Photo by Pia Ellegaard Mortensen
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 Reaction Time comments section below!
Commentary by David Rieder
IRVINE, California, August 6. THE top six finishers in the men’s 200 breast at last year’s World Championships all hailed from the continent of Europe, setting up an interesting and likely wide open final in Berlin. Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta was dominant in Barcelona, winning his third straight world title ahead of Germany’s Marco Koch and Finland’s Matti Mattsson, the latter of whom came from nowhere to emerge on the podium. However, Gyurta will not be swimming the event this year, instead choosing to focus on the 50 and 100 breast events.
Meanwhile, a trio of Britons, including Ross Murdoch, Andrew Willis and Adam Peaty, will battle for just two spots in the final. The meet format specifies no limit to the number of athletes per country that can swim in prelims, but only two can advance beyond that; whoever does make the cut will be among the favorites in the final. Murdoch was the winner of the event in Glasgow last month, and Peaty has carried the most momentum as of late, taking down Christian Sprenger in the 100 breast at the Games. The field also includes Russia’s Viatcheslav Sinkevich, who finished sixth at last year’s Worlds.
Men’s 200 breast medal predictions
Gold: Ross Murdoch, Great Britain
Silver: Marco Koch, Germany
Bronze: Viatcheslav Sinkevich, Russia
Unlike the competitive race expected in the men’s event, Rikke Moeller Pedersen will enter as the overwhelming favorite in the women’s event. She set the still-standing world record in the event with a 2:19.11 in the semi-finals of the World Championships last year, but Yuliya Efimova beat Pedersen to the wall in the final with a time of 2:19.41. The European final would set up as a re-match between the two if not for Efimova’s doping suspension.
In the absence of the Russian who also won the 50 breast at Worlds last summer, the event could be one of the least competitive of the meet, and it would not be that surprising to see Pedersen win the final by five or even six seconds over the silver medalist. Great Britain’s Sophie Taylor and Molly Renshaw are tied for tenth in the world at 2:24.46, while Ukraine’s Victoria Solnceva and Spain’s Marina Garcia Urzainqui took fifth and sixth, respectively, in the final in Barcelona. Another Spaniard, Jessica Vall Montero, ranks eighth in the world this year at 2:23.96.
Women’s 200 breast medal predictions
Gold : Rikke Moeller Pedersen, Denmark
Silver: Marina Garcia Urzainqui, Spain
Bronze: Sophie Taylor, Great Britain
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Daniel Gyurta was competing in the 200 breaststroke.