Vladimir Morozov Wins Seven Golds As Russia Finish Atop The Medal Table At European SC

vladimirmorozovb7gold
Vladimir Morozov - gold No 6 in the bag, one shot to go - Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

European Short-Course Championships

Glasgow, Day 5 Finals and Semi-Finals 

Vladimir Morozov finished the European Short-Course Championships with seven gold medals after he won the 100m freestyle and rounded off the competition with the breaststroke leg as Russia delivered a thunderous title-winning performance in the men’s 4x50m medley relay.

Teammate Kliment Kolesnikov made three trips to the top of the podium today to take his total to six gold medals as well as setting a new 50m backstroke championship record of 22.64 on the lead-off in the men’s 4x50m medley relay.

Kolesnikov was named Best Male Performer with Kira Toussaint, the Netherlands backstroke specialist who won three golds among five medals, voted Best Female.

Russia dominated the meet, with 13 golds among 22 medals. The Russians finished a close second in the Team Trophy race that grants points for gold, silver and bronze as well as all places in finals. Italy, with its entire national team in town, claimed the trophy with 1186 points to 1046 for Russia and with the hosts Great Britain, with only 11 swimmers racing and the likes of Adam Peaty bypassing the meet, third on 793. Russia topped the men’s points, while Italy’s women were a league apart own points.

WADAThe mood of celebration as the European Swimming League (LEN) event came to a close, especially among Russians and European federation governors, may not last long: the board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meets tomorrow to decide whether to adopt the recommendations of the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to impose four more years of penalties on all Russian sport in the wake of revelations of extensive manipulation off doping samples and data handed over to the doping guardians after a deadline had passed last January.
Phase two of the Russian doping scandal, systematic and deep-seated cheating in the mix according to inquiry findings at WADA and related investigations authorities, independent and otherwise, will unfold this week if WADA tick the ‘non-compliant’ box once more.
Among sanctions could be a ban on Russia hosting events and a ban on the use of the Russian flag at any international sports events for the next four years.
The European Swimming League announced this week that Kazan, Russia, has been selected to host the 2021 European short-course Championships and the 2024 European Long-Course Championships. The 2021 event may have to be cancelled if WADA adopts the CRC recommendations.
Meanwhile, as calls for WADA to take a no-tolerance stance grow louder, the story of manipulated data is not done. Swimming World understands that swimming is among sports that has cases pending, some dating back to 2015, related to doping-sample data that was manipulated.
Just as Glasgow action came to and end, one member of the WADA Counsel, Linda Helleland, tweeted: “On my way to WADA ExCo- meeting in Lausanne.It was a mistake to make RUSADA compliant BEFORE we got the data. Now we have them. Manipulate.
Time for WADA and IOC to install strongest sanctions possible, in the biggest SportScandal EVER #CleanAthletes #CleanSport.”
Morozov would not be drawn about the possible outcome of tomorrow’s meeting, saying: ““I am not going to answer that question.”
Kliment KOLESNIKOV of Russia competes in the men's 50m Backstroke Heats during the 20th LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)

Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Kolesnikov followed his older team-mate through the mixed zone, where athletes and reporters meet, his hands full of medals and the best male award with his puce cap and goggles resting on top.

The 19-year-old wrestled with the answer when asked the same question, saying: “I wasn’t so informed about this situation so I’ll just hear from someone what will be. I am not so worried about it.

“Let’s not speak about these questions about the Olympics. I don’t like to be speaking about this.

“I am not thinking about this now: I just won the gold medals, won the European Championship, I just want to relax, have a good night and then we’ll see.”

Of whether the administration of sport and the doping process in Russia has improved, he continued:

“I can’t speak for everyone in Russian sport so everyone is looking for himself. I don’t know who is going to be disqualified….there are so many other situations with other athletes, not only with Russians. This year, last year. I don’t like when someone is speaking about Russia like we are a dirty nation.

“As I said, we will see. I am not thinking about it all. I just keep swimming. Keep swimming. That’s it.”

Championship Quick Links:

vladimirmorozovfire2

Vladimir Morozov – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

With individual gold medals in the 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke – the latter won in a European record of 25.51 – plus three trips to the top of the podium in the relays, Morozov was the most decorated swimmer of the championships coming into the final session.

He started Sunday’s bid for seven golds in the 100m freestyle and rose ahead, never to be challenged until Alessandro Miressi started to eat into his lead on the final 50 but Morozov was a clear winner in 45.53.

Miressi was second in 45.90 ahead of Morozov’s Russia team-mate Vladislav Grinev in 46.35.

The 27-year-old then swam the breaststroke leg as Russia won the men’s 4x50m medley relay in 1:30.63 ahead of Hungary and Belarus, who were elevated to bronze after Germany’s DQ, one of three following the race.

It was seventh heaven for Morozov, who told Swimming World:

“This is my best performance ever. The best was in 2013 with six, this time it’s seven.

“As far as the medal I think the best was the 50 breaststroke because that was very, very unexpected and I got a European record.

“I was racing at the world Cups and ISL so I was not as fresh probably as I could have been. So all that racing was geared to this competition.”

Kolesnikov was also eyeing multiple trips to the top of the podium. The 19-year-old  began the session with three golds and was targeting the 50m backstroke and 100m individual medley titles before leading off the medley relay.

After qualifying for the 50 back final, the 19-year-old won the 100IM title, overhauling a clear lead held by fellow Russian Sergei Fesikov on the freestyle leg to win in 51.15, his team-mate second in 51.59.

The teenager got his second gold in the 50m backstroke in 22.75. Christian Diener of Germany was second in 23.07 as he completed a clean sweep of silver medals in the three backstroke events with Ireland’s Shane Ryan taking bronze in 23.12.

The Energy Standard swimmer then claimed his third title in the medley relay, leading off with a thundering 22.64 to cut 0.10secs off the championship mark set by Stanislav Donets in 2010 when Kolesnikov was 10.

The only blot on his programme came when he failed to make the 200 back final in which he was defending champion although he was not concerned.

He told Swimming World: “I wasn’t ready to miss the finals but I was ready for a not good result. When I missed the final I was ready for the rest of the days.

“I was not crying, sitting in my bed in my room with a pillow – it happens sometimes. That is not a problem. Just keep swimming and every day gets better and better.

Of the intensity of his final-night session, he said: “It’s not my first time I am doing all these distances in one day so it was not a problem for me.”

Women’s 4x50m Medley Relay

A scorching freestyle leg of 23.26 by Katarzyna Wasick propelled Poland from third to first as they claimed the penultimate title of the championships. The Polish quartet clocked 1:44.85 ahead of Italy (1:44.92) and Russia (1:44.96) as Kameneva won her fifth medal of the meet.

Wasick said:

“We have an amazing team behind us. I just closed my eyes and I tried to focus as it came right after the 50m free final. We didn’t expect to win this relay. We tried to enjoy it as much as possible. Now we are over the moon!”

Women’s 50m Freestyle

Maria Kameneva claimed her third gold medal of the meet with victory in 23.56. Melanie Henique booked her fourth trip to the podium with silver in 23.66 with Olympic champion Pernille Blume of Denmark clinching bronze in 23.73.

Kameneva said: “This is my first gold medal at the European Championships. I didn’t expect this to happen here, because the second day of the event was very tough for me. Now I’m really satisfied and delighted!”

Men’s 200m Butterfly

Andreas Vazaios won his second gold of the competition when he pulled away on the final 50 to add butterfly gold to his 200IM title. There was nothing to choose between Vazaios, Ramon Klenz and Aleksandr Kharlanov at the 150m mark, the trio occupying the centre lanes, but the Greek pulled away to win in 1:50.23 ahead of Germany’s Klenz (1:51.51) with Britain’s James Guy thundering down the final 25 to clinch bronze by o.o2 from Kharlanov in 1:51.73. It was Vazaios’ second medal of the session after he took bronze in the 100IM with just half an hour between races.

He said: “It’s part of my strategy to swim the 200m this way, to make the last 50m at a maximum speed. I’m really so, so happy! My performance was great. It was so hard to get this gold but everything went great. I’m happy with both my times (in the 100m IM and 200m fly). To tell you the truth, the bronze in the IM just fired me up for this final. I took the lead and tried to keep my head down and win. And I did it!”

It was Guy’s first international solo medal since he took 100 fly bronze at the 2018 long-course Europeans at Tollcross.

“I feel great,” he said. “I raced hard and smart. I knew I had a chance for a medal and just fought for that. And I’m getting stronger again.”

Women’s 400m Freestyle

Simona Quadarella added the 400 title to her 800 gold after going ahead at 350m and holding off the challenge of Isabel Gose and Ajna Kesely, the three of them in their own private battle for much of the race. The Italian won in 3:59.75 ahead of Germany’s 17-year-old Gose (4:00.01), swimming from lane seven, and Kesely of Hungary (4:00.04). Notable was Freya Anderson who came fourth in 4:01.11, a performance indicative of serious endurance and versatility in a sprinter who has made a serious impact on the solo international stage.

Quadarella said:

“Amazing! I can’t believe it. I tried to start as fast as I could. For me, the 400m is very difficult but I gave everything I had.”

There were mixed feelings for Gose, who had led at halfway. She said: “I’m happy for the medal but my time was off by 1.5sec of my PB. I know this is my first medal at a senior European Championships, still, the time is not so good.”

Kesely took gold in the 4x200m free on her senior international debut at the 2016 European Championships in London before double silver and bronze at Tollcross in 2018.

There was a definite sense of frustration as she said:

“I need to wait for my turn, it seems. I have to train more to turn a swim like this to gold. Anyway, I’m happy with this medal but in my dreams I wanted gold in this race. I wished to beat one of the national records in my events but short-course doesn’t really suit me.”

Women’s 100m Butterfly

AnastasiyaShkurdai2

Anastasia Shkurdai celebrates gold and a European junior record in the 100m butterfly at the European Championships in Glasgow – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Anastasiya Shkurdai of Belarus set a new European junior record en-route to victory, the 16-year-old from Belarus winning in 56.21 with Elena Di Liddo of Italy second in 56.37 and Anna Ntountounaki of Greece third in 56.44.

Shkurdai, who like Kolesnikov trains at Energy Standard in Antalya, Turkey, beamed: “I am happy! I don’t believe this happened to me!”

Di Liddo added: ”I’m very happy and satisfied. I was expecting a very competitive race as we all have similar personal bests. At least I had fun swimming in this final.”

For Ntountounaki, getting her hand to the wall third to make the podium was a complete shock.

“I told myself to go out as fast as possible and see what happens. It was enough to make an unexpected medal and now I’m crying in happiness.”

Women’s 200m Breaststroke

mariatemnikova

Maria Temnikova on her way to 200m breaststroke gold at Glasgow 2019 Europeans – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Russia’s Mariia Temnikova won gold after overhauling long-time leader Molly Renshaw with 35m to go. Renshaw led at the 150m mark when Temnikova attacked, the pair going for stroke with the 22-year-old extending her lead on the final 25 for victory in 2:18.35, the Briton taking silver in 2:19.66. Martina Carraro claimed bronze to add to 100m gold and 50m silver.

For Temnikova there was the satisfaction of job well done and mission accomplished as she said:

“I’m extremely happy, because I’ve done the task. I fought hard to be in the final and to get this medal.”

Renshaw, who won bronze at last year’s European Championships here at Tollcross, had a definite race plan. She said: “I decided to go out fast and see if I were able to keep the pace till the end. The last 50m was a bit difficult but I’m satisfied with my achievement.”

For Carraro there was great excitement after she claimed a full set of medals, saying:

“Oooh, that was really unexpected! After my gold and silver medals I was missing a bronze. And I just got it today, so it’s a complete set in Glasgow!”