There were some very exciting happenings on the first day of competition at the 2012 European Short Course Swimming Championships.
First Ever Relay Medal for the Czech Republic
It was a great day for the Czech Republic; Martin Badura, Petr Bartunek, Michal Ledl, and Tomas Plevko won the country’s first relay medal at either a European or World Championships. The team won a bronze in the 4 x 50 medley relay in a time of 1:35.18.
This particular relay make up gives a lot of hope for the future of swimming in the Czech Republic as three of the fours swimmers were born in 1991.
“We didn’t expect a medal, but we now have some young, promising talents, who are giving us hope for more“, said Jan Novotny, the General Secretary of the Czech Swimming Federation.
There were also five national records set:
Radoslaw Kaweck (POL) – 200 Back – 1:48.51
Laszlo Cseh (HUN) – 200 IM – 1:52.74
Vladimir Morozov (RUS) – 50 Free – 20.79
Petra Chocova (CZE) – 50 Breast – 30.02
Sycerika McMahon (IRL) – 50 Breast – 30.24
Hannah Miley (SCO) – 800 Free – 8:15.66
Women’s 800 Freestyle
Lotte Friis of Denmark won the women’s in a time of 8:10.24. Friis was ahead of the pack from start to finish jumping out to an early lead at the 100 meter mark in a time of 57.93 almost a full two seconds ahead of the rest of the field. At the 400 meter mark she had increased her lead on Great Britain’s Hannah Miley by over five seconds and won the event by just over 5 seconds. That also gives her a new Scottish Record.
“I have a new coach, Fabrice Pellerin in Nice, France. We try new things and I managed to swim a fast 400 metres, but eventually I felt a bit tired and have to admit that my first 400 were too fast. Anyway, I’m very satisfied with my time and my fourth European title in this event.”
Friis alluded to her new training ground, where she’s swimming alongside the new World Record holder Cammile Muffat. Muffat, a Frenchwomen, didn’t swim the 800 in this meet, but Friis, her training partner, was dominant in her stead.
Miley finished second in a time of 8:18.90 with her teammate Aimee Willmott finishing third in a time of 8:18.90 at time she had posted earlier in the day in the slower heats of the 800.
“This event is such a good opportunity to try some new events,” Miley. “I’m real happy about the time because my personal best was seven seconds slower, and I try my best to start in all ten events here just to train by doing international competitions.”
Men’s 50 Backstroke – Semi Final
Jeremy Stravius (FRA) – 23.37
Guy Barnea (ISR) – 23.47
Benjamin Stasiulis (FRA) – 23.56
Women’s 50 Butterfly – Semi Final
Melanie Henique (FRA) – 25.67
Silvia Di Pietro (ITA) – 25.78
Kimberly Buys (BEL) – 25.91
Men’s 400 IM
There were no surprises in the 400 IM with Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh winning in a time of 4:00.99.
“This is a double gold for me – the title and a good time. The fact that David Verraszto came back in breaststroke was not a worry because I kept my pace and finished strongly. It is my seventh gold in this event since 2003.”
He was followed by his country mate David Verraszto who finished in a time 4:02.54.”What more do I want? It’s a personal best jammers. Freestyle was my worst leg because I had exhausted myself in the breaststroke.”
With Gal Nevo of Israel finishing third in a time of 4:04.80 appearing to be a bit frustrated after his swim, “Once again just bronze! These Hungarians are simply too good for me. I don’t know yet whether I will continue swimming until the next Olympics. I always decide year by year.”
Women’s 200 Breaststroke
Rikke Moeller Pedersen of Denmark won the women’s 200 Breaststroke in a time of 2:17.26, which six tenths of a second off her European and Champsionship Meet Record of 2:16.66.
“I was thinking just a little bit about my European record, but as I came here to Chartres without tapering, it is an excellent time with regard to the World Championships in three weeks’ time.”
Both the second and third place finishers broke their country’s national records. Marina Garcia Urzainqui of Spain finished in a time of 2:20.57 breaking her own National Record of 2:21.65 set in 2008.
“Unbelievable! That’s the continuation of my success story from Debrecen, when I won a medal in May this year. It was a really good race for me today and I’m totally happy.”
Ganna Dzerkal of the Ukraine finished third in a time of 2:21.94 breaking the Ukrainian record by almost three full seconds. The previous mark of 2:24.78 was set by Svitlana Bondarenko in 1995.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
The men’s 100 breaststroke was won by Italian Fabio Scozzoli in a time of 57.25.
“Of course I wanted to win today, and that holds also true for the World Championships in three weeks’ time in Istanbul. My performance today makes me optimistic. It was mush better than expected at this time.”
The excitement though was the race of second between Martti Aljand of Estonia and Giacomo Perez Dortona of France. Martti Aljand had a slight lead of nine one-hundreths of a second at the 50 meter mark touching in a time of 27.04 followed by Perez Dortona who turned in a time of 27.13.
Perez Dortona made his move on the last 50 only to be touched out by Aljand by one one-hundredth of a second. Aljand finished second in a time of 57.75 with Perez Dortona finishing third in a time of 57.76.
“It was an awesome race. When I got onto the starting block I reckoned with a medal. But in the end it was quite close. Now I’m wondering what we can do in the mixed relay,” commented Aljand.
“This is by far my best time ever, and it is so surprising to win a medal because I didn’t sepcially prepare for these Championships. I felt good in the water and controlled my stroke, hence the good progress,” said Perez Dortona.
Women’s 100 Freestyle
Veronika Popova of Russia won the women’s 100 freestyle in Russian National Record time of 52.86 better the previous mark of 53.20 set by Anastasia Aksenov set in 2008.
“I wanted to win this race, and I’m quite happy with my winning time as well. However, I have to get much better if I want to have a chance at the World Championships in Istanbul.”
Jeanette Ottesen Gray of Denmark finished second in a time of 53.13 followed by Charlotte Bonnett of France who finished third in a time of 53.23.
Men’s 100 Freestyle – Semi Final
Vladimir Morozov (RUS) – 46.52
Evgeny Lagunov (RUS) – 46.76
Yannick Agnel (FRA) – 46.96
Women’s 100 Backstroke
The women’s 100 backstroke was won by Daryna Zevina of the Ukraine in a time of 57.07.
“That was a good step in the right direction – towards the Short Course Worlds in Istanbul. Two years ago I missed a World medal in Dubai. I am hoping to be able to improve in the remaining three weeks.”
France’s Laure Manaudou finished second in a time of 57.70.
“To win a medal after such a long break is something to be cherished, but the level of my joy equals the level of my pain because I really had to give everything.”
Finishing third was Simona Baumrtova of the Czech Republic who touched in a time of 58.08.
Men’s 100 Butterfly
Russian Evgeny Korotyshkin won the 100 butterfly in a time of 49.98 well off both his World and Championship Records.
“I wanted to swim 50 flat today – and was even a blink of the eye faster! It isn’t my first Europeans, I can focus right to the point. The Russian short course championships are being held parallel that’s why I don’t yet know whether I will swim at the Worlds in Istanbul.”
Finishing second was Rafael Munoz Perez of Spain in a time of 50.39.
“It was a good race for me. I have been trying to swim under 51 seconds for three years, and today I finally achieved it. However, I like to long course much better…”
Medhy Metella of France finished third in a time of 50.66.
“Before the race I thought I maybe could win it, but I can’t be unhappy with the bronze because the other two swimmers were too strong and out of my reach. I improved my personal best by exactly half a second.”
Women’s 100 IM – Semi Final
Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 59.50
Zsuzanna Jakabos (HUN) – 59.54
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR) – 59.79
Women’s 50 Butterfly
Jeanette Ottesen Gray of Denmark collected her second medal of the evening after winning a silver in the women’s 100 freestyle she followed that up by winning the 50 butterfly in a time of 25.21.
“Now I’m happy because I won gold. I was disappointed after the 100m free because I didn’t win the title.”
Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus finished second in a time of 25.53 with Melanie Henique of France finishing third in a time of 25.76.
Men’s 50 Backstroke
Jeremy Stravius of France won the 50 backstroke in a time of 23.28.
Guy Barnea of Israel finished second in a time of 23.46.
“It was fun. You just make pace on two laps. And it’s great when you get a medal for it…”
Vladimir Morozov of Russia finished third in a time of 23.47.
“Three medals after two days – I can be happy with that, particularly as I just set a new personal best. However, my priority is the freestyle sprint.”