European Championships: Analia Pigree Maintains French Backstroke Momentum With Title in 50 Distance

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European Championships: Analia Pigree Maintains French Backstroke Momentum With Title in 50 Distance

It’s turning out to be quite the week for backstroke specialists from France.

One day after Yohann Ndoye Brouard collected the gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke at the European Championships in Rome, Analia Pigree secured a continental title in the 50 backstroke. Pulling away down the stretch, the Frenchwoman got to the wall in a national record of 27.27 to easily dispatch the field. She was followed in the silver-medal position by Italy’s Silvia Scalia (27.53), with the bronze medal going to the Netherlands’ Maaike de Waard in 27.54. Fourth went to Dutchwoman Kira Toussaint, the defending champion. Toussaint posted a time of 27.73.

Pigree has enjoyed an impressive summer in the sprint backstroke, as she was the bronze medalist in June at the World Championships. In Rome, she sliced .13 off her best time from the World Champs and approached the wall with victory clearly within her grasp.

A 21-year-old, this summer marks the first time Pigree has reached an international podium in long-course competition. Last year, though, she was the silver medalist in the 50 backstroke and bronze medalist in the 100 backstroke at the European Short Course Championships.

“I’m absolutely happy,” Pigree said. “I’m in shock. This is my best time. I wanted to take the first place and I did what I had to do. I beat the French record. When I was preparing, I had good feelings and I said: ‘Why not?’ It’s my first long-course championships and my first medal, and this gives me strong motivation to carry on.”

Pigree will now turn her attention to the 100 backstroke, where she is seeded ninth. But based on her performance in the 50 backstroke and continual progress, a spot on the podium in the longer event is not unlikely.

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