Each day through August 17, Swimming Worldâ€™s Jeff Commings and David Rieder will offer medal predictions in the 19 swimming events on tap at the European Championships, which begins August 18 in Berlin, Germany. We invite you to offer your picks in our comments section below!
Commentary by Jeff Commings
PHOENIX, Arizona, August 1. AT the last fully-attended European long course championships, Camille Lacourt nearly broke the 100 backstroke world record in 2010 with a 52.11. Unfortunately, the Frenchman is injured and wonâ€™t be able to reach those heights this year.
In his place, we have fellow Frenchman Jeremy Stravius, the co-world champion in 2011 and the world championship bronze medalist in 2013. Outside of Stravius, Radoslaw Kawecki could make an attempt to break into the 100 backstroke medals. The Pole is the clear favorite in the 200 back, but this could mark a big opportunity to work his way into the world sprinting scene after finishing ninth at last yearâ€™s worlds in the 100 back.
As is the case in many of these predictions, we donâ€™t know yet who will attend from Great Britain. Chris Walker-Hebborn won the 100 back at the Commonwealth Games, and his 53.12 from Glasgow might put him in the silver medal position â€“ or gold, if Stravius is off his game.
Menâ€™s 100 backstroke medal predictions:
Gold Jeremy Stravius, France
Silver: Radoslaw Kawecki, Poland
Bronze: Christopher Ciccarese, Italy
Could we see a 58-second swim at the European championships in the womenâ€™s 100 backstroke? If Mie Nielsen of Denmark is on her game, the Danish teen could become one of the youngest women under the 59-second barrier. The 17-year-old posted a 59.36 this spring, and she will be pushed by Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and Russian Daria Ustinova. If Georgia Davies shows up at the meet, the British sprinter could be a fourth swimmer under 1:00. That shows the major leap forward backstroke is making when a 59-second swim does not make the podium.
Womenâ€™s 100 backstroke medal predictions:
Gold: Mie Nielsen, Denmark
Silver: Daria Ustinova, Russia
Bronze: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary
Check out our previous medal predictions for the European championships!