European Championships, Day 6 Finals: Anastasia Gorbenko Becomes First Israeli Woman To Win European Title

Anastasia Gorbenko 2021 European Championships
Anastasia Gorbenko: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

European Championships, Day 6 Finals: Anastasia Gorbenko Becomes First Israeli Woman To Win European Title

Anastasia Gorbenko became the first Israeli woman to win a European title with 200IM gold in Budapest to end Katinka Hosszu’s winning run of five straight titles.

The 17-year-old drew on to the shoulder of leader Abbie Wood on the final metres to win by 0.04 in 2:09.99 ahead of the Briton with Olympic champion Hosszu in third.

It was her first medal in senior waters after taking silver at the 2019 European Junior Championships a year after becoming Youth Olympic champion.

Femke Heemskerk won the 100 free to claim her first individual European title in 53.05 ahead of Marie Wattel and Anna Hopkin.

Mykhaylo Romanchuk added the 800 free title to his 1500 gold when he made a move on the penultimate length and overhauled leader Gregorio Paltrinieri to touch in 7:42.61 ahead of the European record holder who led home an Italian two-three with Gabriele Detti.

Paltrinieri concluded the competition with two silver medals in the pool to add to his three open water titles and although he will compete in both in Tokyo, the schedule is less intense and in a different order with the pool coming before the marathon swim.

Evgeny Rylov out-touched Luke Greenbank to defend his 200 backstroke title in 1:56.46 with Roman Mityukov in third.

Adam Peaty won his fourth straight 50 breaststroke title with his victory in 26.21 followed by a wag of the finger ahead of Ilya Shymanovich and Nicolo Martinenghi.

It was the seventh-fastest time in history for the Briton who now holds nine of the top 10 and who set the world record of 25.95 at the 2017 worlds held in the same Duna Arena pool.

Great Britain – anchored by Freya Anderson – won the mixed 4×100 free in 3:22.07,matching the championship record, ahead of the Netherlands and Italy.

Britain go into the final day top of the medal with nine golds among an overall total of 20 ahead of Russia who have eight titles and a total of 17 medals.

Gorbenko Makes History; Hosszu Gold Run Ends

Gorbenko doesn’t turn 18 until 3 August, two days after the conclusion of the swimming programme in Tokyo.

She qualified fastest for the final and was never outside the top two, turning second at 150, 0.31 behind Wood.

Gorbenko ate into the Briton’s lead and with Wood tiring, the Israeli just beat her to the touch by 0.04.

Wood stopped the clock in 2:10.03 with Hosszu third in 2:10.12, the Hungarian in completely unfamiliar territory, gold the only medal she had previously won in this event in five straight championships.

GORBENKO Anastasia ISR Israel WOMEN - 200M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - FINAL Swimming Budapest - Hungary 22/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto


“What an incredible feeling, I can believe it! This is my new personal best.

“I didn’t believe that I could do it or be as successful in the senior competition as a Youth Olympic champion.

“I still can’t believe this and I’m trying to grasp the whole thing. This is all so new to me!”

It was also Wood’s first trip to an individual podium and she said:

“I’m really happy with this medal, this my first European podium as an individual.

“It’s been a hard and intense week for all of team GB but obviously, the results show that we are going to do good in the summer.

“It’s just been race after race, I’m trying to get as much experience as possible.”

Hosszu now has a medal of each colour following 400IM gold and 200 fly silver and was insistent she is where she needs to be ahead of her Olympic defence, saying:

“I don’t really care about stats, there is no such thing that someone is unbeaten as you win races and lose races, no matter of the event.

“If I said I was dissatisfied with my 200m fly because I didn’t feel I gave everything, then now I have to say that this was a good swim.

“I came from a pretty hard training camp so I lack the speed the others had today but I’m not worrying.

“I can tell you I’m standing right now exactly there where I have to be at this stage, I have time to work hard and there are a lot more races ahead which is the most important part of the preparations.”

Femke Heemskerk Takes First Individual Title At 33

Femke Heemskerk gold 2021 European Championships

Photo Courtesy:

Wattel had booked lane four in 53.54 sandwiched between Netherlands duo Heemskerk and Ranomi Kromowidjojo.

But it was Hopkin who led at the turn in 25.56 – 0.11 ahead of Heemskerk – but the Dutchwoman came back on the second 50 in 27.38 to upgrade her silver from 2018.

Wattel was seventh at halfway but a second 50 of 27.34 propelled her to silver in 53.32 with Hopkin winning bronze in 53.43, 0.01 ahead of 2012 Olympic champion Kromowidjojo.

Heemskerk, who will compete in Tokyo aged 33, had previously won four silver and three bronze medals over 100 and 200 free and was overcome with emotion after finally reaching the top step of the podium.

She said:

“I’m crying, yes. This is my first individual gold medal.

“I was working a lot for this event. I’m the oldest in this field but I have a motto: never give up!”

Her joy contrasted with Wattel who said:

“I’m a little bit disappointed, I thought I could win this gold, but I feel tired as this week goes along.

“To get two titles would have been the dream but it was just a bit too complicated.

“I just need to be a little more patient with myself, it’s already good to get this time multiple occasions this year, so now I just go back to training and work harder to get under the 53sec mark.”

It was also a first individual medal for Hopkin and she said:

“I’m so,so happy, this is my first individual international medal.

“The time is not far from my personal best which is 53.2. I feel great but now I have to run because I have a relay to swim.”

Evgeny Rylov Takes Victory At The Touch For Back-To-Back Titles

Evgeny Rylov 2021 European Championships

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Greenbank twice lowered the British record in qualifying to lead the semis in 1:54.43 ahead of world champion Rylov.

Greenbank took over the lead on the second 50, holding it until the final metre when the two-time world champion just got his hand to the wall first.

Greenbank, the world bronze medallist, was second in 1:54.62, 0.16 behind the Russian, with Mityukov some way back in 1:56.33.


Rylov said:

“I’m satisfied with this result. I was able to keep my focus in the race so it was good.

“I wanted to show my best but now it’s quite difficult because we are training a lot for the Olympics.”

The Briton, who is coached by Mel Marshall at the National Centre Loughborough, didn’t even reach the final at Glasgow 2018 and neither was he selected for England’s 4×100 relay squad.

It was a low for the swimmer who had found success in junior international waters but whose transition had entered a turbulent time after leaving hometown club Cockermouth where he had thrived under coach Sean Balmer.

So too was Marshall frustrated and she sought input from Balmer as well as collaborating with a team of physiologists and sports scientists.

Gold Medal RYLOV Evgeny RUS Russia 200m Backstroke Men Medal Swimming Budapest - Hungary 22/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

There was just one request from Marshall of Greenbank – that he have faith in her as she set about devising a new programme.

He did and come 2019 the rewards started to emerge with individual bronze and medley relay gold in Gwangju.

Now he has an individual silver although there was a hint of mixed emotions as he said:

“It was a really difficult race. I swam 1:54 twice in two days which is better than what I had expected.

“Yet, I was so close, to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed, but I suffered an ankle injury between the British nationals and coming here and my only goal was to give my best.

“Ultimately, this exceeded my expectations so I’m really, really happy.”

Romanchuk Wins Distance Double

Paltrinieri and Detti traded the lead in the early stages with defending champion Romanchuk in close attendance.

Olympic champion Paltrinieri led at 400, 0.64 ahead of the Ukrainian although the men’s strokes were very different – the Italian choppier and Romanchuk smooth and efficient.

It was the same order with 100 to go with Paltrinieri 0.37 ahead but Romanchuk made his move and with 50 to go held a 0.29 lead.

ROMANCHUK Mykhaylo UKR 1500 Freestyle Men Final Gold Medal Swimming Budapest - Hungary 19/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Paltrinieri dug in and tried to come back but Romanchuk touched first and hauled himself on the lane rope, beating the water with his hands in Detti’s lane.

Paltrinieri stopped the clock at 7:43.62 with his fellow Italian home in 7:46.10.

Romanchuk had been without his coach who was recovering after contracting the coronavirus and he said:

“I’m very happy, my first target was this 800m. I had to train three weeks without my coach because he was sick with Covid, so he sent me the training plan by e-mail but it was really hard to train alone.

“So I’m really happy with my time and my race and now we can start preparing for the Olympics.”

Paltrinieri concluded a marathon programme with three golds and two silvers and was completely fatigued.

Mykhaylo Romanchuk Gregorio Paltrinieri 2021 European

Mykhaylo Romanchuk & Gregorio Paltrinieri: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

He said:

“I’m very satisfied. The last two weeks have been full of races and obligations like the open water races and the two events here and I’m very tired.

“I’m extremely happy with my time which is a lot better than my qualifying time.

“This means that I’m continuing to grow. Now I do some hard training at altitude in the mountains and then comes Tokyo.”

For Detti, bronze came as welcome relief following his fourth place in the 400.

“I’m happy to be on the podium again, especially after what happened on Monday night (in the 400m).

“I’m working a lot now, I’m not in my best condition, so I’m satisfied with the medal and the time, which is fine at this stage.”

Adam Peaty Dashes To Fourth Straight Title

Peaty headed the semis in 26.38, 0.09 ahead of Shymanovich who the Briton had accused of illegal fly kicks at the ISL in the same Duna Arena pool, saying: “It’s a short-term win maybe but I think it’s kind of disgusting really to cheat in any way.” Read more here.

There was little interaction between the two in adjacent lanes following the semi and they lined up alongside each other in the final.

Adam Peaty Tattoo European Championships

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Shymanovich and Martinenghi were ahead of Peaty in the opening metres but the Briton accelerated and ultimately secured a comfortably, spotting the touch perfectly.

Shymanovich clocked 26.55 with Martinenghi touching in 26.68.

Peaty, who claimed his third gold of the meet so far with the men’s medley relay to come, wasn’t rested and sported a moustache.

For him it was all about son George, who was born in September 2020, and his desire to be an inspiration as a father,

He said:

“I’m pretty happy, it was almost perfect execution.

“If I can do these times in the 50m, it looks very promising for my other races and for the future.

“Obviously, my life has changed a lot since I became a dad.

“Basically, he is my sole motivation now and I want to be the best inspiration I can be for him. I wanted to show that you can even give your best when the times are tough.”

Shymanovich said:

“I’m very happy because this is my first medal in a long-course European Championships.

“I want to say thank to my family and I want to dedicate this medal to my first coach because I know that she is extremely happy now. I don’t have enough words to be grateful for everyone who supported me.”

Martinenghi had slightly-mixed feelings, saying:

“I’m sort of satisfied but a little bit less with time.

“However, given that this is my first individual medal at senior level, I’m very happy and satisfied at the end.

“I have one more race tomorrow, it’s relay.”

Anderson Is Golden Anchor For Fifth Time

Britain have won relay medals galore in Budapest with gold in the women’s 4×100 and 4×200 free as well as the mixed medley relay and mixed 4×200 free – all of them anchored by Anderson.

The men had taken silvers in the 4×100 free and 4×200 free and come Saturday, they topped the podium once more.

It was Italy – led off by Alessandro Miressi in 47.63 – who were ahead going into the final leg as Federica Pellegrini handed over to Silvia Di Pietro with Hopkin sending Anderson in to overhaul a 0.39 deficit.

She eased past the Italian and although Heemskerk was coming like a steam train with a leg of 51.73, victory was Britain’s as they matched the championship record set by France in Glasgow.


Duncan Scott: 48.20

Tom Dean: 48.11

Anna Hopkin: 52.88

Freya Anderson: 52.88

image005 (1)

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Hopkin, who finished the day with gold and bronze, said:

“I’m really happy with this race, that was the second one in the evening and the second medal so it’s a pretty good day.

“We were all just very relaxed and trusted each other to do our job.

“We got a great team atmosphere, we got going from Day 1 and carried that momentum throughout the week.”

Dean added:

“We have so much fun and so much momentum. It’s unlike I’ve ever experienced before.

“It’s really exciting that every time we get out there, it feels like something special happens in the relay.

“It’s been a tough year for all of us, we were out of the water for ten weeks, had no competition and some of us even had Covid.

“But this shows that we, as a team, can overcome anything thrown our way and still deliver when it matters.

“This is the most special thing about this team. I’m honoured to be part of it.”

Ranomi Kromowidjojo was gracious, saying:

“Today the British were too good, they did an amazing job, but at the same time we did great too and I’m very happy and proud to be part of this team today.”

Pellegrini said:

“We are very satisfied, it was really fun. The male part of the relay did great and we tried give a good fight up until the end.

“We are medallists here and we are very satisfied because in Glasgow we were not on the podium.”

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