European Championships: France Win 4×100 Mixed Freestyle Relay Ahead Of Britain & Sweden

WATTEL Marie LON London Roar (LON) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 8 day 1 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Marie Wattel: Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

European Championships: France Win 4×100 Mixed Freestyle Relay Ahead Of Britain & Sweden

France won gold in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay after Marie Wattel overhauled joint leaders Italy and Sweden on the final leg at the European Championships in Rome.

By virtue of Sweden claiming the bronze medal, Sarah Sjostrom – who swam a third leg of 52.68 – tied Alexander Popov’s all-time total of 26 long-course European Championship medals.

The Russian won 21 golds, three silvers and two bronze medals, including 13 relays, while Sjostrom has 15 golds, seven silvers and four bronzes, including 10 relays.

Sjostrom said:

“This is amazing, though you know I always say that I’m not that good with stats, I don’t really keep an eye on them.

“This is very fitting that this historic medal came in a relay, it was a great performance from our relay. And I think I have a good chance in the 50m fly and in the medley relay so we two more promising days to come.”

Maxime Grousset (48.02), Charles Rihoux (48.39) and Charlotte Bonnet (53.34) had put France in the top three throughout and Wattel produced an anchor leg of 53.05 as she made up the 0.07 deficit at the final handover to stop the clock at  3:22.80.

It was the fourth time since it was introduced to the European showcase in 2014 that France have been on the podium and the second they have stood on the top step following gold at Glasgow 2018.

Freya Anderson went 53.03 to steer Britain into silver after she took over from Anna Hopkin in fourth to touch in 3:23.20.

Sweden were third in 3:23.40 after Sjostrom had propelled the quartet into the joint lead.

Grousset said:

“It’s going really well. After the little disappointment in the 200m events it was a great pleasure to win this medal. We have a great team and we are really satisfied.”

Tom Dean, who swam the lead-off for Britain in 48.46. said of Anderson whose medal haul in Rome so far comprises one gold, three silvers and a bronze.

Dean, the Olympic 200 free champion, said:

“I think this is Freya’s fifth medal and she can end up finishing these Europeans with seven if everything adds up which would be an incredible achievement, I wish to emphasise that.

“We all did very good swims and did well overall. The reason mixed relays is so fun to swim is that it can change rapidly and it’s impossible to predict who wins at the end.

“Different teams have different strengths, and so much can change during the race. It has been a very long and tiring season for all of us so we are more than happy to have come out with another medal.”

Louise Hansson brought the Swedish quartet home for bronze to add to her gold in the 100 fly in the first race of the session.

She said:

“It was a great night for me today, first with the gold medal in the 100m fly and now this bronze in the relay.

“I’m really happy with the team’s performance and swimming together like this in Rome was fantastic.

“Two medals in the same session it’s something amazing and I will remember this night forever.”

European Championships Results:

  1. France; 3:22.80
  2. Britain; 3:23.30
  3. Sweden; 3:23.40
  4. Italy; 3:23.62
  5. Poland; 3:25.73
  6. Netherlands; 3:26.08
  7. Hungary; 3:26.54
  8. Spain; 3:27.52

For full results and splits, click here