Ranking The Top 10 Swims From The 2023 European Short Course Championships

2023 EUROPEAN SHORT COURSE SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2023 European Short Course Championships did not lack exceptional swims across the board, as we saw performances ranging from championship records, European records, and even a world record.

Here is how we rank the top 10 individual swims of the meet:

10. Eneli Jefimova (EST) – 100 Breast, 1:03.21

The 10th best performance of the meet was not clear-cut, as it was a tough decision between Eneli Jefimova’s 100 breaststroke (1:03.21), Benedetta Pilato’s 28.84 championship record in the 50, and Duncan Scott‘s 1:50.98 200 IM. We ultimately gave the nod to Jefimova, as her swim was a personal best and national record by a large margin for a 100m distance.

Jefimova topped an impressive field in the 100 breast, one that included former 50 LCM breast world record holder Pilato and World Championships medalist Tes Schouten. Jefimova stopped the clock in 1:03.21, winning by nearly half a second and shattering her own national record in the process (1:03.79).

At the 2021 edition of these championships, Jefimova posted a time of 1:04.25 to take the silver medal in the event. Her performance in Otopeni this past week eclipsed that mark by over a second, showcasing how her steady rise in the sprint breaststroke events is still continuing.

9. Tes Schouten (NED) – 200 Breast, 2:16.09

Coming into the meet, Tes Schouten’s best time in the 200 breaststroke rested at 2:18.19, which she recorded at the 2022 World Championships in Melbourne. She had a great swim in the semifinals, where she stopped the clock in 2:16.98 to shatter the mark. She had another gear in the final, dropping about another second to finish in 2:16.09 – winning the gold by nearly 3.5 seconds.

Her swim ranks her 9th all-time in the event, sitting behind the 2:15.77 put on the books by Kate Douglass last December.

Schouten, 22, has been on the rise since the Tokyo Olympics. Her performances in 2023 are a showcase of her rise in the breaststroke events, with her bronze medal in the 200 breast in Fukuoka and this gold medal being two prime examples.

8. Maxime Grousset (FRA) – 100 Free, 45.46

On the final night in Otopeni, France’s Maxime Grousset took the win in a stacked men’s 100 freestyle final, one that featured the likes of David Popovici, Matt Richards, Alessandro Miressi, and Jacob Whittle. Grousset stopped the clock in 45.46, touching just ahead of Italy’s Miressi (45.51). While his final time of 45.46 is shy of the 45.41 he registered in Melbourne last year, it was still only about half a second shy of the world record.

Grousset actually trailed Miressi for almost the entire race, but found something extra in the closing 10 meters to get his hand on the wall first.

Grousset had a great meet in Otopeni, as he also smashed his best times en route to French records in the 50 (22.06) and 100 (48.94) fly events.

7. Alberto Razzetti (ITA) – 400 IM, 3:57.01

Italy’s Alberto Razzetti put on a show in the 400 IM on the final night of the competition, shattering his national record by 2.5 seconds to secure gold. His final time of 3:57.01 was over three seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher Duncan Scott, who is an Olympic medalist in the 200 IM.

Razzetti and Scott turned through the 200 simultaneously, touching the wall in matching 1:55.49 splits. Razzetti gathered his 3.5 second advantage solely over the final 200 meters, which is impressive considering Scott’s strength is the freestyle leg. Razzetti’s best stroke is butterfly, but he tends to rise for the freestyle legs in his IM swims compared to his individual freestyle times.

The swim from Razzetti catapulted him to #4 all-time in the event, and is a continuation of the awesome past month he’s had. Razzetti posted Italian records in the long course 200 and 400 IMs in Riccione just a week prior to these championships, where he stopped the clock in 1:56.21 and 4:09.29, respectively. You can read more about those record swims here.

Top 5 All-Time Performers:

  1. Daiya Seto (JPN) – 3:54.81
  2. Ryan Lochte (USA) – 3:55.50
  3. Ilya Borodin (RUS) – 3:56.47
  4. Alberto Razzetti (ITA) – 3:57.01
  5. Laszlo Cseh (HUN) – 3:57.27

6. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (FRA) – 15:20.12

Perhaps the most underrated swim of the meet was the 15:20.12 from France’s Anastasiia Kirpichnikova. While she has been as quick as 15:18.30 in the event, which ranks her third all-time, her swim in Otopeni would rank her fourth fastest of all-time. Besides Katie Ledecky, only Sarah Wellbrock (15:18.01) of Germany and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte (15:19.71) have ever been faster than the time Kirpochnikova registered in the Otopeni final. Additionally, the performance by Kirpichnikova was the fifth fastest 1500 of all-time.

Kirpichnikova won the race by nearly 17 seconds over Simona Quadarella of Italy, who herself has won numerous international medals in the distance free events. Quadarella most notably won the world title in this event (LCM) in 2019, and won a bronze in the 800 free at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kirpichnikova focused more on open water the past year, where she placed 11th and 13th in the individual 5 and 10k events at the Fukuoka World Championships.

Top 5 All-Time Performers:

  1. Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:08.24
  2. Sarah Wellbrock (GER) – 15:18.01
  3. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (FRA) – 15:18.30
  4. Mireia Belmonte (ESP) – 15:19.71
  5. Lani Pallister (AUS) – 15:21.43

5. Noe Ponti (SUI) – 100 Fly, 48.47

Noe Ponti grabbed his first butterfly gold medal of the meet in the 100, where he stopped the clock in 48.47 to clip the European record by 0.01. His swim vaulted him to equal third all-time, matching Tom Shield’s 48.47 swim from the 2020 ISL Final. Caeleb Dressel’s massive 47.78 world record and the 48.08 previous world record by Chad Le Clos only rank ahead of the Tokyo bronze medalist.

Ponti would later claim the 200 butterfly gold on night four of the competition, where he hit the wall in 1:49.71 to come short of his best time (1:49.42) from last year.

Top 5 All-Time Performers:

  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 47.78
  2. Chad Le Clos (RSA) – 48.08
  3. Tom Shields (USA) & Noe Ponti (SUI) – 48.47
  4. Evgenii Korotyshkin (RUS) – 48.48

4. Daniel Wiffen (IRL) – 1500 Free, 14:09.11

Daniel Wiffen of Ireland claimed his second gold medal of the meet by winning the 1500 free, where he touched in 14:09.11. His time shattered his previous best (and Irish national record) of 14:14.45 by over five seconds, and moved him from 6th all-time to 3rd. He checks-in just behind Florian Wellbrock’s world record of 14:06.88 from Abu Dhabi in 2021 and the 14:08.06 clocked by Gregorio Paltrinieri in 2015.

Wiffen was notably under the world record pace through the 900m mark, before Wellbrock’s line slowly started to inch away. Wellbrock held 28-lows through the final 600, while Wiffen sat around the 28.6 range at the end of his swim.

Top 5 All-Time Performers:

  1. Florian Wellbrock (GER) – 14:06.88
  2. Gregorio Paltinieri (ITA) – 14:08.06
  3. Daniel Wiffen (IRL) – 14:09.11
  4. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) – 14:09.14
  5. Grant Hackett (AUS) – 14:10.10

3. Noe Ponti (SUI) – 50 Fly, 21.79

Noe Ponti completed his sweep of the butterfly events in Otopeni with a win in the 50 butterfly, where he touched in a final time of 21.79. The time undercut his previous best of 21.96, and rocketed him to the #3 performer of all-time in the event.

His time checks-in just 0.04 outside the world record, which is co-held by both Nicholas Santos (BRA) and Szebasztian Szabo (HUN) at 21.75.

Top 5 All-Time Performers:

  1. Nicholas Santos (BRA) & Szebasztian Szabo (HUN) – 21.75
  2. Noe Ponti (SUI) – 21.79
  3. Steffen Deibler (GER) – 21.80
  4. Roland Schoeman (RSA) – 21.87

2. Ben Proud (GBR) – 50 Free, 20.18

British sprint star Ben Proud touched the wall in a time of 20.18 to claim gold in the final of the men’s 50 freestyle, winning by 0.56 over co-silver medalists Florent Manaudou and Szebasztian Szabo. His time registered as an new European record, overtaking the 20.26 put on the books nearly a decade ago by Manaudou.

His swim vaulted him to the #2 performer in history, just sitting behind Caeleb Dressel’s 20.16 world record from 2020. Proud’s previous best time and British record rested at the 20.40 he produced at the ISL in 2021, so he undercut that mark by nearly a quarter of a second. Proud owns a lifetime best of 21.11 in the long course pool, so he is certainly one to watch out for on the road to Paris given the significant gains he made in Otopeni this past week.

Top 5 All-Time Performers:

  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 20.16
  2. Ben Proud (GBR) – 20.18
  3. Florent Manaudou (FRA) – 20.26
  4. Roland Schoeman (RSA) – 20.30
  5. Jordan Crooks (CAY) & Vladimir Morozov (RUS) – 20.31

1. Daniel Wiffen (IRL) – 800 Free, 7:20.46 WR

The only world record of the meet, let alone in short course meters for 2023, is the clear choice for swim of the meet. Wiffen demolished the world record in the 800 free on the final night of the competition, and in the final individual event of the entire meet. He stopped the clock in 7:20.46 to completely obliterate the previous mark of 7:23.42 from Grant Hackett, which was set just prior to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. This particular world record was legendary, as it was the longest standing world record left in the books. Now, the 400 freestyle relay from the 2008 Olympics takes over that spot.

The swim by Wiffen wasn’t just impressive because he broke the mark by nearly three seconds, but his approach during the race was just as impressive. He took the race out in a fast 3:40.91 before closing in 3:39.45. Entering the meet, Wiffen’s 400 personal best rested at 3:38.40. He nearly matched that time on the back half of his 800, but he did win the individual 400 earlier in the meet in a massive best time of 3:35.47.

With this swim, Wiffen swept the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyles in Otopeni – all in personal best times.

Top 5 All-Time Performers:

  1. Daniel Wiffen (IRL) – 7:20.46
  2. Grant Hackett (AUS) – 7:23.42
  3. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) – 7:25.73
  4. Henrik Christiansen (NOR) – 7:25.78
  5. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) – 7:27.94

Honorable Mentions:

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Old, so very old
4 months ago

I was on pool deck the day Grant Hackett set that 800m free WR, it was just a state-level meet and I was in a relay in the race after his.

No one’s expecting a WR at a meet like that, but I remember at about 600m or so the announcer jumped on the mike and told us he was on WR pace, which obviously got everyone interested! Then when he touched the wall and it was announced as a WR everyone went wild.

Crazy to think that was the longest standing WR, I feel old haha

Owlmando
4 months ago

Both the brits 200s thoo

AgentBond
Reply to  Owlmando
3 months ago

Richards, Rapsys and Guy effectively swam the same time.

Khachaturian
4 months ago

He can go sub 7:20 for sure

SHRKB8
4 months ago

No arguments from me. Fair assessment.

Just Keep Swimming
4 months ago

I love this pic of Wiffen. I suspect we’ll be seeing it again haha