2019 European Junior Swimming Championships Finals Day 3: Matthew Richards Swims 48.8 100 Free

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Matthew Richards; Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / deepbluemedia

The 2019 European Junior Swimming Championships kicked off its third day of competition this afternoon, but its athletes showed no signs of fatigue. Reconvening in Kazan for another intracontinental battle, Europe’s best young talent continued to turn heads on the world stage just in time for the World Championships. Having been quite the precursor, this junior meet is anything but amateur, as the next generation of the sport is quickly establishing their dominance.

Italy’s Giulia Salin is one of the more notable, as she continues to dominate distance freestyle events while posting times that would rival most seasoned veterans in international competition.

With a backend surge, Russia left its mark on the evening due to impressive performances from Vladislav Gerasimenko in the 50 breast and both its men’s and women’s relays. Sweeping those events with ease, the country will enter tomorrow’s penultimate day of competition as a frontrunner.

Men’s 200 Fly

Igor Troyanovs’kyy of the Ukraine claimed a decisive victory in the men’s 200 fly with a 1:57.86, taking down Hungary’s Mark Torok Dominik (1:58.79) for the win. Adam Hloben of the Czech Republic barely conceded silver, clocking in at 1:58.90 to mark the last man under 2:00.

Edward Mildred of Britain headed the second wave with a 2:00.23, edging out Spain’s Ferran Sire Figueras (2:00.31) to claim a spot inside the top five. Germany’s Bjoern Kammann put up a 2:00.81 of his own, as the Czech Republic’s Lunak Sebastian (2:01.21) and Italy’s Michele Sassi (2:01.86) filled out the loaded heat.

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Women’s 200 Breast

Russia’s Evgeniia Chikunova was relentless in the women’s 200 breast, surging to an early lead over her compatriot Anastasia Makarova (2:26.06) for the win with a time of 2:23.06. Apart from Chikunova’s breakout performance, it was a tightly packed heat, as Kayla Van Der Merwe (2:26.55) from Britain sought a come-from-behind victory for the silver, but fell half a second short. Finland’s Laura Lahtinen faced a similar fate, crashing the pads with a 2:26.89 for fourth ahead of Justine Delmas (2:27.34) from France.

Denmark managed to break into a championship final with Thea Blomsterberg’s consistent performances, as she surged to a 2:28.77 to put her country on the board; while Hungary’s Eszter Bekesi and Belgium’s Josephine Dumont rounded out the heat with times of 2:28.88 and 2:31.07, respectively.

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Men’s 100 Free

British sprinting stalwart Matthew Richards established his dominance in the men’s 100 free, surging home in a 23.72 to post a 48.88 for the championship. Sweden’s Robin Hanson chased him, clocking in at 49.05 himself to gain the narrow advantage over Vladyslav Bukhov (49.25) from the Ukraine.

Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic put forth an impressive performance of his own, dropping a 49.51 for fourth, while Italy’s Stefano Nicetto (49.56) had a clean finish to break into the top five. Poland’s sole representative in the event, Filip Orlicz, failed to disappoint, as he turned in an impressive 49.85 to tally more points for his country. Britain’s Jacob Whittle (50.01) and Russia’s Aleksandr Shchegolev (51.00) posted impressive times of their own from the outer lanes.

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Men’s 200 IM

In one of the most climactic races of the evening, Greece’s Apostolos Papastamos (1:59.93) held off Israel’s Ron Polonsky (1:59.98) in the final lap of the men’s 200 IM, just long enough to get a fingertip on the wall first with five hundredths between them. Israel claimed the final spot on the podium as well, as Gal Cohen Groumi touched in at 2:00.48 for third, gaining a healthy advantage over Leon Marchand (2:01.14) of France. Switzerland’s Noe Ponti turned in an impressive 2:01.17 himself, barely conceding fourth in his quest to fend off Danil Zaytsev (2:02.58) from Russia. France’s Clement Bidard dropped an impressive final split for a time of 2:02.76, as Russia’s Isaev Sergel (2:03.44) rounded out the heat.

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Women’s 50 Back

Russia’s Daria Vaskina was the only woman under 28.00 in the women’s 50 back, as she surged to a 27.82 finish for an easy victory. She was followed by Israel’s Anastasya Gorbenko, whose 28.21 was good enough for second. Costanza Cocconcelli of Italy furthered her already impressive individual schedule with a 28.55 for bronze, edging out Russia’s Marino Kravchenko (28.57) and her compatriot, Erika Francesca Gaetani (28.66).

Portugal claimed some points after Rafaela Gomes Azevedo’s 28.69 landed her at sixth, while Great Britain’s Medi Harris and Germany’s Lena Riedemann continued to impress with times of 28.82 and 28.95, respectively.

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Men’s 50 Breast

Vladislav Gerasimenko topped off Russia’s monopoly of the breaststroke events, as he surged to a 27.77 for top honors. Britain’s Archie Goodburn followed close behind, clocking in at 27.89 to leave Greece’s Arkadios-Geor Aspougalis (28.16)  and the Netherlands’ Caspar Corbeau (28.16) with the bronze.

Aleksandr Zhigalov of Russia managed to land in the top five with his time of 28.20, as he stroked in to a clean finish to edge out Carl Aitkaci (28.39) of France. Demirkan Demir (28.45) of Turkey went stroke for stroke with Britain’s Oliver Taverner (28.46) for a shot at seventh, as the two turned in nearly identical races to finish off the heat.

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Women’s 1500 Free

Giulia Salin continues to force her name on the scene with impressive performances across the board, and today was no exception. Leaving the pack to post a 16:13.59 for the win, Salin made the race all her own despite attaining an immediate lead. Turkey’s Beril Boecekler made the push for second, clocking in at 16:21.39 while fending off Viktor Mihalyvari Farkas (16:26.03) from Hungary. Spain’s Maria Claro Martinez showcased her versatility with a 16:38.22 swim worthy of fourth, followed by Russia’s Yana Kurtseva (16:40.49) and her compatriot Margarita Varulnikova (16:42.73). Britain’s Michealla Glenister and Lou-Anne Barniet of France finished their 30 laps with times of 16:50.68 ad 16:51.54, respectively.

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Men’s 800 Free Relay

Russia (7:16.49) turned heads in the men’s 800 free relay, as its unstoppable quartet of Aleksandr Shchegolev, Aleksandr Egorov, Egor Pavlov, and Nikita Danilov broke away from the pack courtesy of Egorov’s stellar 1:48.33 split. The win didn’t come easily, as Germany (7:18.31) vied for the title with an impressive performance of its own with its lethal combination of Lukas Maetens, Sven Schwarz, Danny Schmidt, and Rafael Miroslaw. Hungary (7:21.61) forced its name back on the scene by claiming a spot in the top three, as Gabor Zombori, Botond Ulrich, Balint Pap, and Milan Fabian combined efforts for a medal-worthy swim.

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Women’s 400 Medley Relay

Russia (4:01.83) was not prepared to leave the natatorium without another win, as Daria Vaskina, Anastasia Makarova, Aleksandra Sabitova, and Ekaterina Nikonova combined their talents to seize a decisive victory in the women’s 400 medley relay. The race was on for the silver, as Italy’s  Erika Francesca Gaetani, Benedetta Pilato, Helena Biasibetti, and Costanza Cocconcelli (4:05.66) traded leads with Britain’s team of Pia Murray, Kayla Van der Merwe, Maisie Elliott, and Evelyn Davis (4:06.48) until the final lap, where Cocconcelli pulled out the win for second in true form.

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