Italy’s Scozzoli Wins Emotional 100 Breast; Norway Takes First Medal

Day 2 of the 2012 European Long Course Championships in Debrecen, Hungary really heated up, with a ton of National Records being broken and a lot of new Olympic bids handed out. In the least, we saw National Records from Ireland, Belarus, Sweden and Israel, and those are just the ones that we noticed.

Men’s 100 Backstroke

Greece’s Aristeidis Grigoriadis pulled off a mild upset with a 53.86 win in the men’s 100 backstroke, giving Greece only their 3rd-ever European Championship in pool swimming (Grigoriadis’ 2008 win in the 50 back is one of the other two). This is as fast as he’s ever been in textile after a wire-to-wire victory.

Behind him was Germany’s Helge Meeuw, who was shooting for a medley relay spot, taking the silver in 54.06. This leaves the Germans in a difficult spot for their Olympic medley relay – Meeuw is still probably the Germans’ best backstroker, but Jan-Philip Glania has been about three-tenths better this year. Fortunately, Meeuw’s 53.80 in the semi-finals was under the German-mandated Olympic standard. This means that the pair will get a chance to show, in London, who is swimming better before the relay is final.

Israel’s Yakov Toumarkin took 3rd in 54.14, which is another best time for him. This now makes him Israel’s best 100 backstroker, and youngest for that matter at 20, ahead of an impressive group that includes big names like Nimrod Shapira, Jonatan Kopelev, and Guy Barnea. More significantly, he now has the National Record and a FINA A-time. That means that Barnea, who is an excrutiating .03 away from the automatic qualifying time, wouldn’t make the Olympic Team after representing Israel in 2008.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli, who should be the Olympic favorite despite never being spoken of after a silver at last year’s World Championships, took the European Title with a 1:00.55 here.

Close behind him was the Ukraine’s Valeriy Dymo in 1:00.68; for the two-time Olympian, who is training in California with the Redlands Swim Team, this give him his first FINA Automatic qualifying time of the qualifying period, which clears up any uncertainty over the entry. That’s the best that he’s been since 2009 in what has been a West Coast rejuvination.

Italy took two spots on the podium with Mattia Pesce getting the bronze in 1:00.93. Germany’s Marco Koch was the only other swimmer to break a minute with a 1:00.99, but no individual Olympic swim for him in the race.

Damir Dugonjic was the fastest swimmer in the semi’s in 1:00.64, but slid to 6th in the final in 1:01.51 after ripping his suit behind the blocks before the race. He would say afterward that it felt like he was swimming with a “parachute,” as officials wouldn’t let him change. Note that he is a longtime teammate of Nathan Adrian (the famous suit-ripper) at Cal.

Louisville’s NCAA star Carlos Almeida was also better in the semis (1:01.19) than the finals (1:01.57) for 8th.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

French youngster Alexianne Castel moved into the world’s top 10 with a 2:08.41 to win the 200 back going-away against an underperforming field. That time matches exactly her best-ever textile swim with the mark she posted at last year’s World Championships. The defending short course World Champion in the race is now really starting to put together her long course abilities and become a serious Olympic finals contender.

Germany’s Jenny Mensing was 2nd in 2:09.55; having qualified for the Olympic Team at last week’s German Nationals, she seems to be back in big training already as she’s added more than a second. Spain’s champion Duane da Rocha was 3rd in 2:09.56, with the Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina 4th in 2:09.57.

In 5th place, Ireland expanded it’s Olympic roster to 4, after Melanie Nocher cleared the FINA A-cut with a 2:10.75 – by the skin of her teeth. That swim obliterates her best time and sets a new National Record in the event. This joins her with Grainne Murphy, Barry Murphy, and Sycerika McMahon, who locked up her spot with A-times in the prelims and semi-finals of the 100 breaststroke.

Men’s 50 Fly

Rafa Munoz has now missed on out two-straight Spanish teams (last year’s World Championships and this year’s Olympic Team), but he’s still one of the best 50 butterfliers in the world. The World Record holder topped the 50 fly final in 23.16 for the win – a time that ranks him 5th in the world this year.

There’s a possibility, with such a good time, that he could clear the mandated 52.13 in the 100 fly final, as he hasn’t swum this well since 2010. This swim was within .05 of Milorad Cavic’s Meet Record.

Fred Bousquet had his second great finals swim of the meet with a 23.30 for the silver. That’s not quite as fast as he was at Maria Lenk in April, but it still shows that there’s not much concern from his sore ribs.

Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin was 3rd in 23.37, which crushed his old National Record of 23.82 that was set about 6 weeks ago (and broken earlier in the semi-finals at 23.77). The 21-year old just snuck into the final as the 8th-seed, and came from an outside lane to earn his way onto the medal stand.

The Ukraine’s Andriy Govorov (23.53) and Serbia’s Milorad Cavic (23.53) tied for 5th, while France’s Amaury Leveaux was 8th in 23.80. All three added from the semi’s.

Women’s 50 Fly

Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden won the 50 fly title in 25.64, continuing a long Swedish tradition in the event. Between Sjostrom, Alshammar, and their predecessor Anna-Karin Kammerling, the Swedish women have combined to win 6 of the 8 gold medals in this race in European Championship history, along with a pair of 1-2 finishes.

Estonia’s Triin Aljand, a former NCAA sprint star at Texas A&M, took 2nd in 25.92, ranking her 6th in the world, and Norway’s Ingvild Snildal scored her country’s first medal at this emotional meet with a 26.16 for 3rd.

Poland’s Anna Dowgiert, who broke a national record in the semis, was 4th in 26.38 – .02 off of her previous swim.


  • Sweden’s Jennie Johansson had another strong mid-season swim in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:07.64 – not her best of the year, but still good to top the semi-finals. Germany’s Sarah Poewe was the second seed in 1:07.70, which etches her name alongside Caroline Ruhnau in this event on the German Olympic team. Runhau was 3rd in 1:08.01. Ireland’s McMahon, as mentioned, twice cleared the FINA A time to get her spot at the Olympics.
  • Germany’s Daniela Schreiber continued to be hot at this meet with a 54.53 to take the top seed in the semi’s of the women’s 100 free. Her countrymate Britta Steffen is close beghind in 54.71. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, in her last event of the meet, qualified 5th. Finland’s Hanna-Maria Seppala, and Sweden’s Gabriella Fagundez are other notable finalists. SMU’s Nina Rangelova didn’t final, but her 55.92 was within half-a-second of her Bulgarian National Record. The Netherlands’ only representative in the race, Hinkelien Schreuder, was 16th in 56.26.
  • Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh already ratched-up the jets in the 200 IM semi, with a 1:57.80 for the top seed and 4th-best time in the world this year. Sweden’s Simon Sjodin is the second seed in 1:59.44, which breaks his own National Record. Israel’s Gal Nevo also broke two minutes with a 1:59.62, which is the fastest that he’s ever been in textile. Markus Rogan, James Goddard, and David Verraszto fill up a loaded final. Florida Gator Eduardo Solaeche was 11th in the semi representing Spain with a 2:01.91 that is close to his best time.
  • Hungary’s Dominik Kozma surprised the field to take the top seed in the men’s 200 free in 1:47.59 – a lifetime best by three seconds and a FINA A time. The two Germans, Tim Wallburger and Paul Biedermann were just behind in 1:47.92, with Dominik Meichtry taking the 4th seed in 1:48.35 after backing way-off in the final 50 meters.

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bobo gigi
10 years ago

Good win for Alexianne Castel in the women’s 200 back. She has swum a smart race with a big finish. And she isn’t fully rested for this meet. She has swum 70 km last week in training. So 2.08.41 is a good time for her. She isn’t a medal contender but she might be able to be an olympic finalist in this event.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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