2022 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
- August 11th – August 17th (pool swimming)
- Parco Del Foro Italico, Rome, Italy
- LCM (50m)
- Live Results
Most major international meets are not wholly a test of who is ‘the best’ in any given week of competition. In many cases, they are a test of who is ‘the best’ in any given week of competition among those who were the best during their countries’ unique selection process.
The European Championships, however, have a relatively-unique entry system that provides a balance between limiting a single country’s ability to monopolize spots in finals, and allowing countries the flexibility to not whittle-off a potential medalist during the selection process.
At European Championship meets, a country can enter up to four individual swimmers into each event. Only two of those four, however, can progress out of the prelims (be that to semi-finals or finals, depending on the event).
This system is more plausible for a European meet than most thanks in part to the relatively-affordable costs of intercontinental travel in Europe. Countries can justify the cost of bringing extra athletes, even knowing some of them won’t advance out of preliminary rounds.
Some will choose to focus on the negative of this selection policy – in theory, the 3rd-fastest swimmer in prelims could be knocked out already. We’ve seen that happen many times, including, for example, in the men’s 200 fly in 2018, where Hungary went 1-2-3-5 in prelims. This means that someone who proved in prelims that they were the 3rd or 4th or 5th best performer in the building that day won’t get a chance to push through for a medal.
But instead I’ll focus on the positive outcome. All four of those Hungarian men (Kristof Milak, Tamas Kenderesi, Bence Biczo, and Laszlo Cseh) had their opportunity to show that they were one of their country’s top two swimmers on August 4, 2018, rather than having to fight to do so during the country’s selection process.
In 2022, the host country of Italy has taken significant advantage of this selection policy, entering four swimmers in almost every individual event (with the women’s distance races being a notable exception).
They are one of a number of countries that will likely have to deal with leaving medal contenders in the preliminary rounds. Here are a few of the most notable examples:
- Italian men in the 400 and 800 freestyle – In the 400 free, Italy has high seeds in Marco de Tullio (#4), Gabriele Detti (#5), Lorenzo Galossi (#8), and Matteo Ciampi (#9). With Galossi being so young, having just turned 16 in May, there’s a big potential for a jump forward. That’s in addition to the 2016 champion Gabriele Detti. The competition gets even stiffer in the 800 free, where Italy has the #3, #5, and #6 seeds, including Gregorio Paltrinieri.
- The Italian women’s breaststroke races are a bloodbath at domestic qualifying competitions, but they all get a shot at the European Championships. At the last version in 2020, the Italian women were 1-2-4 in prelims of the 100 breaststroke. This year, Arianna Castiglioni is the #2 seed, Benedetta Pilato is the #3 seed, and Martina Carraro is the #4 seed.
- The Italian men have three of the top eight seeds in the 100 freestyle. Alessandro Miressi is the #2 seed, Thomas Ceccon is the #5 seed, and Lorenzo Zazzeri is the #7 seed. All are seeded sub-48, and the Italian won the World Championship in June in the 400 free relay.
- The Italian men also have three of the top six seeds in the 50 breaststroke (and four of the top nine), led by top-seeded Nicolo Martinenghi.
- Sweden has the #1 seed (Sarah Sjostrom), Sara Junevik (#5 seed), and Louise Hansson (#8 seed) in the women’s 50 fly, and Hansson is underseeded in the event compared to her capability.
- The Dutch women’s sprint group isn’t what it was in its heyday c. 2012, but it’s still very deep. They have the #6, #6, #8, and #23 seeds in the 50 free at this week’s meet, led by Tessa Giele and Valerie van Roon.
- The Hungarian women have three of the top six seeds in the 400 IM. The top seed is Katinka Hosszu, Viktoria Farkas is the #3 seed, and Zsu Jakaobos is the #6 seed. With the top two seeds (Hosszu and Mireia Belmonte of Spain) on questionable form, this race is wide open.
- An under-the-radar conflict is the men’s 200 backstroke and France. They have the #5 seed Mewen Tomac, the #7 seed Yohann Ndoye Brouard, and the #8 seed Antoine Herlem.
The European Championships employ semi-final rounds in all races 200 meters and shorter. The event runs from August 11-21, 2022 in Rome, Italy. The pool swimming portion runs from August 11-17 at the Foro Italico.