European Championships: Marrit Steenbergen Powers Dutch to 800 Freestyle Relay Crown

Steenbergen Marrit NED celebrating Gold Medal 200m Freestyle Women Final Kazan - Russia 07/11/2021 Aquatics Palace LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

European Championships: Marrit Steenbergen Powers Dutch to 800 Freestyle Relay Crown

When Marrit Steenbergen entered the water at the Foro Italico for the anchor leg of the women’s 800-meter freestyle relay, the Dutchwoman faced a slight deficit – a tenth of a second, to be precise – to Great Britain. So, to call her finish a dazzling rally might be a touch much. Nonetheless, Steenbergen delivered a superb performance for the Netherlands, and helped her country to gold at the European Championships in Rome.

With Steenbergen taking command at the 700-meter mark, the Dutch touched the wall in 7:54.07 to defeat Britain (7:54.73) and Hungary (7:55.73). Steenbergen topped the relay with a split of 1:56.26, and was preceded by countrywomen Imani De Jong (1:58.97), Silke Holkenborg (1:58.92) and Janna Van Kooten (1:59.92).

Although the Netherlands’ time wasn’t eye-catching, Steenbergen flourished and stood out as her squad’s go-to performer. Having qualified for the final of the 100 freestyle earlier in the session, Steenbergen’s showing suggests she is going to be a factor throughout the meet. More, she demonstrated grit down the stretch as Great Britain’s Freya Anderson made one final push approaching the wall.

It’s been a long summer for many of the athletes, thanks to multiple international competitions. Anderson has been tested as much as anyone, having raced at the World Championships in June, Commonwealth Games in late July and now the European Championships. Given the taxing nature of her schedule, her closing split of 1:57.02 was quite respectable.

Although she struggled on the second leg and did not break the two-minute barrier, Katinka Hosszu registered the 97th medal of her international career. The Hungarian has a chance to hit the 100-medal mark before the week in Rome is over.

 

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