European Championships, Day 3 Prelims: Noè Ponti Leads 100 Fly In 51.09 Ahead of Milak & Kos

Noe Ponti of Switzerland competes in the 50m Butterfly men Final during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 14th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Noè Ponti: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

European Championships, Day 3 Prelims: Noè Ponti Leads 100 Fly In 51.09 Ahead of Milak & Kos

Noè Ponti went 51.09 to head the 100 fly prelims with the promise of a real world-class tussle to come over two lengths at the European Aquatics Championships in Belgrade.

The race featured all three medallists from Roma 2022 in the form of Ponti, Kristof Milak and Jakub Majerski of Poland.

Ponti has found himself rubbing shoulders with the greats this year after rattling the all-time rankings in the first few months of 2024.

The Olympic bronze medallist went 50.16 over 100 fly at the Swiss National Championships in April to go sixth all-time and fourth among Europeans behind Milak’s continental record of 49.68, Milorad Cavic (49.95) and Maxime Grousset (50.14).

Noe Ponti of Switzerland competes in the 50m Butterfly Men Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 23rd, 2023. Noe Ponti placed 5th.

Noè Ponti: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

It followed his 22.65 effort in the 50 fly which also propelled him to sixth in the rankings.

Come Wednesday morning in the Serbian capital and Ponti looked on in the searing heat as the temperature gauge rose to 31 with 37 forecast for later in the day.

Hubert Kos headed the first seeded heat in 51.50 followed by Hungarian teammate and Olympic silver medallist Milak (51.23) before he took to the water in the sixth and final prelim.

Splitting 24.30/26.79, Ponti led six men on 51 into the Wednesday evening semis with Majerski (51.70), Simon Bucher (51.72) and Gal Cohen Groumi (51.94) joining the top trio.

Ponti told Swimming World:

“It wasn’t easy, I’d say. I think I swam pretty well but it wasn’t like very easy, I had to push.

“Also the weather is really, really hot.

“But it’s fine: I went 51.0 so I don’t know how much faster I can swim. Tonight it will be important to make the final and then tomorrow we’ll see.”

Women’s 400IM

Fifteen-year-old Vivien Jackl set a European junior record of 4:34.96 at the Hungarian nationals in April and on Wednesday booked lane four for this evening’s final in 4:39.30, the only woman inside 4:40.

Hungarian women filled the top three places in prelims with Zsuzsanna Jakabos (4:41.31) and defending champion Viktoria Farkas (4:43.34) following Jackl in the standings.

Here the two-per-nation rule – which means that only the two fastest swimmers from each country can progress from prelims – came into play with Jackl and 2022 silver medallist Jakabos booking the centre lanes, the latter also seeking a trip to her sixth Olympics.

Anastasia Gorbenko was next through in  4:43.84.

Women’s 200m Freestyle

Janja Segel led the way into the women’s 200 free semis, the Slovenian athlete the only woman to break 1:58 in 1:57.81 followed by Panna Ugrai of Hungary (1:58.07) and Barbora Seemanova, who returned after victory over 100m to post 1:58.58.

There were three Hungarians among the top six women but the two-per-nation rule saw Minna Abraham take the second spot in 1:58.83 and Nikolett Padar, world and European  junior champion, miss out in 1:58.96.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke

An entirely new podium will be crowned in the absence of 2022 medallists James Wilby, Matti Mattsson and Luca Pizzini.

Anton McKee of Iceland – silver medallist at the 2023 European Short-Course Championships in Otopeni – led the prelims in 2:11.96 ahead of Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches (2:12.32) who led six men on 2:12s.

Women’s 50m Backstroke

Danielle Hill

Danielle Hill: Photo Courtesy: Swim Ireland

Danielle Hill, who is off to her second Olympics in Paris next month, was the only woman inside 28 as she clocked 27.98.

Hill’s Swim Ireland teammate Lottie Cullen claimed the 16th and last place into the semis in 29.30.

Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay

Hungary led the way into the final in 3:42.04 ahead of Denmark (3:43.08) and Austria (3:43.33) with hosts Serbia claiming the eighth and final slot in 3:46.24.


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