, giving the team a massive 1.39 lead on the field.

Dawson had also gone 58.18, 58.43, 58.44 and 58.49 this week – though the first two don’t officially register due to, 1) the cancelled final, and 2) a mixed relay lead-off.

Swimmer Country Split
Kathleen Dawson Great Britain 58.08
Maria Kameneva Russia 59.47
Anastasiya Shkurdai Belarus 59.53
Margherita Panziera Italy 59.71
Kira Toussaint Netherlands 59.76
Michelle Coleman Sweden 1:00.00
Mimosa Jallow Finland 1:00.47
Karoline Sorensen Denmark 1:02.04

Breaststroke Splits

There wasn’t much it in on breast, with five women within .32 of one another at the top. Individual winner Sophie Hansson led the way for Sweden in 1:05.45.

Swimmer Country Split
Sophie Hansson Sweden 1:05.45
Arianna Castiglioni Italy 1:05.66
Molly Renshaw Great Britain 1:05.72
Yulia Efimova Russia 1:05.77
Alina Zmushka Belarus 1:06.64
Ida Hulkko Finland 1:06.67
Clara Rybak-Andersen Denmark 1:07.92
Tes Schouten Netherlands 1:07.93

Butterfly Splits

Svetlana Chimrova and Louise Hansson both came through with sub-57s on fly, with Chimrova’s 56.78 the key in leading Russia to silver over Italy.

Swimmer Country Split
Svetlana Chimrova Russia 56.78
Louise Hansson Sweden 56.79
Elena di Liddo Italy 57.27
Maaike De Ward Netherlands 57.53
Laura Stephens Great Britain 57.55
Anastasiya Kuliashova Belarus 58.30
Laura Lahtinen Finland 1:00.60

Freestyle Splits

Femke Heemskerk, who recorded the 10th-fastest split ever in last night’s mixed 400 free relay in 51.73, again delivered for the Netherlands in 52.19 – the fastest anchor in the field. The Dutch were back in fifth, but were still within .11 of their National Record in 3:57.41.

Anna Hopkin was very impressive for Great Britain in 52.66, giving them a new Championship Record of 3:54.01 and smashing the British Record by almost three seconds.

Swimmer Country Split
Femke Heemskerk Netherlands 52.19
Anna Hopkin Great Britain 52.66
Federica Pellegrini Italy 53.66
Fanny Teijonsalo Finland 54.22
Arina Surkova Russia 54.23
Sara Juvenik Sweden 54.30
Natassia Karakouskaya Belarus 55.90

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2 years ago

Xu Jiayu split 24.99 on his was to swimming 51.86 in 2017. No footage of that race remains sadly with the only existing video having been taken down off of YouTube.

Reply to  IM FAN
2 years ago

yes i remember that as well, the opening 50 in 24.99.
glad i watched the video back then when it was still available.
cant you guys find any results page from that meet? so you can update the article

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Anonymoose
2 years ago

the results page has been taken down, but swimswam did a split comparison when they first reported on xu’s record

Last edited 2 years ago by Old Man Chalmers
2 years ago

I believe Kolesnikov split 24.97 the first 50 of the mixed medley relay a few nights before.

Reply to  James Sutherland
2 years ago

Xu jiyau also split 24.9 when he went 51.86 back in 2017

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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