Records Fall, But Sights Set on August
Despite a personal best in her signature event the 200 breast and a new Spanish national record, Jessica Vall Montero is not celebrating her accomplishments at the 2016 European Championships taking place this week in London.
“I am very surprised at my time as this is my personal best. However, at this stage of the season when everybody has the Olympics in her focus, it’s not affecting anything, I will continue as if nothing had happened here.” Jessica Vall Montero, Spain, 2:22.56, Silver
Vall Montero, now 27, is continuing to improve her times, and with the 2:22.56 she swam Friday night in London she has established herself as the 7th-fastest woman in the world this year in the 200 breast. World record holder Rikke Moeller-Pedersen took the gold ahead of Vall Montero with a time of 2:21.69. Both women, like most of the other competitors at the meet, are focusing on Rio and not allowing themselves to become complacent with their achievements in London.
Italy Goes 1-2 in the 800 Free
Gregorio Paltrinieri, who caused a lot of excitement after his astounding 1500 earlier this week, has broken another Championship record on his way gold in the 800 free. Though shy of his lifetime best, Paltrinieri’s performance in this non-Olympic distance further establishes his position as a major gold medal contender heading into Rio.
“It was really-really tough at the end, I was almost dying. I’m in the middle of my Olympic preparations here I swam such great times, this is great.” Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy, 7:42.33, Gold
Despite being only slightly more than half of the distance of the 1500 which Paltrinieri will swim in Rio, his time in the 800 is only 3.91 seconds faster than his 800 split in the longer race (7:36.24). Gabriel Detti, fellow countryman to Paltrinieri, took silver with a time of 7:43.52.
Dotto on the Right Path to Rio
Luca Dotto won another gold medal for Italy tonight with a promising 48.25 in the 100 free. Dotto, who is currently ranked 2nd in the world behind Australia’s Cameron McEvoy, managed to edge out Dutchman Sebastiaan Verschuren and Clement Mignon of France who finished 2nd and 3rd with times of 48.32 and 48.36, respectively. Dotto remarks:
“This is the first time since Shanghai 2011 (Worlds) that I’m back on the podium at a big international event and that shows that I’m on the right way to Rio through investing a lot of hard work.” Luca Dotto, Italy, 48.25, Gold
Though Dotto faded on the 2nd 50, he was the only swimmer out under 23 seconds with a 22.90 to his feet at 50 meters. Per his statement, this is the first time that Dotto has made the podium at a large international competition since the FINA World Championships in 2011 held in Shanghai.
Sjostrom Sees Room for Improvement, Despite Third Victory
Only 22-one-hundredths off her world record established at last year’s world championships, Sarah Sjostrom ran away with the victory in the women’s 100 fly Friday in London. Winning the race by nearly a full second, Sjostrom led from start to finish, proving her endurance on the 2nd 50 where she pulled ahead of 2nd-place-finisher Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark.
“I’m very happy with the title and the time but I still made some small mistakes so there is room for improvement and getting faster.” Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 55.89, Gold
With her focus on Rio and considering that she believes she had a less-than-perfect race Friday, a world record from Sjostrom in Rio would not come as a surprise, supposing she works the kinks out of her race. Ottesen, the silver-medalist, swam the world’s 2nd-fastest time this season with a 56.83. Though Ottesen was out in a 26.39 to Sjostrom’s 26.31, she could not finish the race as fast as Sjostrom, though she stated that she felt slightly ill when she woke up Friday morning.
(Mostly) Just for Fun
“Of course the mixed relay is not the most important event but it is always fun to swim it. We have a great team, and our goal was to win the gold. It’s a big achievement since Italy and France also have strong teams.” Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands, 3:23.64, Gold
The Dutch team of , Ben Schwietert, Sebastiaan Verschuren, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, and Maud van der Meer took the gold medal in the 4 x 100 mixed free relay Friday at the 2016 European Championships with a new championship record time of 3:23.64. Verschuren led off the team with a strong 48.64, and Kromowidjojo anchored with a blazing fast 52.27. The only other woman in the field to split sub-53 was Italy’s Federica Pellegrini with a 52.91, which helped Italy secure second-place with a time of 3:24.55. Luca Dotto, 100 freestyle champion, also split a very respectable 47.94 swimming second on the relay.
Because the mixed relays are not Olympic events and are not scored for points, they are events that athletes highly enjoy competing in and are still awarded medals for.