Benedetta Pilato Inside Official World Junior Record To Get European S/C Party Off To Fast Start

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European Short-Course Championships
Glasgow, Day 1 Heats

World silver medallist Benedetta Pilato raced inside the standing global junior 50m breaststroke record and there was a championship mark for Kira Toussaint in the 100m backstroke in the opening session of the European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow.

There were also British records for Luke Greenbank in the 200m backstroke and the men’s 4x50m freestyle relay squad while Katinka Hosszu, Gabriele Detti and Simona Quadarella safely negotiated their respective heats at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

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Pilato won silver at the World Championships in July, sandwiching Lilly King and Yulia Efimova, after setting a new national record of 29.98secs in the heats.

The 14-year-old – who will turn 15 next month – touched in 29.62secs at Tollcross International Swimming Centre and although the event is rarely swum in race conditions, it is notable that she produces her best in competition.

Compatriot Martina Carraro led qualifiers in 29.53. Pilato’s time this morning was announced as a World junior record and remains that on the official start sheet for finals but she clocked a 29.41 Italian junior mark at the Nico Sappio meet last month, which, if ratified, would mean today’s announced world junior mark will not actually establish a new global standard.

She would be the first holder of the new junior short-course record, the target time for swimmers eligible to break the mark set at 29.86. FINA does not backdate such standards and therefore the efforts of Ruta Meilutyte and others will never count as World junior records. Meilutyte, the Olympic 100m champion at 15, clocked 28.81 in semi-finals at the 2014 World Short-Course Championships on her way to the global crown in 28.84.

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Toussaint clearly mixes well with the Tollcross water having won two relay silvers at the European (50m) Championships in 2018.

The Netherlands swimmer has been on a record-breaking tour de force in recent months and her time of 55.26 marked the 10th time she has lowered her national record this season.

Given that Hosszu will be absent from the backstroke events in Glasgow, a new champion will be crowned and Toussaint leads the field into tonight’s semi-final by 1.69secs, 0.23secs outside the Hungarian’s European record.

Maria Kamaneva, who won bronze last time out in Copenhagen, Simona Kubova and Georgia Davies all made it safely through.

Greenbank, the world bronze medallist, arrived in Glasgow with a personal best of 1:51.16 but he took that time apart in the heats, touching in 1:50.47 to qualify third for tonight’s final behind Christian Diener and Radoslaw Kawecki.

It also cut 0.26secs from the previous national record held by Chris Walker-Hebborn since August 2009 when the sport was at the height of its shiny-suit farce.

Of note was the failure of defending champion and world junior record holder Kliment Kolesnikov to progress automatically and is instead a reserve.

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Duncan Scott set a Scottish record of 21.25 as the British quartet lowered the 4x50m mark by 0.1secs to 1:25.31 as another 2009 record was consigned to history.

Russia led the way in 1:25.07 ahead of Poland in 1:25.21.

Hosszu opened her championships with the 400m individual medley and not surprisingly she progressed quickest in 4mins 26.75secs.

The 30-year-old had fellow Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos for company with the pair in the centre lanes, the latter breathing to her left and eyeballing the Olympic champion on the butterfly leg.

Hosszu’s underwater phases were notably stronger as she emerged half a body length ahead on the backstroke only for Jakabos to eat into her lead.

Hosszu – who is aiming for her third successive clean sweep of the individual medley events – extended her lead on the breaststroke before touching 1.12secs ahead of Jakabos.

Detti led an Italian one-two in 400m freestyle qualifying, going stroke for stroke with Matteo Ciampi for the first 350m before pulling away to touch in 3:38.16, 0.63secs ahead.

Danas Rapsys – he of the Gwangju twitch that elevated Sun Yang to 200m freestyle gold and Scott to joint bronze – was third in 3:39.11.

Quadarella won a medal of each colour in Gwangju – her tussle with Katie Ledecky over 800m particularly memorable and one where the American’s silent emotion spoke volumes.

The Italian went stroke for stroke with Ajna Kesely, the Hungarian who made three trips to the podium at last year’s European Championships, before going ahead at the 600-mark to lead the way in 8:13.02.

Tomo Zenimoto Hvas of Norway headed the men’s 100m butterfly with world 50m bronze medallist Oleg Kostin missing out as the third Russian home while Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands led the men’s 50m breaststroke heats.