European Championships, Day 7 Finals: Britain Finish Top Of The Medal Table After Medley Victories

adam peaty, 2021 european championships, tokyo olympics
Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Great Britain topped the medal table after winning both 4x100m medley relays in meet-record time as the European Championships concluded in Budapest.

Britain won 11 gold, nine silver and six bronze medals for an overall total of 26 ahead of Russia with nine golds among 22 medals and Italy who claimed five golds in a total of 27.

Italy won the championship trophy with 951 points ahead of Britain (869) and Russia (766).

Kathleen Dawson set a European 100 backstroke record of 58.08 on the lead-off as the women won in 3:54.01 in the final event at the Duna Arena.

Read more about Dawson’s record here.

That followed the men’s gold in 3:28.59 and Britain’s medal haul is the more notable given they weren’t fully rested coming in to the competition.

Peaty Claims Fourth Gold For Quadruple-Quadruple

ADam Peaty 2021 Europeans

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

In the penultimate race of the meet, the British men’s quartet of Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty, James Guy – fresh from his bronze medal in the individual 100 fly – and Duncan Scott – with a 46.92 anchor – took 1.85 off the record of 3:30.44 they set at Glasgow 2018.

That was 0.49 outside the European record of 3:28.10 they set en-route to gold at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju.

Russia – with Kliment Kolesnikov 0.02 off Camille Lacourt‘s European 100 back record in 52.13 – were second in 3:29.50 with Italy taking bronze in 3:29.93, a new national record.

Splits:

Greenbank: 53.64

Peaty: 57.38

Guy: 50.65

Scott: 46.92

Peaty won four golds in Budapest in the 50 and 100 breaststroke plus the mixed and men’s medley relays.

He owns 16 European titles winning four at each championships at which he has competed in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2021.

In Tokyo, Peaty will seek to become only the second swimmer to defend the Olympic 100 breaststroke title after Kosuke Kitajima, who did the 100-200 double double in 2004 and 2008.

Britain won silver in the medley relay at Rio 2016 with Peaty splitting 56.59 and looking to the Games, he said:

“Very excited. I’m more excited for how the team is going to do at the Olympics. It’s all about fine-tuning now, regaining that energy.

“Weeks like this take a lot of energy out of you, so it’s how do I get that back, relax, but then push forward to the Olympics now?

“It’s really about fine-tuning, like you would a car.

“That’s what it’s all about, this time of year. We still have to look around at what they are doing and what they are doing.

“To be honest, we get the best performances when we think inside out rather than outside in. We’re just going to go to the Olympics relaxed and hopefully get what we do.”

Peaty – sporting a fine moustache – took over from Greenbank in fourth and steered the British to first although there were notable legs from Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi and Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus who both split 57.84.

The lead was 0.42 after Guy’s fly leg but Scott’s 46.92 sizzler – the only sub-47 in the field – brought them home.

18th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials

Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

Peaty, coached by Mel Marshall at the National Centre Loughborough, added:

“It was getting close. This is the end of the week, my ninth race, and as a sprinter who does 100m breast, that’s a lot of racing and I felt it down the back end tonight.

“It’s some great swimming, I’ve never really been this fast in relays, never mind doing it without a proper taper or rest.

“It’s looking v strong. We couldn’t have done that without the guys swimming the heats this morning, so it’s a great team effort all round.”

Scott added:

“For us, that’s just quite exciting, for us to be able to do that on the last night is exciting for what is to come in the summer.

“You can look at so many different areas of that that we can improve on individually but then also as a team as well.

“It’s going be tough because there are teams still looking to qualify for the Olympics so we had to be on it this ,morning and we were – and that was a really good swim from everyone tonight.”

Kolesnikov ended the meet with golds in the 50 back – twice lowering his own world record – the 100 free and 4×100 free relay as well as silver on Sunday, coming within a whisker of taking down Lacourt’s continental mark of 52.11 from 2010.

MEN - 50M BACKSTROKE - FINAL KOLESNIKOV Kliment RUS Russia Celebrate World Record Swimming Budapest - Hungary 18/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Kliment Kolesnikov: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

He said:

“Finally, we are going back home – it feels like we’ve been here for a month.

“I feel really tired but I would say this ending with the silver medal is great since not everyone can stand on the podium.

“I’m proud of my team-mates and also of the girls to take medals like us. This a great end to this event.”

Andrei Minakov, who anchored the quartet in 47.41, said:

“We are happy with our performance.

It was difficult to catch the British, they were so far from us, we were swimming lanes apart.

“The silver is OK but we wanted the gold.”

Martinenghi was far happier, saying:

“I’m so happy, this is a new Italian record after a very long time.

“We’ve been waiting for it for years, since Debrecen 2012 and it was missing from the achievements made by our relays.

“We believed in this relay firmly and this is the result.

“This is not the end I think we can be even better and we will do everything in our power to be do so.”

Dawson Gets Two Records In One Race

DAWSON Kathleen GBR 100 Backstroke Women Final Gold Medal Swimming Budapest - Hungary 21/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Kathleen Dawson: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

There were more fireworks to come as Dawson claimed her third gold of the meet as well as a European record.

The women’s individual champion split 28.23/29.85 to take 0.04 off the previous record of 58.12 set by fellow Briton Gemma Spofforth at the 2009 worlds.

Molly Renshaw, Laura Stephens and Anna Hopkin brought Britain home in 3:54.01 to take 0.21 off Russia’s championship record from Glasgow 2018.

Russia were second in 3:56.25 with Italy third in a national record of 3:56.30.

Splits:

Dawson: 58.08

Renshaw: 1:05.72

Stephens: 57.55

Hopkin: 52.66

Hopkin, also coached by Marshall, ended the competition with bronze in the 100 free plus four relay golds.

She said:

“After Kat did such an amazing time to start us off, I think we all just felt like we couldn’t let that go.

“She got us off to an amazing start and we all just built on that.”

RENSHAW Molly GBR 200 Breaststroke Women Final Swimming Budapest - Hungary 21/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Renshaw, who won individual gold in the 200 breaststroke, added:

“It’s a great stepping stone, just to be able here and race against other international swimmers, it’s great prep for the summer.

“I don’t usually get a chance to swim relays. I think we were just so pumped after watching Cassie and the boys, like Kat said, so going in I was just really excited, and then Kat smashed it from the start and we were able to hold on to that.”

 

Elena Di Liddo, who swam a 57.27 fly leg, said:

“This is a new Italian record and it came somewhat unexpectedly.

“The last one was set in Gwangju in 2019. This is a very good time from this relay and personally my leg is also great.

“It’s been a really long week but all this gives us hope for the Olympic Games.

“We Italians are very superstitious and don’t like predictions – however, the medals from these Europeans give us an impulse to expect something good in Tokyo.”


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