PHOENIX, Arizona, November 21. FOR citizens of the United States, tomorrow marks the one day a year to eat themselves silly on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. But across the pond, the European Short Course Swimming Championships will just be kicking off in Chartres, France.
The meet runs from Thursday, November 22 through Sunday, November 25 and play host to 425 swimmers from 35 European Swimming Federations. Host nation France, who placed third in the swimming medal rankings at the London 2012 Olympics behind the US and China, will have a strong showing at the event. They have the largest number of entrants (45), lead by recent world-record breaking swimmers Camille Muffat and Yannick Agnel.
Muffat, the London Olympic gold medalist in the women's 400 freestyle and silver medalist in the 200 freestyle, enters the meet seeded considerably faster than her nearest competition in her signature freestyle events. However, she is conspicuously absent from the 800 freestyle in the heat sheets, despite setting a new short course world record in the event at last week's French short course nationals.
Instead, 2012 women's World Cup Circuit champion Katinka Hosszu, of Hungary, will battle top seed Lotte Friis, of Denmark, for the 800 freestyle title. Hosszu won a number of World Cup gold medals from victories in the 800 SCM freestyle over the course of the circuit, but it is by no means her signature event. Friis, meanwhile, is a talented distance swimmer, having captured bronze in the 800 LCM freestyle at the Beijing Olympics and silver in the event at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai. In addition to the 800 freestyle, Hosszu will race the 200 and 400 freestyle, 200 butterfly, and 100, 200 and 400 Individual Medleys.
Agnel broke Paul Biedermann's 400 freestyle world record last week at the French Short Course Nationals. It was a remarkable feat, especially considering he is coming off of a gold medal in London in the men's 200 meter freestyle. Agnel is entered in the 100, 200, and 400 freestyle at the European Championships.
A new addition to the meet are two mixed relay events, the 4×50 meter freestyle and 4×50 meter medley. Each relay must consist of two male and two female swimmers, but participants may swim in any order.
At the conclusion of the meet, the European Swimming Federation will award prize money to the top-three overall finishers on the men's and women's side, as well as to an elected “Newcomer of the Year.”
Check out the preliminary heat sheets for the European Short Course Swimming Championships below: