The entry list for the 17th Euro Meet in Luxembourg was released earlier this week, revealing the key talent that will be battling it out for prize money at the Coque Swimming Pool Friday, January 30th through Sunday, February 1st.
The two and a half day competition will see 33 events filled with approximately 600 swimmers across 20 nations, narrowed down to A- and B-Finals. Last year’s meet saw a total of 3,349 entries and historically the event has drawn an estimated 1500 spectators to the 50m competition pool.
This year’s edition of the event offers prize money of more than 20.000€, awarded to the first three classified in each race, as well as bonus amounts for Meet, European and World Records. Competition begins at 16:00 local time on Friday, January 30th with a mix of timed finals and prelims for the men’s and women’s 400m individual medley, 200m butterfly, 4 x 100m freestyle mixed relay, as well as the women’s 800m freestyle and men’s 1500m freestyle events.
Races to Watch
Katinka Hosszu utterly dominated this same meet last year, where she completed a grueling 16-event schedule, resulting in seven championship records. This year, the Iron Lady has opted instead to venture to Nice, France for the Golden Tour competition, so that certainly opens the door for several of last year’s runners-up to move into the foreground and take full advantage of Hosszu‘s absence.
Hosszu‘s recurring nemesis, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, who did not attend this meet last year, has entered into an “Iron Lady-like” mega-schedule of events of her own for this 2015 edition. Belmonte is listed as the top seed in the 400m IM, 200m butterfly, 800m freestyle, 200m IM and 400m freestyle and is also scheduled to compete in the 200m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 200m breaststroke, and 100m butterfly for a total of nine demanding events. Sparks should fly over the weekend for this dynamic swimmer, as five of her number-one-seeded events have entry list times well beneath the meet records, of which many are held by Hosszu.
With one Hungarian missing from the meet, there is still a powerful competitor from that country for Belmonte to keep in her sights, however. Zsuzsanna Jakabos is following in her countrywoman’s footsteps in terms of a monster schedule, as she is setting herself up for a 15-event rampage. Jakabos is pegged directly against Belmonte in several key races, including both the IM events, three freestyle races, as well as the 100m and 200m butterfly. Belmonte is seeded higher than Jakabos in each event, but the Hungarian may have some extra oomph seeking to fill Hosszu‘s shoes.
For the men, another rivalry hits the big stage, as freestyler adversaries Paul Biedermann (Germany) and Velimir Stjepanovic (Serbia) take to the pool against one another in the 200m and 400m freestyle events. Stjepanovic is coming off his gold-medal winning swim in the 200m free at the most recent European Championships, while Biedermann finished just behind him with a silver by just three one-hundredths. Look for a heated battle to ensue as they strategically challenge each other for four lengths of the 50m pool.
Germany’s Marco Koch takes on Scotland’s Michael Jamieson across the three breaststroke distances, but the closest races between the two should be the 50m and 100m contests. Koch is seeded just two tenths faster than Jamieson, but certainly anything can happen in the mad dash to the wall.
A tight race also appears to be in order between Poland’s Konrad Czerniak and Laszlo Cseh as they go head-to-head once again in the men’s 100m butterfly. At the 2014 European Championships, Czerniak out-touched Cseh by half a second, earning a championship record in the process. They are seeded one and two, respectively, in this meet with those same times, and hopefully with that same intensity.