Records for Yuliya Efimova and Daniel Gyurta During First Day of European Junior Championships

By Oene Rusticus

ANTWERP, Belgium, July 18 THE 34th European Junior Swimming Championships started today in Antwerp, the main port city in Belgium. The meet in the Olympic Wezenberg Pool showed fast swimming with championship records for Yuliya Efimova in the 50 breaststroke and Daniel Gyurta in the 200 breaststroke.

The women's 400 IM was a close race between Caterina Brighi and Eleonora Tafi, both from Italy. Tafi took the lead in the breaststroke, but in the last 50 Brighi came close. The battle for gold was decided at the finish, when Tafi touched the pad first in 4:50.38, with a margin of just 0.05. Germany's Nina Schiffer took bronze in 4:50.90.

The women's 1500 and the men's 800 freestyle were added to the program of the European Junior Swimming Championships, making this a five-day event.

First victory in the 1500 went to Elena Sokolova (16:24.12), who was more than half a minute faster than Kira Parkhomenko (16:58.86), also from Russia. Hungary's Fanni Szeder swam 17:04.34 to collect bronze.

The final of the 50 breaststroke was won by Yuliya Efimova in 31.75. The Russian sprinter bettered the championship record of Kate Haywood (31.67) to 31.45 during the semis. Belgian Elise Matthysen won silver from lane one, just 0.01 second faster than Hanna Westrin from Sweden (32.36 to 32.37).

Mateusz Matczak from Poland was victorious in the 400 freestyle, as he lead the field from the start. Lengths ahead of his competitors, he finished in 3.51.34. Italy's Luca Baggio had the strongest finish and clocked 3:54.12 to earn a silver medal, just ahead of Israel's Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (3:54.83).

The 50 butterfly was a fierce battle and could only be decided by electronic timing. Konrad Czerniak from Poland clocked a winning time of 24.53, closely followed by Ivan Lendjar from Serbia (24.57) and Yauheni Lazuka from Belarus (24.59).

The 400 freestyle relay was a great battle between Germany in lane 5, Great Britain in lane 6 and Russia in lane 7. The home crowd favoured the Belgian team in lane 3, making this a great race to watch. Germany's anchor Dimitri Colupaev decided the battle with a split of 49.59, leaving Britain second in 3:21.50 to 3:22.36.

Russian sprint ace Sergey Fesikov false started, preventing his team to grab silver. In the morning heats, he slipped from the block in the 50 fly, making this a day for him to forget very soon. The Belgian guys were the lucky winner of this tragic event and moved up to bronze in 3:24.18, just ahead of the fastest qualifier Italy (3:24.28).

Top qualifier in the semis of the 200 breaststroke was Daniel Gyurta, who clocked a Championship record of 2:11.10. Dmitri Komornikov set 2:12.18 in 1999. Four years later Komornikov bettered the world record to 2:09.52.