Golden Trebles For Kira Toussaint & Sarah Sjostrom; Szebasztian Szabo Equals 50 Fly WR At European SC

Sarah Sjostrom 100 fly Kazan
Sarah Sjostrom: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala, Deepbluemedia

Golden Trebles For Kira Toussaint & Sarah Sjostrom; Szebasztian Szabo Equals 50 Fly WR At European SC

Szebastian Szabo matched the 50 fly world record and Kira Toussaint and Sarah Sjostrom each secured a golden treble at the European Short-Course Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Szabo flew to 21.75 to equal Nicholas Santos‘ mark from October 2018 as the Hungarian claimed his third title of the week at the Aquatics Palace.

Ilya Shymanovich edged out Arno Kamminga by 0.01 to win the 200 breaststroke and David Popovici claimed his first senior title in the 200 free.

Anastasia Gorbenko added the 200IM short-course title to her long-course gold and the Netherlands won the mixed 4×50 free.

Emre Sakci and Nicolo Martinenghi traded championship records in the 50 breaststroke semis with the Italian going within 0.12 of Cameron van der Burgh‘s world standard of 25.25 in 25.37.

Russia remain head of the standings with eight gold, five silver and five bronze medals with the Netherlands second on six golds and Italy third with four.

Golden Hat-Trick For Toussaint

Toussaint claimed an emotional victory in the 200 back followed by 50 gold where she had to tough it out.

The Netherlands swimmer qualified first in 56.04 ahead of  Maaike de Waard.

Toussaint led her team-mate by 0.12 at halfway with the pair going clear on the third 25.

They were stroke-for-stroke on the final 25 but it was Toussaint who got the touch to defend her title in 55.76 with De Waard second in 55.86.

Analia Pigree was third in 56.40 from lane one with the Frenchwoman taking her second medal in international waters following 50 back silver.

Kira Toussaint, Maaike de Waard

Kira Toussaint & Maaike De Waard: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala/ Deepbluemedia

Toussaint was all joy, saying:

“I never expected to win all three races here. This was so unexpected but also an excellent race.

“I would also like to mention that Maaike swam a new personal best.

“Right now I’m happy and exhausted, though the final was not so fast. I just swam for the win because what matters is to put your hand onto the wall first. I actually don’t really remember how this race went exactly.”

Sjostrom Flies To The Top Once More

Sjostrom led at halfway by 0.01 from Anna Ntountounaki and at 75 the pair were dead level.

The Swede surged ahead to win in 55.84 with Ntountounaki taking joint silver with 2019 champion Anastasia Shkurdai in 56.35.

It was a third gold for Sjostrom after she won the 50 and 100 free.

She said:

“It always feels special to win the 100m fly.

“I missed some of the turns but still felt quite strong at the end of the race. I think this is due to all the exercises I’ve done during my recovery, like spinning and other things.”

Shymanovich Claims Long-Awaited Gold

Kamminga won the title in Glasgow two years ago and had already claimed bronze in the 100br and 4×50 men’s medley relay.

Ilya Shymanovich was first in 27.48 after 50, a lead he still held at halfway.

Mikhail Dorinov took the lead with 50 to go with Kamminga in fifth before the Olympic silver medallist accelerated and there were four men in a line at the final turn.

Ilya Shymanovich Kazan

Ilya Shymanovich: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Kamminga and Shymanovich were dead level but it was the Belarus swimmer who got the touch in a national record of 2:01.73, 0.01 ahead of the defending champion in 2:01.74 who was clearly dissatisfied at the finish, a shake of the head and a quick exit from the pool.

Dorinov took bronze in 2:02.07.

It was Shymanovich’s first international title after a series of world and European silvers and he hauled himself atop the lane rope, beating the water.

He beamed with a nod to his coach, saying:

“Wow! I’m so happy, the 200m is not my main event, I’m a sprinter and swim 50m and 100m but short-course is fun in a way, we spend a lot of time under water and this aids me very much.

“I’m very happy with my time, it’s a new PB and a new national record. I would like to dedicate this title to my coach, she has been with me from the very beginning,

“I started training with her when I was 10-years-old and this is all her work!”

Kamminga was 0.31 outside his Dutch record and he said:

“Obviously I wanted to win it and I’m still happy with my time, it’s a season best and I’m really close to my PB.

“It started feeling better and better with each race and ahead of the World Championships.

“The plan is always to come back strong at the end. I know I come back faster than anyone else. It’s a shame it was not enough to win, I’m still happy with my time.”

David Popovici Seizes Maiden Senior Title

Popovici set a Romanian record of 1:43.43 in the heats which he subsequently lowered to 1:43.08 in the semis.

The 17-year-old, who finished just 0.02 off the podium at the Tokyo Olympics, was in lane four.

David Popovici, Kazan

David Popovici: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Stan Pijnenburg led at 50 ahead of Ivan Girev and Popovici with the Netherlands swimmer still leading at halfway.

Still Pijnenburg was ahead at 150 with Popovici in second and come the final turn, 400 champion Luc Kroon had moved into the mix.

The Romanian attacked down the final 25 alongside Kroon and he got the touch in 1:42.12 – a huge national record – with Kroon second in 1:42.20.

Pijnenburg made it two Dutch swimmers on the podium with bronze in 1:42.51.

Popovici said:

“This feels so great. I’m just at the phase in my training and my development where it’s all about gaining experience.

“The gold medal at this stage is more than welcome.

“It is what we planned to do, to clock 1:42, this time is my new PB and as I know it’s a new national record.”

Gorbenko Dominates For Gold

Gorbenko made history when she became the first Israeli woman to win a European title when she took 200IM gold at the long-course Europeans in May.

She qualified comfortably fastest and was favourite to succeed the absent Katinka Hosszu as champion.

Maria Ugolkova led after the fly with the Swiss 0.10 ahead of Gorbenko at halfway.

Anastasia Gorbenko Kazan

Anastasia Gorbenko: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

The Israeli went past her on the breaststroke and was almost a body length ahead going into the free when she extended her lead to stop the clock at 2:05.17.

Ugolkova took silver in 2:06.41 with Viktoria Gunes adding to her 400IM gold with bronze in 2:07.67.

Gorbenko said:

“I’m really happy, this is my first short-course win. I only came here for the last three days.

“I was having a hard time at practice so I’m glad I was able to win after all of this hard work.

“I’m very excited, this may have been the first ever short-course title for my country, I’m not sure. It’s a really amazing pool here and I’m really enjoying what I’m doing and it’s been a lot of fun. I think I showed what I was capable of.”

Relay Gold For The Netherlands

The Netherlands led from start to finish to win in 1:28.93 with Russia and Italy tying for silver in 1:29.40.

Thom de Boer split the quickest among the men in 20.55 with Sjostrom blasting 22.89 as Sweden finished fifth.

Netherlands splits:

Jesse Puts: 21.06

Thom De Boer: 20.55

Maaike De Waard: 23.46

Kim Busch: 23.86

De Boer said:

“We feel actually relieved. We knew it would be a close race but we are also a very strong sprint team.

“All four of us made individual finals in the 50m. We knew it was doable and we are very happy to make it and with quite a margin.

“I wanted to focus on this relay that’s why I withdrew from the 100m free semis. I knew it would have been really hard to get a medal in that event anyway while we had much better chances here.”

It was a second medal of the day for De Waard following her 100 back silver and she said:

“It went really fast. We knew that the boys swam like hell and we had to get ready to get off from the blocks really fast.

“It was fun to do it with this team and it’s the mixed part, to swim with the boys I love the most. I raced a lot today but I had enough time between the events to warm-down and up properly.”

Women’s 200 Free Semis

Marrit Steenbergen was 0.12 inside the European record at halfway in the second semi, the Netherlands swimmer with a beautiful, long stroke that gives the impression she is gliding on top of the water.

She touched in 1:53.48 to lead the field into Sunday’s final ahead of Katja Fain (1:54.38) and Isabel Gose (1:54.91).

Men’s 100IM Semis

Andreas Vazaios, who won the 200IM on Friday, heads the field in 51.54 ahead of Marco Orsi (51.61) and Andrey Zhilkin (51.98), the trio the only men inside 52.

Women’s 50 Breaststroke Semis

Nika Godun led qualifying for Sunday’s final in 29.57 ahead of Benedetta Pilato (29.67) and Ida Hulkko (29.68).

Men’s 50 Breaststroke Semis

Emre Sakci set a championship record of 25.38 in the first semi, 0.13 off Van der Burgh’s world record.

He was the record-holder though for just a few minutes when Nicolo Martinenghi sliced 0.01 from the Turkish swimmer’s CR.

Shymanovich, fresh from his 200 victory, was third through in 25.43 with Kamminga progressing in seventh.

Men’s 100 Free Semis

Alessandro Miressi took 0.03 off his Italian record to storm to 45.87 in the first semi ahead of Stan Pijnenburg, whose time of 46.38 was a Dutch mark.

Robert-Andrei Glinta also set a national record, taking 0.06 off the Romanian mark he set in the heats in 46.68.

Kliment Kolesnikov set the fastest time in the second semi in 45.85 ahead of fellow Russian Ivan Grinev (45.95).

Kristof Milak (47.08) and Popovici (47.21) were ninth and 10th respectively and will be reserves.

Women’s 50 Fly Semis

Sjostrom scorched to 24.92 – the only woman inside 25 – with Silvia de Pietro (25.03) and Maaike de Waard (25.11) filling the top three slots.

Men’s 200 Back Semis

Lorenzo Mora headed the field in 1:50.17 ahead of Aleksei Tkachev (1:50.96) and defending champion Radoslaw Kawecki (1:51.40) with Evgeny Rylov also through.