European Championships – Day Six Semifinals: Ruta Meilutyte Not Far Off World Record in 50 Breaststroke


European Championships – Day Six Semifinals: Ruta Meilutyte Not Far Off World Record in 50 Breaststroke

The sixth night of competition at the European Championships in Rome includes the last of the semifinals, as Night Seven features all title races. Semifinals will be held in the men’s 50-meter freestyle, women’s 50 breaststroke, women’s 200 butterfly, men’s 200 individual medley and men’s 100 backstroke.

In the men’s 100 backstroke, Thomas Ceccon of Italy will continue on his path toward a European title. Earlier this summer, Ceccon set a world record of 51.60 en route to the gold medal at the World Championships in Budapest. He’ll be challenged at Euros by Greece’s Apostolos Christou, who edged Ceccon for the title in the 50 backstroke earlier in the meet.

A medalist in the 50 freestyle at the last three editions of the European Championships, including gold in 2018, Great Britain’s Ben Proud enters the semifinals on a wave of momentum. Proud is coming off a Commonwealth Games showing in which he prevailed in both the 50 freestyle and 50 butterfly. Meanwhile, Italian Benedetta Pilato will continue her chase for the crown in the women’s 50 breaststroke, an event in which Pilato is the world-record holder.

Here is a recap of the semifinals from Rome:

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Looking for his third international title of the summer in the event, Ben Proud easily secured the top seed for the final. The British star, who has already won the world title and Commonwealth Games gold this summer, covered his semifinal in 21.40. That outing was comfortably quicker than the the matching marks of 21.72 by Italian Lorenzo Zazzeri and the Netherlands’ Thom de Boer.


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Women’s 50 Breaststroke

Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte uncorked a spectacular performance, going 29.44 to finish not far off the world record of 29.30, held by Italian Benedetta Pilato. Pilato also advanced to the final, as she won the first semifinal in 29.85, and a sterling duel is on the horizon in the final. Great Britain’s Imogen Clark went 30.10 for the third seed and will be in the mix for the bronze medal.


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Women’s 200 Butterfly

Denmark’s Helena Bach will be the top seed in the final of the 200 butterfly, thanks to her semifinal outing of 2:08.48. That time was one of two under 2:09 and led Great Britain’s Keanna Macinnes (2:08.90) by almost a half-seond. Another Brit, Laura Stephens, earned the third seed behind a swim of 2:09.25.


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Men’s 200 Individual Medley

Jose Lopes of Portugal moved into the final as the top seed, off a semifinal effort of 1:58.77, which was ahead of the 1:59.38 of Hungarian Hubert Kos. Israel’s Ron Polonsky went through his four laps in 1:59.52 and Alberto Razetti, the winner of the 400 IM on Night One, matched Polonsky for the third seed.


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Men’s 100 Backstroke

The big names held back in the semifinals of the 100 backstroke, where France’s Yohann Ndoye Brouard was the top see with a swim of 52.97. Ndoye Brouard has already won the 200 backstroke at Euros and was followed into the final by Greece’s Apostolos Christou (53.20). Italy’s Thomas Ceccon checked in at No. 3, going 53.48.


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