European Championships: Lukas Maertens Sets 400 Free Championship Record For Gold; Germany Claim 1-3

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Lukas Maertens: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

European Championships: Lukas Maertens Sets 400 Free Championship Record For Gold; Germany Claim 1-3

Lukas Maertens set a championship record of 3:42.50 as he eased to victory in the 400 free at the European Championships in Rome.

It concluded a superb season for the 20-year-old who also won 800 silver at the Foro Italico to add to teh 400 silver he claimed at the World Championships in Budapest.

Maertens was stroke for stroke with early leader Antonio Djakovic of Switzerland before going ahead at the 200m mark.

He extended his lead throughout to claim victory ahead of Djakovic (3:43.93) who claimed the first Swiss medal in the event with Henning Muehlleitner making it a German one-three in 3:44.53.

Splits: 53.98/1:50.63/2:47.10/3:42.50

Maertens sliced 1.51secs off Gabriele Detti‘s championship record of 3:44.01 from London in 2016.

David Popovici had progressed fourth before withdrawing from the final so there would be no tilt at the 100-200-400 treble.

Instead, the 17-year-old will train for a couple of days before heading off to Lima, Peru, for the World Junior Championships.

Maertens becomes the fifth German winner of the event – with Uwe Dassler twice gold medallist in 1985 and 1987 – and the first since Paul Biedermann at Debrecen 2012.

He said:

“I was hoping for a medal, I had already reached the second place in the 800m and I knew I was in a good condition to make the podium here.

“This event is my specialty so it’s more than satisfying to get the gold at the end.”

Djakovic’s time was a Swiss record and he was almost lost for words, tearfully saying:

“At the beginning of the year I couldn’t have even imagined that I was fighting for the medals.

“Back then I got Covid, afterwards I had trouble with my lungs and it took me three months to really get back into shape.

“At the end, now I have two silvers, I wasn’t expecting this, I’m really emotional now.

“My parents were also here and watch me winning my first senior medals.

“In the meantime, I also passed my last exams – so quite unexpectedly, this season is just ending in the perfect way.”

Muehlleitner added:

“This was just so much fun. In the callroom you could tell we were all really excited to race each other.

“This final was quite young with a set of newcomers and some more experienced swimmers so it was a great mix.

“Everyone was really just excited to get out there. Fun is my takeaway from this race tonight.”

Results

  1. Lukas Maertens (GER); 3:42.50
  2. Antonio Djakovic (SUI); 3:43.93
  3. Henning Muehlleitner (GER); 3:44.53
  4. Felix Auboeck (AUT); 3:45.76
  5. Lorenzo Galossi (ITA); 3:46.94
  6. Joris Bouchaut (FRA); 3:47.20
  7. Gabriele Detti (ITA); 3:47.34
  8. Henrik Christiansen (NOR); 3:50.30

For full results & splits, click here

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