Evgeniia Chikunova Sets WJR In 200 Breaststroke; Anastasia Kirpichnikova 0.29 Off 1500 WR

Evgeniia Chikunova
Evgeniia Chikunova, Maria Temnikova: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia

Evgeniia Chikunova Sets WJR In 200 Breaststroke; Anastasia Kirpichnikova 0.29 Off 1500 WR

Evgeniia Chikunova set a WJR of 2:16.88 in the 200 breaststroke and Anastasia Kirpichnikova went second all-time in the 1500 free at the European Short-Course Championships in Kazan.

The 16-year-old set the previous record of 2:17.57 in September but cut a whopping 0.69 from that at the Aquatics Palace.

Kirpichnikova was ahead of world-record pace until the final 50 before clocking 15:08.30 – 0.29 off Sarah Kohler‘s 2019 mark of 15:08.01 – as she became the first female champion in this event  at the European showcase.

Szebasztian Szabo set a championship record of 22.00 in the 50 fly to consign Johannes Dietrich‘s mark of 20.07 from the end of the super-suit era to history.

Russia lead the way in the medal table with eight golds ahead of Italy and the Netherlands who both have four.

Chikunova Smashes Her WJR

Chikunova was 0.51 outside her WJR in the semis when her time of 2:18.08 was 1.12secs quicker than Maria Temnikova, the 2019 champion.

Chikunova doesn’t turn 17 until later this month but already has a European long-course relay silver in her cabinet and was just 0.04 off the 200br podium at the Tokyo Olympics.

She led Temnikova by 0.05 at 50 but the defending champion held a 0.03 lead at the halfway point.

Chikunova accelerated and led by 0.40 at 150 and pulled away on the last 25 to lower her WJR to 2:16.88.

Splits: 31.87/1:06.89 (35.02)/1:41.91 (35.02)/2:16.88 (34.97)

Temnikova was second in 2:18.45 with Francesca Fangio third in 2:19.69.

Chikunova said:

“I’m just happy, that all what I can say. I’m happy that I broke the world junior record.”

Chikunova will celebrate her 17th birthday on 17 November, with Temnikova turning 26 on the same day, and the younger swimmer was grateful to her teammate, saying:

“I want to thank Maria (Temnikova) for her support, so the race was just incredible.”

Temnikova was “very excited and happy right now” while Fangio said:

“I’m so, so happy, a medal was my dream and my wish and now it has come through.

“The time is excellent, I nearly missed the national record but that doesn’t matter. I can hardly believe that I’ve made it.

“After the Olympics I was a bit disappointed, I would like to thank my family and my coach who gave me the right advice at the right time in those moments when I was thinking about quitting. I still have a lot to say in the world of swimming.”

Kirpichnikova 0.29 Off World Record

Anastasia Kirpichnikova Kazan

Anastasia Kirpichnikova: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia

The Russian, who won double silver behind Simona Quadarella at the long-course European Championships in May, reversed the roles to finish almost 16 seconds ahead of the Italian.

Quadarella clocked 15:34.16 with fellow Italian Martina Caramignoli third in 15:37.33.

All eyes though were on Kirpichnikova who was out in 28.33 and her splits thereafter ranged from 30.07 to 31.05, propelling her beyond WR pace before a final 50 of 29.12 saw her fall just short.

It was a second title for the 21-year-old after she won the 800 free.


15:18.01: Sarah Kohler, 2019

15:18.30: Anastasia Kirpichnikova, 2021

15:19.71: Mireia Belmonte, 2014

15:22.68: Lauren Boyle, 15:22.68

15:28.33: Lani Pallister, 2020

Kirpichnikova, though, had mixed emotions, saying:

“It was very good but I’m really upset as the world record was not far away. I really wanted to break that but today I was unlucky.

“I want to say thank for everyone who watches me on TV and sends messages on social media, those help me a lot.”

Kolesnikov Back On Top Of The Podium

Kliment Kolesnikov had looked ominous when posting 49.15 in the semis with his European record standing at 48.58.

The Russian had already claimed gold in the 50 back where he went second all-time and there was a real sense of anticipation.

Kliment Kolesnikov, Robert -Andrei Glinta

Kliment Kolesnikov, Robert-Andrei Glinta: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia

Robert-Andrei Glinta led by 0.13 at halfway but Kolesnikov took a narrow lead and came off the final wall ahead to come home in 49.13.

Glinta was second in 49.31 as he swapped 2019 bronze for silver while also lowering his Romanian record, slicing 0.29 from the previous mark of 49.60 he set at the ISL in September.

Apostolos Christou took bronze in 49.87 and sliced 0.11 from the Greek record he set on Thursday.

Kolesnikov said:

“I’m very happy with this gold medal. I wasn’t ready to break my European record, but all in all I want to say that this championship is extremely strong and I’m really proud of my Russian team-mates as they claim many medals.”

Glinta, who won three medals including 100 back gold at the long-course Europeans in May, added:

“It’s my new personal best and I’m extremely happy with this result and with winning the silver medal. I knew it was very much possible after the first 50m, the silver was just a bonus.”

He jokingly issued a warning to his teammate David Popovici, saying:

“Tomorrow I’ll swim the 100m free just for fun. I signed up for that to be ahead of David Popovici and to improve the national record. I’ll try and see what happens.

“Though it just turned out – and I didn’t know that – that he had already swum in Kazan and bettered that record last week in the World Cup. So the battle is on!”

Razzetti Flies To Gold; Silver For Milak

Alberto Razzetti led from start to finish to take the gold medal in 1:50.24 – an Italian record – with Kristof Milak claiming his first short-course medal in 1:51.11.

Egor Pavlov came from fifth at 150 to clinch third in 1:51.81.

Razzetti, who had already claimed 200IM bronze, was almost lost for words, saying:

“I’m speechless. I’m the European champion! My emotions and tensions are very high now!

“The time is great, it’s a new national record. This is my second medal today. I was hoping for a medal but necessarily for a win.

“I could have even gone under 1:50sec. I’m overjoyed, it’s hard for me to express my emotions now.

“I have been growing since the Olympics and learning how to swim really fast at international event and I couldn’t have achieved that without the support of family, my coaches and my team-mates.”

Alberto Razzetti Kazan

Alberto Razzetti: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia

Milak was fourth in the 100 fly and he has little experience in the 25m pool with Kazan his first international competition.

He said:

“It wasn’t really a contest as my legs were cramping over the first 100m which didn’t help definitely.

“At this stage of my preps, and in the mood I’m in right now, this was all I could give here.

“I got a silver, not bad, I think I have nothing to be worried about.

“I need to learn to swim short-course, to be able to swim this event with the same instinctive way I do in the long pool.”

Andreas Vazaios Defends 200IM Title

Defending champion Andreas Vazaios of Greece and Razzetti had been the only men to go inside 1:54 in the semis to book the centre lanes.

Tomoe Hvas, who won silver in Glasgow two years ago, has withdrawn from the meet with illness and would have been expected to be a contender.

Hubert Kos had the best start and was ahead after the fly with a lead of 0.09 over Vazaios.

Vazaios, the European record-holder, pulled ahead on the breaststroke and had a body length lead going into the free from where he was never threatened, stopping the clock at 1:51.70.

Thomas Ceccon was second in a national record of 1:52.49 ahead of fellow Italian Razzetti in 1:52.74 with Kos fourth.

Vazaios was overjoyed and paid tribute to Hungarian legend Laszlo Cseh by saying he wants to follow in his footsteps.

He said:

“It’s absolutely amazing. I came here for this medal. I really want to start building a legacy like my idol Laszlo Cseh did.

“It’s very exciting and this a great opportunity for me and Greece, especially after the Olympics and this tough year with Covid.

“Now I just really want to keep going strong until the World Championships and finish off the year really well.”

Sarah Sjostrom At The Double

Sarah Sjostrom 100 free Kazan

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia

Sjostrom was looking to add the 100 title to her 50 free gold and had qualified first, 0.01 ahead of Marrit Steenbergen.

None of the 2019 medallists were competing so there would be a whole new look to the podium.

The yellow hat of Sjostrom was out in front from the start and she won in 51.26 ahead of Katarzyna Wasick, who claimed a second silver  of the meet in 51.58, with Steenbergen third in 51.92.

Sjostrom had surgery after breaking her elbow in February with the 100 free presenting the most resistance to her recovery in the pool.

She said:

“Obviously, I’m very happy with this gold medal and for improving my qualifying time by almost a second.

“When swimming semi-finals I usually try to relax and save my energy for the final but sometimes it happens the other way around.

“I have a very busy schedule here and the 100m free is the event which I’m struggling the most to find my way back to after my injury. Still, I’m very happy to get closer to my PB even though I have a long a way to go.”

Wasick said:

“What can I say? It’s still not gold (laughing)! But God, I’m sooo happy!

“The 50m is more my event and I was not that confident coming to the 100m free but I definitely improved here.

“It was very tough mentally today, because yesterday I didn’t feel that good. Thankfully, today was better and it just shows you have to keep going, pushing as every day is a new day.”

Toussaint Toughs It Out: Joy For Pigree

Kira Toussaint claimed her second title in as many days when she touched in 25.79, 0.19 outside her world record.

Analia Pigree of France took second in 26.08 with Maaike de Waard third in 26.11 for two Netherlands swimmers on the podium.

Toussaint has been in great form of late and in Kazan she already has the 50 and 200 back titles with the 100 to come although she found it a real challenge to be mentally prepared, saying:

“It was actually a very hard race.

“The schedule of the 50m back in this championships is really weird. I have the 100m semis then this final today.

“The result is great, I’m really happy as I was a bit nervous before this race. When you look at the entry times of all finalists, you can see that everyone is so close.

“After the 100m semis, I felt sick and questioned myself how I would swim this final in less than an hour. Then in the call room I told myself just to calm down, you got this – and it worked out just fine.”

Kira Toussaint, Analia Pigree

Photo Courtesy:

Pigree was overjoyed, saying:

“First international competition, first final and first medal. This is just insane! This race was really close to my heart and really wanted to represent France well.

“I was feeling a little of pressure swimming in lane four, but it was the good kind of pressure.

“Now I guess I just go below 26sec at the World Championships (laughing).

“I still have a final tomorrow (100 back) so I’m a bit tired but it’s a great experience.”

The 20-year-old revealed she has not always been a backstroke specialist, saying:

“Originally, I was doing freestyle because I loved watching Malia Metella and she is an Olympic medallist. But then I just started swimming backstroke and I loved it.”

Frenchwoman Metella won silvers in the 50 free at Athens 2004 and the 100 free a year later at the World Championships in Montreal.

Women’s 100 Back Semis

Kira Toussaint won the four-length event in Glasgow and superb underwaters further separated her from the field in her semi.

She was fastest through in 56.04 ahead of fellow Netherlands swimmer Maaike de Waard (56.51) with Maria Kameneva next in 56.71.

Men’s 200 Free Semis

David Popovici won gold in the 50-100-200 free at the European Juniors before finishing 0.02 off the 200 podium in Tokyo.

He set a Romanian record of 1:43.43 in the heats and returned this evening when he moved into third at 150 in the first semi.

The 17-year-old accelerated away on the final 25 to touch in 1:43.08, another national record.

It was enough to send him through as the quickest man into the final ahead of 400 champion Luc Kroon (1:43.33) and Daniil Shatalov (1:43.50).

Also through were Ivan Girev, Matteo Ciampi, Marco De Tullio, Stan Pijnenburg and Jordan Pothain.

Women’s 100 Fly Semis

Anna Ntountanaki, bronze medallist last time out, was just 0.05 outside her Greek record in 56.49 in the first semi.

That was good enough to lead the field into the final with Sjostrom, who returned from her 100 free victory, second swiftest after winning the second semi in 56.54.

Elena Di Liddo, 200 fly champion Svetlana Chimrova and 2019 gold medallist Anastasia Shkurdai all progressed.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke Semis

Arno Kamminga, the 2019 champion, won the first heat in 2:02.54 which was enough to book lane four.

Aleksandr Zhigalov progressed in 2:02.64 with Ilya Shymanovich next in 2:02.66.

Women’s 200IM Semis

Anastasya Gorbenko dominated the first semi to post a time of 2:06.75 which proved to be the fastest in the field with the Israeli seeking to add the short-course title to her long-course continental gold.

Viktoria Gunes, who won the 400IM, progressed in 2:07.16 with Maria Ugolkova through in 2:07.47.

Men’s 50 Fly Semis

Szebasztian Szabo set a new championship record of 22.00 as he consigned to history Johannes Dietrich’s mark of 22.07 from the end of the super-suited era in December 2009.

Thomas Ceccon set an Italian record of 22.19 to win the first semi, taking 0.28 off the mark set by Matteo Rivolta in the morning heats.

Rivolta was also inside his old standard in 22.27