“Tears In One of My Eyes, Smiling in the Other” — Best Quotes from Euros Day 4


Hungarian star Kristof Milak described his bittersweet feelings about his 100 butterfly final / 200 freestyle semifinal / 4×100 free relay final triple completed in just over an hour on Sunday — the results of which were a gold medal, missed final, and silver medal, respectively. The 200 fly world record holder has astronomically high standards for himself, but he still couldn’t help but feel satisfied after surging past Great Britain’s Ed Mildred on the final leg of the 4×100 freestyle relay to secure silver for Hungary (3:12.43). 

“Tears in one of my eyes, smiling in the other,” Milak said. “I’m still a bit upset because of the 200 free, where my duel will not happen with David (Popovici). I could have swum way better than today in the semis, minutes after the 100 fly final. What makes me happy is this relay silver. The guys put me in a great position, while catching the Italians was impossible, I could out-touch the Brit at the wall to take the second place and that’s a great end for this extremely exhausting day.”

After revealing he dealt with bronchitis following his bout with COVID-19 in late June, Noe Ponti dedicated his 100 fly silver medal (50.87) to the late Stefano Nurra

“I’m very happy with this medal, the latest times have been difficult because of getting Covid. It took a lot of time to recover, got bronchitis as well. I’m very happy and I want to dedicate this medal to Stefano Nurra, the coach whom I was very close to and who worked with me very hard over the years.”

Poland’s Jakub Majerski, the 100 fly bronze medalist (51.22), began to make a generalization about swimmers going slightly slower after the Olympics before catching himself. Nowadays, there’s a Romanian exception to most swimming rules, and his name is David Popovici.

“I’m pretty happy, this my best time of the season. After the Olympics every swimmer goes a bit slower, well, except for Popovici… I’m happy with this result, this is my first long-course medal.”

James Wilby didn’t know if he wanted to continue swimming after the Tokyo Olympics. But with a huge 100 breaststroke victory at the Commonwealth Games last month and a comeback win from lane 8 in Sunday’s 200 breast final, the 28-year-old Brit has found international success again thanks to a new perspective on the sport. 

“Looking back on the past 12 months, it’s been something else — 12 months pretty much to the day,” Wilby said. “I’m really glad I kept on going. (I have a) completely different outlook on swimming now as well. It’s bringing me some good performances and some medals. It’s not always about the times, it’s been the case like that for a couple times this season, but I’m absolutely loving the racing and the performances that are coming.”

Matti Mattson talked about making Finnish history with his silver medal in 200 breast (2:09.40).

“I’m happy with this silver medal but I was expecting gold,” Mattson said. “This is amazing as I’m the third Finn to get medals in all three big events, at the Olympics, the Worlds and the European Championships.”

With three relays already under her belt this week, Marrit Steenbergen shocked herself with a personal-best 1:56.36 to win the women’s 200 free final. 

“It’s a tough week for me, swimming almost all day, all night,” Steenbergen said. “I cannot believe that I swam a personal best in this race, so I cannot describe properly my feelings right now. It was an amazing race, a crazy one, very fast with an amazing swim. I’m extremely happy, this is a PB and a gold, what else do you need?”

British sprint star Tom Dean discussed why he’s prioritizing relays at the tail end of an exceptionally busy summer of swimming. And yes, he’s been counting his races since Worlds. 

“Our majors were Worlds and Commies,” Dean said. “This is my 31st or 32nd international race in the space of 2 ½ months. It’s insane, it’s unheard of. So I always came in with the mindset of leaning toward just doing the relays and the individuals taking a step back. I did what I wanted to this summer in individuals, and coming off the high of the Commonwealth Games — the emotions, the physical exertion, achieving that big silver medal — it was always going to be a tough ask. So to get that hand on the wall for a bronze medal is spot on.”

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About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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