There is no debate that the story for the Europeans, the story of the day, the story of the meet so far is Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte who qualified for the top spot in the 100 breaststroke final by posting a world record time of 1:04.35. The 16 year old Lithuanian broke Jessica Hardy‘s record of 1:04.45 that was set in 2009 (the shiny suit era).
“Hopefully,” said Meilutyte when asked if she could go faster in the final. In an interview with BBC’s Nick Hope, she explained that the world record was more important to her than the win, “My biggest aim is accomplished. I will give it my best shot in the final and see what I can do.”
Whatever Meilutyte can muster up in the final it should be a treat to watch. Her time today is impressive considering that her best time coming into the year was 1:05.21, which she recorded in the semi-final in London and a year later the Olympic champion has dropped almost a full second off her best.
Meilutyte’s progression in the 100 breaststroke:
- 2010 – 1:09.95
- 2011 – 1:07.96
- 2012 – 1:05.21
- 2013 – 1:04.35
There were five other Europeans who qualified for the final; Yuliya Efimova (RUS) qualified second in a time of 1:05.29, Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) qualified third in a time of 1:05.99, Viktoriya Solnceva (UKR) qualified sixth in a time of 1:06.67, Jennie Johansson of (SWE) qualified seventh in a time of 1:06.96 while Marina Garcia Urzainqui (ESP) qualified eighth in a time of 1:07.12.
Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden won the women’s 100 butterfly at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, since that point she has finished fourth at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai and fourth again at the London Olympics. Not this time; the 2013 World Championships is the competition that Sjostrom found her self not only back on the podium, but back on the top of the podium, winning the 100 butterfly in a time of 56.53.
In an interview with reporters after the race she explained that persistence is the key, “You have to still continue and never give up. It is so close all the time, this time I was on the right side.”
When she was asked what the different about her today compared to 2009 the answer was simple, “I am more confident,” said Sjostrom. “I know more about my swimming and what I need to do in the water.”
There were two other Europeans in the race; Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN) finished fourth in a time of 57.27 while Ilaria Bianchi (ITA) finished sixth in a time of 58.11.
The final race of the evening saw Katinka Hosszu was impressive winning the women’s 200 IM in a time of 2:07.92, 1.47 seconds ahead of Olympic silver medalist Alicia Coutts of Australia. Before this race Hosszu’s textile best was a 209.75 that she recorded in June of this year.
Hosszu lead the race from start to finish, opening up a lead of over a second after the backstroke and extended that lead in the second half of the swim.
“When I turned to the freestyle I was like oh my God where is everyone I just want to touch the wall and celebrate,” Hosszu explained to a reporter.
There were four other Europeans in the race; Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) finished third in a time of 2:09.45, Zsuzanna Jakabos (HUN) finished sixth in a time of 2:10.95, Sophie Allen of Great Britain finished seventh in a time of 2:11.32 while Allen’s teammate Siobhan-Marie O’Connor finished eighth in a time of 2:12.03.
- Mikkel von Seelen, the Danish Director of Sports said before the meet that he expected the Danish team to bring home two medals, they haven’t won their first yet, but are in good position to achieve the goal of two by the end of Tuesday night. Today Lotte Friis qualified in the top position in the 1500 freestyle posting a time of 15:49.18 while Rikke Moller Pedersen qualified for the 100 breaststroke in the third position with a time of 1:05.99.
- Europeans showed an extreme amount of depth in the women’s 100 breaststroke, with six of the eight finalists, men’s 50 butterfly, with five of the eight finalists and women’s 200 IM, with five of the eight finalist.
- After winning the 200 freestyle at the World University Games, Danilla Izotov went on to set a textile lifetime best of 1:44.87 leading off the Russian 4 x 200 freestyle relay. His time was also a world’s best, does he have the ability to stay on top? Ryan Lochte and Olympic champion Yannick Agnel will definitely have something to say about it.
- On the first night the Spanish fans erupted with joy as they watched one of their own, Melanie Costa Schmid, win the silver in the women’s 400 freestyle and they raised the roof once again when Mireia Belmonte Garcia collected the bronze in the women’s 200 IM.
- With Laszlo Cseh swimming a 54.00 in the 100 backstroke it looks the Hungarians may use Peter Bernek as their backstroker on the medley relay, with Cseh swimming the butterfly leg (that is if they have a relay)
Men’s 100 backstroke
- Poland – Radoslaw Kawecki – 53.82
Women’s 100 breaststroke
- Lithuania – Ruta Meilutyte – 1:04.35
- Ukraine – Viktoriya Solnceva – 1:06.67
- Belgium – Kim Janssens – 1:08.36
- Denmark – Rikke Moller-Pedersen – 1:05.99
- Russia – Yuliya Efimov – 1:05.24
- Spain – Marina Garcia Urzainqui – 1:07.12
- Finland – Jenna Laukkanen – 1:08.59
Men’s 50 butterfly
- Belarus – Yauhen Tsurkin – 22.96
- Ukraine – Andrii Govorov
Women’s 100 backstroke
- Ukraine – Daryna Zevina – 59.90
- Czech Republic – Simona Baumrtova – 59.99
Women’s 1500 freestyle
- Hungary – Boglarka Kapas – 16:02.58
Women’s 200 IM
- Spain – Mireia Belmonte Garcia – 2:09.45