Final Session Witnesses Two World Records, A WJR And One European Mark As European SC End

Paltrinieri & Wellbrock 800 Kazan
Gregorio Paltrinieri & Florian Wellbrock, Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

There were two world records, a world junior record and a European mark on a breathless final evening at the European Short-Course Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Sarah Sjostrom claimed her fourth gold of the meet with the fifth-fastest 50 fly in history while Anastasia Kirpichnikova made it three titles when she added the 400 free to her 800 and 1500 crowns.

Ilya Shymanovich got the ball rolling when he matched Cameron van der Burgh‘s 50 breaststroke WR in 25.25.

Ilya Borodin then made his own history when he went 3:58.83 for gold in the 400IM to slice 0.32 from Daiya Seto‘s WJR of 3:59.15 which had stood to the Japanese swimmer since December 2012.

The last two races of the six-day meet then brought a European mark of 7:27.94 for Gregorio Paltrinieri in the 800 free as he lowered Yannick Agnel’s 2012 record.

In the final race, Thom de Boer propelled the Netherlands to gold and a world record of 1:36.18 in the mixed 4×50 medley relay after diving in at 150 in sixth.

Russia headed the standings with 11 gold, five silver and eight bronze medals ahead of the Netherlands (8, 5, 5) with Italy third with seven golds.

It could have been more for Russia but they were DQd from the mixed 4×50 free in which they won joint silver with Italy after violating the rules by not swimming in the order determined on the start list.

Kirpichnikova led the women’s overall rankings with Szebasztian Szabo – who won three golds and matched the 50fly WR – and Shymanovich sharing the men’s.

Italy took the team award after seven golds, 18 silvers and 10 bronze medals.

Borodin With WJR Mark

ilya borodin kazan

Ilya Borodin: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

It has been a year of highs and lows for Borodin who won the European long-course title in Budapest in May but was then forced to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for Covid.

The 18-year-old moved into second at the 100 behind Alberto Razzetti and was ahead by 150 before pulling away on the freestyle to take gold in a WJR time.

Razzetti took silver in 4:00.34 as the pair replicated their Budapest one-two finish with Hungary’s Hubert Kos third in 4:03.16.

It moved Borodin to sixth all-time and second in Europe behind Hungarian great Laszlo Cseh whose continental record stands at 3:57.27 and was the 16th-fastest swim in history.

Borodin said:

“I had a goal and I have achieved it.

“I don’t seem to be happy just because I’m kind of tired. Not really exhausted but I had to go through illnesses a couple of times in the year and bringing it home was not fun at all.”

Razzetti won the 200 fly and bronze in the 200IM and said:

“My wish was to stay in the game for the gold all the way until the end but tiredness took its toll but I’m satisfied anyway.

“I’m super content with my time which is my new personal best and a new national record.

“Before the Europeans I wanted to win two or three medals and I achieved that.

“When I draw the line, the feelings are more than positive. Well, to be honest, I wanted to swim 3:59 but today was just not the day I could do that. Still, I’m happy after all.”

Kos finished 0.12 off the podium in fourth in the 200IM and despite his time of 1:52.87 being a European junior record, it served to add further motivation.

The Hungarian said:

“This was a big revenge tour for all I had to go through here.

“All the disappointments, like not to make the podium in the 200m despite clocking a junior ER… – I wanted a medal at all costs, especially because our team is now fed up with all those fourth places.

“I’m really happy to have this bronze, though I can barely walk now.

“I knew the other Russian and Italian guys were the rivals to beat and before the freestyle I was aware that it was all up to me. I gave everything I had and now it’s all happiness I’m feeling.”

Paltrinieri And Wellbrock Inside Old European Record

Paltrinieri and Wellbrock were in a stroke-for-stroke duel with the Italian 0.05 ahead at halfway, 1.02secs inside European record time.

Come 600 and the placings were the same with 0.05 still separating them although they were 0.86 inside the continental mark.

The Italian was 0.16 ahead at 700 and led at 750 and on the final 25 held off a surge by the German with both men sprinting into the wall.

Paltrinieri touched in 7:27.94 to eclipse the European record of 7:29.17 that had stood to Yannick Agnel since November 2012.

Wellbrock was also inside the old mark in 7:27.99 with Sven Schwarz picking up his second bronze medal after the 1500 in 7:33.85.

Gregorio Paltrinieri

Gregorio Paltrinieri: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

Paltrinieri, who won silver behind Wellbrock over 1500, said:

“It was a fantastic race, it felt great to race with Wellbrock during that last 50m.

“We push each other with Florian and thanks to that Europe rules the longer distances.

“This was the premiere of the 800m in short-course and I’m really satisfied as I couldn’t have hoped for more: European record and a new personal best!

“I’ve been training and working last year on the final sprint and the results starting to show. I felt the opportunity to go ahead and I did it, that was somehow missing in my previous races.

“It’s been a fantastic championship for Italy, we won seven titles, which is a record and at European level we are doing very well.

“A lot of young swimmers are coming up and we make a great team. I think finally the whole mix helped everyone to grow self-confidence and give their best regardless of pressure.”

Wellbrock added:

“I really like my time, it is my fastest and it’s a national record. And I think this has been one of the fastest races Europe ever saw.”

Sjostrom: May The Fourth Be With You

Sarah Sjostrom was a fingernail ahead of Maaike De Waard at the turn but coming off the wall the Swede powered to victory in 24.50.

It was a new championship record, slicing 0.06 from Melanie Henique‘s time of 24.56 at Glasgow 2019, and a PB for Sjostrom, who took 0.02 off her previous best from 2017.

She stands behind only world record-holder Therese Alshammar – with the 2009 WR of 25.38 – and Ranomi Kromowidjojo in history.

Sarah Sjostrom 50 fly

Sarah Sjostrom: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

De Waard claimed silver in 24.97 with Silvia Di Pietro and Anna Ntountounaki tying for bronze in 25.09.

It was the four-time Olympic medallist’s fourth gold of Kazan following her titles in the 50 and 100 free and 100 fly with 2021 standing as testament to her mental and physical strength.

The 28-year-old underwent surgery on the elbow she fractured in a fall in February and her participation in Tokyo was under threat: despite that she won 50 free silver in Tokyo.


She said:

“I’m very happy with this gold medal. I swam my new personal best which was even more important for me than the championship record.

“I didn’t do many mistakes in the race and my turn was good.

“It feels great to come back to those times after the injury.

“I’m very happy with these Europeans. Prior to Kazan, I felt I was in a good shape. I’m happy that I was able to prove it.

“I have a very busy schedule ahead of me, and it feels good to know I’m entering it in such a good shape.

“I’m especially happy with my 50m fly as this is my first PB in more than four years in this event.

“For me, it makes a huge incentive after everything I’ve been through after my injury.”

Kirpcihnikova Makes It A Golden Treble

Anastasia Kirpichnikova & Anna Egorova

Anastasia Kirpichnikova & Anna Egorova: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

Anastasia Kirpichnikova led from start to finish to win in 3:59.18 and claim a golden hat-trick after wins in the 800 and 1500.

Anna Egorova made it a Russia one-two in 4:00.52 with Isabel Gose third in 4:01.37.

Kirpichnikova had missed the WR by just 0.29 in the 1500 free and she said:

“I had good impressions now, especially after my unlucky 1500m.

“I’m very happy, I thought I could clock a better time but so far this is fine too.

“I had a lot of support, congrats on social media and people around and that helped me to win this race too. Because it was my last swim in this championship and helped to have a mental stability.”

Kolesnikov Powers To 100 Free Title

The quality line-up promised a thriller of a race and so it turned out.

Kliment Kolesnikov was first at 50 with just 0.05 separating the Russian from Lorenzo Zazzeri and Alessandro Miressi.

The Italian was inches ahead at 75 but Kolesnikov’s supreme dolphin kicks and power propelled him ahead and he stopped the clock at 45.58.

Kliment Kolesnikov 100 free Kazan

Kliment Kolesnikov: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

Miressi was second in 45.84 with Vlad Grinev making it a Russia one-three in 46.06, a second 50 of 23.93 powering him to bronze.

Kolesnikov, who also won the 50 and 100 back, said:

“I’m very happy to win this title. I see what I can improve and also what I did very well.

“Especially in this race I have a few technical mistakes so let’s go forward and correct them.”

Men’s 100IM: Win For Orsi

Italy claimed their fifth title of the meet when Marco Orsi won in 50.95  – an Italian record – from Andreas Vazaios who upgraded his 2019 bronze in 51.72.

Bernhard Reitshammer was third in 51.91.

Women’s 200 Free: Steenbergen Takes Gold

Marrit Steenbergen led from start to finish to take the gold in 1:52.75 ahead of Barbora Seemanova (1:53.58) and Katja Fain (1:53.88).

Men’s 200 Back: Kawecki Defends Title

Double Olympic champion Evgeny Rylov withdrew despite qualifying fourth, the Russian having been ill before the championships and pulled out on Sunday realising he would not perform at a level that would meet his own expectations.

Michele Lamberti led at halfway but defending champion Radoslaw Kawecki overhauled him to take a 0.75 lead by 150.

Come 175 and the Pole was a body-length clear and he touched in 1:48.46 for Poland’s first gold of the meet.

Lorenzo Mora moved from third at 15o to take silver in 1:49.73 with fellow Italian Lamberti third in 1:50.26.

Women’s 50 Breaststroke: Castiglioni With The Touch

Ida Hulkko had the best start and turned first but it was Arianna Castiglioni who claimed the title in 29.66 after coming through in the last 10m for her first European short-course title.

Fellow Italian and defending champion Benedetta Pilato was second in 29.75 with Nika Godun edging out Hulkko by 0.02 for bronze in 29.80.