European Championships: Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas Blasts Back Half for 400 IM Title


European Championships: Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas Blasts Back Half for 400 IM Title

Earlier in the day, Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas had beaten two of the most decorated swimmers in her country’s history for the top seed in the women’s 400 individual medley final at the European Championships. The 18-year-old Mihalyvari-Farkas had come in ahead of 33-year-old Zsuzsanna Jakobos, a three-time medalist in the event at the continental meet, and 33-year-old Katinka Hosszu, a five-time world champion and the world-record holder in the discipline.

Hours later, the teenager stepped up in the final to secure her first international gold medal. Jakobos led after the butterfly, and Great Britain’s Freya Colbert went ahead of the field on the backstroke leg, but Mihalyvari-Farkas quickly took command on the breaststroke as she established a lead of more than a second after 50 meters. By the end of the breaststroke leg, the margin was greater than two seconds over Colbert and then Sara Franceschi of Italy. No one could close the gap on Mihalyvari-Farkas over the final 100 meters as she came into the wall at 4:37.56 for gold.

Previously, Mihalyvari-Farkas was the co-silver medalist in the event at last year’s European Champs along with Aimee Willmott as Hosszu cruised to the title. Mihalyvari-Farkas then placed sixth in the event at the Tokyo Olympics before missing out on the final at this year’s World Championships by just one spot and less than a half-second (a final that Hosszu was the only European swimmer to qualify for). This time leaves her just outside the top-10 in the world for 2022, and she was actually quicker in her silver-medal-winning effort a year ago, but here, it was good enough for gold.

“Last year after the medal ceremony I told the media that I felt that the anthem was played a bit for me too, but in reality it was for Katinka,” Mihalyvari-Farkas said. “Now it’s going to be played for me, and I cannot describe how happy I am. After the disappointing World Championships [where] I had a small setback, with the support of my coach, I got into a really great shape. The two swims were really amazing in this pool. It was an experience of a lifetime.”

Jakobos blitzed the last 100 meters of freestyle with a 1:02.14 split, and she claimed silver in 4:39.79 for the 12th long course European medal of her career. “Honestly, I clocked a couple of better times at Sette Collis here but who cares? It is the silver medal which counts, isn’t?” Jakobos said. “I have learned that I don’t have to conquer the world in breaststroke, just complete it and reserve enough for the free – and this worked really well today.”

Colbert won bronze in 4:40.06, while Franceschi faded to fourth on the last 50 meters (4:40.91).

w400im-euro, Mihalyvari-Farkas

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