2022 EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The opening finals session from the 2022 European Aquatics Championships at the famed Foro Italico pool in Rome is upon us, with medals on the line in three events tonight along with four rounds of semi-final action to get the competition underway.
This morning’s prelim session was a good one for the home squad, as Italy will have the maximum 12 swims tonight, including coming in with top seeds in the women’s 200 back (Margherita Panziera), men’s 100 breast (Nicolo Martinenghi) and the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay.
The lone individual final tonight will be the men’s 400 IM, where Hungarian David Verraszto will be seeking his sixth career medal in the event and fourth gold.
Verraszto, now 33, won consecutive silvers in 2010 and 2012 before reeling off three straight victories in 2014, 2016 and 2018, and then last year in Budapest he finished off the podium for the first time in more than a decade, taking fourth.
He comes in as the top seed after clocking a time of 4:15.52 in the prelims, with Spaniard Joan Lluis Pons Ramon (4:16.17), Italian Alberto Razzetti (4:17.21) and fellow Hungarian Hubert Kos (4:17.22) trailing.
Hungary will also occupy Lane 4 in the women’s 4×200 free relay final, as a quartet that included 16-year-old Lilla Minna Abraham leading off in 1:59.52 put up a time of 8:01.05 to narrowly lead the Netherlands (8:01.15) this morning.
Italy sits in third, while pre-race favorite Great Britain is lurking back in seventh.
The Italians lead the men’s 4×200 free after they produced a strong time of 7:09.03 this morning, with Gabriele Detti their quickest leg in 1:46.57. France (7:09.59) is a close second, with Wissam-Amazigh Yebba coming through with the fastest split in the entire field in 1:46.15.
The reigning Olympic champions from Great Britain averted disaster in the heats as they barely made the final, clocking 7:18.61 for eighth to narrowly get by Bulgaria (7:18.83). The Brits’ lone split sub-1:49.5 was Kieran Bird‘s 1:48.05. They’ll be able to sub-in Tom Dean and Matt Richards in the final, but early results indicate the swimmers may be fighting fatigue coming off the Commonwealth Games.
In addition to Panziera leading the women’s 200 back and Martinenghi heading up the men’s 100 breast, we’ll also see semi-final rounds of the men’s 50 fly and women’s 100 free, which will be the first two events on the program.
The 50 fly saw the Netherlands’ Nyls Korstanje blast the lone sub-23 time of the session this morning in 22.90, setting a new Dutch National Record, and he’ll be joined the only two World Championship finalists in the field, defending champion Szebasztian Szabo and Italian Thomas Ceccon, in the second semi tonight.
Ceccon was fifth at Worlds and is the fastest European this year among swimmers in the field with a time of 22.79. Szabo won the title in May of last year and has been as fast as 22.91 in 2022. The third Euro in the Worlds final, Ben Proud, scratched out of this event.
In the women’s 100 free, we also saw a top-seeded Brit scratch in the form of Anna Hopkin, who, like essentially all of the British roster, is coming off of racing the Commonwealth Games just last week.
France’s Charlotte Bonnet led the prelims and was the only woman to break 54 seconds in a time of 53.92.
The women’s 200 back semis are led by Panziera (2:09.27) and Hungarian teenager Dora Molnar (2:09.53), who were the lone sub-2:10s in the prelims. Panziera is the two-time defending champion and the top Euro finisher from Worlds after placing fourth in Budapest (2:07.27).
The men’s 100 breast had four swimmers crack 1:00 in the heats, as reigning world champion Martinenghi locked in the top seed in 59.08. Arno Kamminga (59.32), Federico Poggio (59.49) and Valentin Bayer (59.76) follow.
Just as Martinenghi became the first swimmer not named Adam Peaty to win the 100 breast world title since 2013 in June, the door is open for someone to do something similar tomorrow night as Peaty, who is not competing in Rome, has won the last four European titles dating back to 2014.
The lone scratch of the session comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Lana Pudar, who has dropped the women’s 100 free semis to open the door for Belgium’s Roos Vanotterdijk. Vanotterdijk notably won an upset gold medal over Pudar in the 100 fly at the European Junior Championships last month.
You can find the heat sheet for tonight’s finals session here.
MEN’S 50 BUTTERFLY – SEMI-FINALS
- World Record: 22.27, Andrii Govorov (UKR) – 2018
- European Record: 22.27, Andrii Govorov (UKR) – 2018
- European Championship Record: 22.48, Andrii Govorov (UKR) – 2018
- 2020 European Champion: Szebszatian Szabo (HUN), 23.00
- Nyls Korstanje (NED), 22.88
- Maxime Grousset (FRA), 22.90
- Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 23.14
- Diogo Matos Ribeiro (POR), 23.18
- Josif Miladinov (BUL), 23.20
- Andrii Govorov (UKR), 23.34
- Szebasztian Szabo (HUN), 23.36
- Simon Bucher (AUT), 23.39
Frenchman Maxime Grousset cracked the 23-second barrier for the first time to lead the first semi-final of the men’s 50 fly, clocking 22.90 to take down his previous best of 23.07. The 22-year-old is now just six one-hundredths shy of the French Record, held jointly by Fred Bousquet and Florent Manaudou at 22.84.
World record holder Andrii Govorov neared his season-best to take second in the semi in 23.34, having been 23.31 at the World Championships, while Austrian Simon Bucher rounded out the top three in 23.39.
That trio ended up being the only ones who made the final from Semi 1, as the second heat was a bit quicker, led by Nyls Korstanje.
The 23-year-old Korstanje reset his Dutch Record from the prelims by two one-hundredths, clocking 22.88 to edge out Grousset for the top seed. Korstanje now owns sole possession of 16th all-time in the event.
Thomas Ceccon clocked 23.14 to qualify third, while Portugal’s Diogo Matos Ribeiro (23.18) and Bulgaria’s Josif Miladinov (23.20) both set new National Records to advance fourth and fifth into the final.
Defending champ Szebasztian Szabo made his way through with the seventh-fastest time in 23.36.
WOMEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – SEMI-FINALS
- Charlotte Bonnet (FRA), 53.56
- Marrit Steenbergen (NED), 53.80
- Silvia Di Pietro (ITA), 54.13
- Freya Anderson (GBR), 54.33
- Beryl Gastaldello (FRA), 54.36
- Chiara Tarantino (ITA), 54.40
- Janja Segel (SLO), 54.57
- Maria Ugolkova (SUI), 54.79
France’s Charlotte Bonnet is showing that she’s on excellent form early on here in Rome, following up her sub-54 prelim swim with a blistering 53.56 in the semis to lead the women’s 100 free into the final.
The time for Bonnet marks her fastest swim since 2019, and shows a drastic improvement compared to her semi-final swim at the World Championships (16th in 54.73).
Her countrymate Beryl Gastaldello placed second in the heat and qualifies fifth into the final as she hits her fastest time since December 2020 in 54.36. Gastaldello recently made the move to train in France after briefly working alongside Coley Stickels in the U.S.
The Netherlands’ Marrit Steenbergen was in full control of the first semi, producing the second-fastest swim of her career in 53.80 to lead Italian Silvia Di Pietro (54.13). Di Pietro falls just .02 shy of her lifetime best.
Freya Anderson, the lone finalist from the 2020 championships who is racing this event here in Rome, was third in the first semi and advances fourth overall in 54.33. Anderson’s fastest time this year is the 53.92 she swam at the British Championships in April.
MEN’S 400 IM – FINAL
- World Record: 4:03.84, Michael Phelps (USA) – 2008 Olympic Games
- European Record: 4:04.28, Léon Marchand (FRA) – 2022 World Championships
- European Championship Record: 4:09.59, László Cseh (HUN) – 2008
- 2020 European Champion: Ilya Borodin (RUS), 4:10.02
- Alberto Razzetti (ITA), 4:10.60
- David Verraszto (HUN), 4:12.58
- Pier Andrea Matteazzi (ITA), 4:13.29
- Hubert Kos (HUN), 4:13.77
- Joan Lluis Pons Ramon (ESP), 4:14.31
- Thomas Jansen (NED), 4:18.42
- Emilien Mattenet (FRA), 4:19.36
- Richard Nagy (SVK), 4:22.98
Alberto Razzetti brought the Italian crowd to its feet in the first final of the 2022 European Championships, as he becomes the country’s first men’s 400 IM champion in 20 years with a decisive victory by nearly two seconds.
Razzetti held the early lead on fly, dropped back to second after being overtaken by David Verraszto on back, and then pulled away with the field’s fastest breaststroke split (1:09.56) en route to hitting a new season-best of 4:10.60.
Razzetti, who owns a best time of 4:09.91 from the Tokyo Olympics, goes over three seconds faster than he did at the World Championships in June, and becomes the first Italian winner of the event since Alessio Boggiatto in 2022.
At last year’s Euros, the 23-year-old Razzetti was the runner-up to Russian Ilya Borodin.
Verraszto wins his sixth career medal in this event, having won five straight from 2010 to 2018 before taking fourth last year. The Hungarian, who will turn 34 later this month, took the lead on backstroke and then couldn’t match Razzettis’ pace on breast, but held firm with a solid freestyle leg to win silver in 4:12.58.
Pier Andrea Matteazzi gave the fans more reason to cheer as it was an Italian 1-3, as he held off a hard-charging Hubert Kos to claim bronze in 4:13.29. Matteazzi owns a best of 4:12.79, set at last year’s Euros where he finished fifth.
Kos, 19, clocked 4:13.77 to take fourth, just shy of his personal best of 4:13.50 set earlier this year.
WOMEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE – SEMI-FINALS
- World Record: 2:03.35 – Regan Smith, USA (2018)
- European Record: 2:04.94 – Anastasia Fesikova, RUS (2009)
- European Championships Record: 2:06.08 – Margherita Panziera, ITA (2021)
- 2020 European Champion: Margherita Panziera, ITA – 2:06.08
- Margherita Panziera (ITA), 2:08.18
- Eszter Szabo Feltothy (HUN), 2:09.80
- Katie Shanahan (GBR), 2:09.82
- Dora Molnar (HUN), 2:09.88
- Laura Bernat (POL), 2:10.15
- Lena Grabowski (AUT), 2:10.78
- Camila Rodrigues Rebelo (POR), 2:11.05
- Africa Zamorano Sanz (ESP), 2:11.07
Two-time defending champion Margherita Panziera comfortably claimed the top seed into tomorrow night’s final of the women’s 200 backstroke, clocking the top time of the semis in 2:08.18.
Panziera, who turns 27 on Friday, is the fastest European woman the event this year by more than two seconds, having clocked 2:07.27 en route to her fourth-place finish at the World Championships.
Hungary’s Eszter Szabo Feltothy put up the second-fastest time overall from Panziera’s heat, clocking 2:09.80 to near her 2:09.62 PB from the Mare Nostrum Tour in Barcelona back in May.
Coming off of a successful Commonwealth Games performance, Great Britain’s Katie Shanahan topped the first semi-final and qualifies into tomorrow night ranked third overall with a time of 2:09.80.
Shanahan, 18, set a new personal best time last week in Birmingham in a time of 2:09.22.
16-year-old Hungarian Dora Molnar was the fourth woman sub-2:10, nearing her heats swim of 2:09.53 in 2:09.88 to advance in fourth.
MEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE – SEMI-FINALS
- World Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR) – 2019 World Championships
- European Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR) – 2019 World Championships
- European Championships Record: 57.10, Adam Peaty (GBR) – 2018
- 2020 European Champion: Adam Peaty (GBR) – 57.66
- Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA), 58.44
- Arno Kamminga (NED), 59.29
- Andrius Sidlauskas (LTU), 59.45
- Valentin Bayer (AUT), 59.59
- Federico Poggio (ITA), 59.66
- Bernhard Reitshammer (AUT), 1:00.08
- Lucas Matzerath (GER), 1:00.18
- James Wilby (GBR), 1:00.26
Reigning world champion Nicolo Martinenghi threw down the gauntlet in the second semi of the men’s 100 breaststroke, blasting his way to a time of 58.44 to qualify first overall by three-quarters of a second.
The time for Martinenghi is less than two-tenths shy of his personal best and Italian Record of 58.26, which he set en route to winning gold at the World Championships in June.
Also breaking the 1:00-barrier from the second semi was Lithuanian Andrius Sidlauskas (59.45) and Italian Federico Poggio (59.66), with Sidaluskas’ time marking his fastest of the year (previously 59.52).
Arno Kamminga, the silver medalist in this event at the 2021 Euros, 2021 Olympics and 2022 Worlds, topped the opening semi in a time of 59.29, using a strong back-half (31.26) to run down the Austrian duo of Bernhard Reitshammer and Valentin Bayer.
Bayer closed strong to touch second in the heat and fourth overall, clocking 59.59 to re-lower the Austrian Record of 59.76 he set in the prelims. Reitshammer, the owner of the old Austrian mark, was nearly eight-tenths quicker than the heats to advance sixth in 1:00.08.
The field will be rounded out by two swimmers who were in the World Championship final earlier this year: Germany’s Lucas Matzerath (1:00.18) and Great Britain’s James Wilby (1:00.26).
Wilby, who was fourth at Worlds, is coming off of winning the Commonwealth title in this event less than two weeks ago in 59.25.
WOMEN’S 4×200 FREESTYLE RELAY – FINAL
- World Record: 7:39.29, Australia – 2022 Commonwealth Games
- European Record: 7:45.51, Great Britain – 2009 World Championships
- European Championship Record: 7:50.53, Italy – 2014
- 2020 European Champion: Great Britain, 7:53.15
- Netherlands, 7:54.07
- Great Britain, 7:54.73
- Hungary, 7:55.73
- Italy, 7:58.83
- Germany, 7:59.89
- France, 8:01.82
- Poland, 8:03.04
- Sweden, 8:09.48
The Netherlands ultimately prevailed in what was a back and forth battle with Great Britain throughout the entirety of the women’s 4×200 free relay final, with the Hungarians also in the mix most of the way.
After diving in just one-tenth of a second apart, Marrit Steenbergen (1:56.26) out-dueled Freya Anderson (1:57.02) on the anchor leg to give the Dutch the relay victory in 7:54.07 as they earn their first-ever title in this event.
Joining Steenbergen on the Netherlands’ squad was Imani De Jong (1:58.97), Silke Holkenborg (1:58.92) and Janna Van Kooten (1:59.92).
The Brits, who had won the last two titles coming in, placed second in 7:54.73, with Freya Colbert (1:58.72), Lucy Hope (1:58.98) and Medi Harris (2:00.01) joining Anderson.
The Hungarians held the early lead with a 1:58.52 opening leg from 16-year-old Nikoletta Padar, and then Katinka Hosszu had a relatively poor 2:00.62 showing as they fell off the pace of the leaders.
Ajna Kesely (1:59.43) swam third and then another 16-year-old, Lilla Minna Abraham, had a blistering 1:57.16 anchor to solidify Hungary with the bronze medal in 7:55.73.
The Italians placed fourth in 7:58.83, while the Germans had a 1:56.93 anchor from Isabel Marie Gose as they finished fifth in 7:59.89.
MEN’S 4×200 FREESTYLE RELAY – FINAL
- World Record: 6:58.55, United States – 2009 World Championships
- European Record: 6:58.58, Great Britain – 2021 Olympic Games
- European Championship Record: 7:03.48, Russia – 2021
- 2020 European Champion: Russia, 7:03.48
- Hungary, 7:05.38
- Italy, 7:06.25
- France, 7:06.97
- Switzerland, 7:08.26
- Israel, 7:11.98
- Great Britain, 7:12.38
- Germany, 7:13.58
- Sweden, 7:18.73
Kristof Milak came through in the clutch for the Hungarians as they come away with the gold medal in the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay, setting a new National Record of 7:05.38.
France held the lead at the final exchange, thanks to a blistering front-half that saw Hadrien Salvan (1:46.50) and Wissam-Amazigh Yebba (1:45.92) get them out ahead of the pack, but Italy and France were only around a second back with 200 meters to go and both had strong swimmers to bring them home.
Milak split 1:44.42 on the end for Hungary, leading them to their first title in the event since 1954. Joined by Nandor Nemeth (1:46.28), Richard Marton (1:47.01) and Balazs Hollo (1:47.67), the Hungarians’ time of 7:05.38 broke the National Record of 7:06.27 the same quartet set at the World Championships in June.
- 49.59 (26.41)
- 1:16.74 (27.15)
- 1:44.42 (27.68)
The Italians had Stefano Di Cola anchor them home in 1:45.36, the second-fastest split in the field behind Milak, as they claimed silver in 7:06.25. This came after Italy missed the final at the World Championships, having clocked 7:10.16 there to finish ninth.
Joining Di Cola was Marco de Tullio (1:46.47), Lorenzo Galossi (1:47.91) and Gabriele Detti (1:46.51).
France held on for a medal, taking bronze in 7:06.97, while the Swiss team had three splits sub-1:46.5, including a 1:46.10 lead-off from Antonio Djakovic (fastest lead-off in the field) to place fourth in 7:08.26.
Israel (7:11.98) came in for fifth, while Great Britain showed the effects of their third major championship meet in less than two months, placing sixth in 7:12.38. Tom Dean, who had an extremely busy week of racing recently at the Commonwealth Games, was their fastest split in 1:46.69.
Germany’s Lukas Maertens showed solid form on their lead-off leg, clocking 1:46.22. With no one else sub-1:48 on their team, the Germans fell down to seventh in 7:13.58.
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