Each day through August 17, Swimming World’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, July 30. THE final of the men’s 400 IM at the European championships will be missing the best swimmer Europe has ever produced in the event, but Hungary still has an opportunity to win both of the longer individual medley events in Berlin.
Laszlo Cseh will not contest the 400 IM after winning the event at the past five European championships. It’s not too shocking to see the Hungaran sitting out the event, since he hasn’t swum it internationally since placing ninth in the event at the 2012 Olympics. That leaves the door open for a new European champion, and it could be countryman David Verraszto.
Not so fast, though. If Daniel Wallace chooses to swim at the European championships, he’ll easily be the gold medal favorite after his 4:11.04 from last week’s Commonwealth Games. Wallace might not pass up the chance for another crack at 4:10, which would put him in some rare company in the textile suit rankings. Roberto Pavoni could be another British swimmer who could spoil Verraszto’s plans for gold, if he also elects to represent Great Britain in Berlin.
Federico Turrini of Italy and Yannick Lebherz of Germany posted times in the 4:14 range this year, but are expected to be a bit faster. At last year’s worlds, the two were evenly matched, with Turrini posting a 4:15.96 to Lebherz’s 4:16.23. We’ll keep the Brits out of the medal conversation for now, but be advised that should Wallace announce his intentions to race at Europeans, everyone will have to jump down a step on the medal podium. And if Pavoni is on the roster, he’ll give the Italian and the German a big race.
Men’s 400 individual medley medal prediction:
Gold: David Verraszto, Hungary
Silver: Yannick Lebherz, Germany
Bronze: Federico Turrini, Italy
Though Katinka Hosszu is the reigning world and European champion, don’t immediately assume she’s got a clear path to gold in the 400 IM. Spain’s Mireia Belmonte has been impressive so far this year and has the Iron Lady in her sights. Belmonte was less than a second behind Hosszu in the 400 IM final last year in Barcelona, and the race in Berlin could be just as close, if not closer. If Hosszu doesn’t burn too much energy chasing after a sub-4:30 swim, she will be able to hold off Belmonte in the final 100 meters, which is where the Spaniard excels.
As is the case in the men’s event, a Brit could spoil the party. That would be Hannah Miley in this instance, who won this event in 2010. After a very strong swim at Commonwealths, Miley might feel content to call it a season and begin prep for next year’s world championships. But wouldn’t it be great to see Miley, Hosszu and Belmonte battle it out for the gold medal? Chances are the race would be decided among these three by less than a second.
Aimee Willmott, who also had a great 400 IM in Glasgow, could be a contender. Beyond Willmott, the rest of the continent falls far back. Too bad Zsuzsanna Jakabos of Hungary is not swimming this event in Berlin. If the Brits don’t show up, she could have a clear path to at least the bronze medal.
Women’s 400 individual medley predictions:
Gold: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary
Silver: Mireia Belmonte, Spain
Bronze: Stefania Pirozzi, Italy
Check out our previous medal predictions for the European championships!