European Short Course Championships: Vlad Morozov Finishes With Seven Golds

HERNING, Denmark, December 15. RUSSIA’s Vlad Morozov closed out a remarkable meet that featured seven total gold medals for the Sizzling Siberian at the European Short Course Championships.

Women’s 400 IM
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia continued what has been a tremendous meet in Herning thus far with her third individual win. She jumped out to a lead at the 50-meter mark and never looked back as she raced to a 4:21.23. That swim smashed the meet record of 4:23.47 set by Hannah Miley a year ago, and nearly gave Katinka Hosszu’s world record of 4:20.85 from the Berlin stop of the FINA World Cup earlier this year a run. Belmonte Garcia’s previous top time this year had been a 4:25.23.

Hosszu, meanwhile, had to settle for silver with a 4:24.69. That’s well off the strong swims she put up during the FINA World Cup, where she won more than $300,000 during an amazing run of short course dominance. Great Britain’s Aimee Willmott picked up bronze with a 4:25.37 to move to third in the world rankings.

Great Britain’s Hannah Miley (4:28.56), Spain’s Beatriz Gomez Cortes (4:31.65), Sweden’s Stina Gardell (4:32.82), Russia’s Yana Martynova (4:34.01), Germay’s Franziska Hentke (4:35.10), Czech’s Barbora Zavadova (4:37.29) and Finland’s Tanja Kylliainen (4:41.50) also vied for the continental title this evening.

Men’s 200 breast
European Swimmer of the Year Daniel Gyurta of Hungary rattled his world record in the distance breaststroke with a blazing tie of 2:00.72. That time just missed his world and meet record of 2:00.67 from back in 2009.

Comparative splits
27.74, 58.46 (30.72), 1:29.33 (30.87), 2:00.67 (31.34) 2013
27.66, 58.90 (31.25), 1:30.18 (31.28), 2:00.72 (30.54)

Gyurta added the 200 breast title to his 100 breast from earlier in the meet, demonstrating just how strong of a specialist he is to overtake the likes of Yannick Agnel for European Swimmer of the Year honors.

Great Britain’s Michael Jamieson placed second in 2:01.43, good enough to move to second in the world rankings behind Gyurta, way stronger than his fourth-ranked 2:03.04 from the World Cup circuit. Germany’s Marco Koch touched just behind with a bronze-winning 2:01.62. That cleared his season best 2:02.50 and pushed him to third in the world as the only sub-2:02 swims this year.

Great Britain’s Andrew Willis (2:02.99), Russia’s Vyacheslav Sinkevich (2:04.08), Slovakia’s Tomas Klobucnik (2:04.97), Russia’s Oleg Kostin (2:05.97), Portugal’s Carlos Almeida (2:06.98), Italy’s Claudio Fossi (2:07.31) and Hungary’s Davis Verraszto (2:07.53) rounded out the rest of the championship heat.

Women’s 200 free
2009 World Swimmer of the Year Federica Pellegrini of Italy sure isn’t done with her swimming career yet, as five years after her peak as the top swimmer in the world she’s still picking up significant titles. This summer, she took silver at the 200 free long course worlds and tonight she stood atop the podium in a short course event with a 1:52.80. She still holds the world record with a stunning 1:51.17 form the 2009 season during which she blew away the world with her swims. Her time tonight puts her sixth in the world rankings in the event.

France’s Charlotte Bonnet took second in 1:53.26, while Russia’s Veronika Popova placed third in 1:53.62.

The Netherlands’ Femke Heemskerk (1:54.30), Hungary’s Evelyn Verraszto (1:54.37), Spain’s Melanie Costa Schmid (1:54.75), Denmark’s Mie Nielsen (1:55.75), Italy’s Alicia Mizzau (1:55.96), The Netherlands’ Rieneke Terink (1:56.56) and Great Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (1:56.69) picked up the rest of the finals finishes.

Men’s 100 IM
The Sizzling Siberian Vlad Morozov captured his third individual and sixth gold medal overall (three relay wins) with a dominant win in the sprint medley. Morozov won by more than a second with a 51.20. That swim was off his second-ranked season best of 50.97 from the Beijing stop of the FINA World Cup, and again, might have been faster if his French rival Florent Manaudou (top ranked with a 50.96) didn’t miss this meet with a shoulder injury incurred a week ago. The win gave Morozov a sprint sweep with wins in the 50 and 100 free as well.

Sergey Fesikov made it a Russian 1-2 with a 52.23 for silver. That performance clipped his eighth-ranked season best of 52.33 from Russian Nationals, but wasn’t enough to overtake seventh-ranked Chad Le Clos’ 52.14. Italy’s Stefano Pizzamiglio placed third overall in 52.81 as the only other sub-53 in the finale.

Belgium’s Emmanuel Vanluchene (53.14), The Netherlands’ Mike Marissen (53.24), Denmark’s Daniel Skaaning (53.38), Israel’s Gal Neo (53.40), Estonia’s Martti Aljand (53.40), Germany’s Philip Heintz (53.62) and Luxembourg’s Raphael Stacchiotti (53.85) finished fourth through 10th in the championship heat.

Women’s 100 fly
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom clocked the second-best time of the year with a victorious time of 55.78. She had to close strong after trailing Jeanette Ottesen at the 50, 25.67 to 26.21, but the Swedish sprinter had more than enough to finish atop the podium. That time cleared her fourth-ranked season best of 56.14 for the Tokyo stop of the FINA World Cup, and moved her ahead of Ottesen’s 55.94 from Berlin into second in the world. Only Alicia Coutts of Australia has been faster with a 55.30 from Tokyo.

Great Britain’s Jemma Lowe closed hard as well, overtaking Ottesen after turning fourth at the 50, as she touched out Ottesen, 56.32 to 56.42. Lowe vaulted from 10th in the world to sixth overall.

The Netherland’s Inge Dekker (57.14), Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (57.16), Italy’s Ilaria Bianchi (57.19), Hungary’s Liliana Szilagyi (57.22), Sweden’s Louise Hansson (57.81), Germany’s Franziska Hentke (58.82) and Germany’s Daniela Schreiber (59.42) closed out the finale.

Men’s 200 free
The strong Russian presence continued in the men’s 200 free as Danila Izotov and Nikita Lobintsev produced another male 1-2 for their nation. Izotov cruised to a win in 1:41.70, making him just the third swimmer under 1:42 this year behind Yannick Agnel (1:41.26) and Conor Dwyer (1:41.30).

Lobintsev, meanwhile, took second overall in 1:42.33 to vault to fifth in the world rankings and give Russia three of the top 10 swimmers in the world this year. Hungary’s Dominik Kozma tied with Italy’s Filippo Magnini for third with matching 1:43.34s.

Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovich (1:44.02), Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski (1:44.50), Belgium’s Glenn Surgeloose (1:44.53), Italy’s Andrea D’Arrigo (1:44.60), Belgium’s Dieter Dekoninck (1:45.15) and Hungary’s Peter Bernek (1:45.36) comprised the rest of the championship finalists.

Women’s 100 breast
Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, the world-record holder with a sterling 1:02.36 from the Moscow stop of the FINA World Cup, and meet-record holder Yuliya Efimova of Russia with a 1:03.27 from semis, did battle in the finale in what proved to be an epic competition.

Meilutyte pushed the pace early, leading by a wide margin with a 29.64 to 29.94 lead ahead of Efimova at the 50. Efimova, however, ran out of room to catch Meilutyte down the stretch with the Lithuanian winning 1:02.92 to 1:02.96. Both times smashed Efimova’s meet record of 1:03.27. Efimova managed to clear 1:03 for the first time this year, but still couldn’t surpass Alia Atkinson (1:02.91) for second in the world behind Meilutyte. Denmark’s Rikke Moeller Pedersen, who has been dynamic in the 200 distance, took third in 1:04.39.

Sweden’s Jennie Johansson (1:05.13), The Netherlands’ Moniek Nijhuis (1:05.23), Italy’s Lisa Fissneider (1:50.28), Great Britain’s Sophie Allen (1:05.65), Czech’s Petra Chocova (1:06.32), Ukraine’s Ganna Dzerkal (1:06.49), and Russia’s Valentina Artemyeva (1:08.07) also swam in the amazing finale.

Men’s 100 back
Top-ranked Jeremy Stravius, who posted a blazing 49.57 at French Nationals a week ago in Dijon, turned in the only sub-50 second time this evening to capture gold. Stravius led from the get-go, splitting a 23.90 at the 50 before winning in 49.74. Russia’s Vitaly Melnikov placed second in 50.05, off his third-ranked season best of 49.87 from the Russian Nationals.

France’s Camille Lacourt tied Christoph Walker-Hebborn for the second bronze tie of the night with matching 50.44s. This just one men’s event after Dominik Kozma and Filippo Magnini tied for third in the 200 freestyle finale.

Germany’s Christian Diener (50.96), Russia’s Andrey Shabasov (51.14), Belarus’ Pavel Sankovich (51.33), Estonia’s Ralf Tribuntsov (51.69), Italy’s Niccolo Bonacchi (51.69) and Israel’s Guy Barnea (51.76) also put in championship finishes.

Women’s 200 back
The time was way off her top-ranked 2:00.81 from the Berlin stop of the FINA World Cup, but Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina had enough in the tank to overtake Czech’s Simona Baumrtova down the stretch to win the distance dorsal in 2:02.20.

Zevina made a huge impact on the FINA World Cup circuit, winning every 200 backstroke finale she participated in during the professional circuit. Baumrtova managed to take second in 2:03.06 after leading at the 150-meter mark. That’s her season best, bettering her ninth ranked 2:04.21 from Berlin as well as she now stands eighth in the world.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu wound up with a bronze in 2:03.81, as she powered by Germany’s Jenny Mensing (2:05.91) down the back half to make the podium.

Germany’s Sonnele Oeztuerk (2:06.32), Russia’s Daia Ustinova (2:06.50), Iceland’s Eyglo Gustafsdottir (2:06.68), Turkey’s Halime Zulal Zeren (2:09.15), Sweden’s Ida Lindborg (2:09.67), and Ukraine’s Iryna Glavnyk (2:10.81) closed out the finale with fifth through 10th-place finishes.

Men’s 50 fly
Ukraine’s Andriy Govorov gave Ukraine its second straight win after clocking a 22.36 in the men’s sprint fly. That bettered his sixth-ranked season best of 22.38 from earlier this meet, but wasn’t enough to beat Chad Le Clos’s fifth-ranked 22.24 from Singapore.

Germany’s Steffen Deibler turned in a silver-winning time of 22.41, well off his fourth-ranked 22.14 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup. Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin earned the final podium spot with a 22.45, beating our Russia’s Nikita Konovalov (22.56) in the process.

France’s Jeremy Stravius (22.60), Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin (22.69), Poland’s Konrad Czerniak (23.23), Belgium’s Francois Heersbrandt (23.24), Belarus’ Pavel Sankovich (23.40) and Belgium’s Yoris Grandjean (23.41) picked up the rest of the finishes in the finale.

Women’s 50 free
The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo, the top short course sprinter in the world, just missed the meet record in the splash-and-dash with a 23.36. That swim came up short of Hinkelien Schreuder’s 2009 mark of 23.32, and of Kromowidjojo’s world record of 23.24 set at the Eindhoven stop of the FINA World Cup.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom touched well behind with a second-place effort of 23.79, while Belarus’ Aliaksandra Herasimenia wound up with bronze in 23.83.

Great Britain’s Fran Halsall (23.91), Germany’s Dorothea Brandt (24.14), Russia’s Rozaliya Nasretdinova (24.15), The Netherlands’ Inge Dekker (24.34), Russia’s Elizaveta Bazarova (24.49), Denmark’s Pernille Blume (24.52) and Italy’s Erika Ferraioli (24.54) claimed the rest of the finishes this evening.

Men’s 200 free relay
In one of the many 200 short course relays that will take some time to recalibrate the world record and the world best, Russia produced the third world record progression of the day in the men’s 200 freestyle relay.

Russia’s Vlad Morozov (20.87), Sergey Fesikov (20.57), Evgeny Lagunov (21.03) and Nikita Konovalov (20.89) turned in a 1:23.36 to win the finale. That swim blasted the world record of 1:25.52 set by Belgium this morning in prelims, but is well off the European and meet record of 1:20.77 set by France in 2008. That’s Morozov’s seventh gold medal of the meet.

Again, as a refresher, FINA only officially recognized the 200 distance relays as a world record in September, but failed to make any particular distinction on what would be the world record line. So, the first team to swim the event legally finished with a world record, and we would then begin to see a truckload of progressions until the standing world best and the world record are unified. The mixed relays are nearly recalibrated, while the men’s and women’s 200 relays still have some time to go.

Italy’s Luca Dotto, Federico Bocchia, Filippo Magnini and Marco Orsi took second in 1:24.37, while Belgium’s Jasper Aerents, Pieter Timmers, Francois Heersbrandt and Yoris Grandjean took third in 1:24.86.

France (1:25.96), Croatia (1:26.64), Lithuania (1;27.18), Finland (1:27.27), Turkey (1:28.03) and Israel (1:28.59) also have legal swims in the finale, while Sweden drew a disqualification.

Women’s 200 medley relay
Russia won a back-and-forth battle with Denmark as the Russians captured the title at the touch, along with a standing world record in the sprint medley relay.

Russia’s Daria Ustinova (27.57), Yuliya Efimova (28.30), Svetlana Chimrova (25.15) and Rozaliya Nasretdinova (23.65) finished the finale with a 1:44.67, while Denmark’s Mie Nielsen (26.47), Rikke Moeller Pedersen (29.73), Jeanette Ottesen (24.59) and Pernille Blume (24.02) managed to take second in 1:44.81.

Both times best the official world record of 1:45.92 clocked by Denmark this morning, but were well off The Netherlands’ meet and European mark of 1:42.69 from 2009. See above in the men’s 200 free relay for more explanation on FINA’s certification process.

Sweden’s Michelle Coleman, Jennie Johansson, Sarah Sjostrom and Louise Hansson moved into third with a 1:46.08 after Poland drew a disqualification for a relay takeover exchange issue between Dominika Sztandera and Anna Dowgiert.

Great Britain (1:46.56), Czech Republic (1:47.18), Germany (1:47.69), France (1:48.28), Finland (1:49.24) and Slovakia (1:50.08) also competed in the finale.

Women’s 50 free
World-record holder Ranomi Kromowidjojo smoked the semifinal field with a sizzling time of 23.57 to lead the way into the finale later this evening. That’s just half-a-second off her world record of 23.24 and the meet record of 23.32 from Hinkelien Schreuder back in 2009.

Kromowidjojo likely will be swimming by herself with Great Britain’s Fran Halsall the only other sub-24 with a 23.95. That time just clipped Halsall’s eighth-ranked season best of 23.97 from the Tokyo stop of the FINA World Cup. Belarus’ Aliaksandra Herasimenia touched third overall in 24.18 as she beat out Germany’s Dorothea Brandt (24.19) by the slimmest of margins in the first semi.

Russia’s Rozaliya Nasretdinova (24.20), Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom (24.23), Denmark’s Pernille Blume (24.39), Italy’s Erika Ferraioli (24.48), The Netherlands’ Inge Dekker (24.48) and Russia’s Elizaveta Bazarova (24.48) also made the finale.

Men’s 50 fly
Ukraine’s Andriy Govorov led the way in semis with a 22.38. That time vaulted Govorov from 10th in the world to sixth, and he should have some more in the tank by the end of the night. Germany’s Steffen Deibler, who stands fourth in the world with a 22.14, took second in semis with a 22.54.

Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin finished third in 22.55 to move to seventh in the rankings, while Russia’s Nikita Konovalov took fourth in 22.72.

Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin (22.80), Belarus’ Pavel Sankovich (23.07), France’s Jeremy Stravius (23.08), Belgium’s Yoris Grandjean (23.18) and Belgium’s Francois Heersbrandt qualified fifth through ninth.

Italy’s Piero Codia and Poland’s Konrad Czerniak set up a swimoff for the final transfer spot with matching 23.26s.