European Championships Berlin, Day 6 Finals
Aug 23, 2014 - James Parrack
Day 6 Finals
A wild night in Berlin ended up with Germany raising the roof with a come from behind win the final event of the night, the men’s 4 x 200m free. Biedermann’s 1:44.95 anchor leg was enough to run down Russia, who themselves had taken over from a huge lead from France at the midpoint thanks to a 1:46.06 from Agnel. But the grandstand finish belonged to Germany, to ignite a vocal crowd that had enjoyed another riveting session. Belgium won bronze thanks to a 1:45.17 anchor leg from Pieter Timmers.
Mireia Belmonte finally won her first gold at the end of a long week with a well judged win in the 1500m free, setting a championship record 15:57.29, to finish ahead of Boglarka Kapas, who had won bronze in the 800m earlier in the week. The Spaniard had a little more rest than last night before heading into the 200 fly semi finals, where the Olympic silver medallist in this event clocked a 2:06.53 to lead her team mate Judit Ignacio into the final tomorrow. The Hungarians Hosszu and Jakabos are also both safely through.
It was a night of throwing doubles as Hosszu picked up her 5th medal of the week, this time a silver in the 200m free, finishing behind the 2008 Olympic champion and double world champion and world record holder Frederica Pellegrini. The Italian won in 1:56.01, with Femke Heemskerk winning bronze, her fourth medal of the week to go with the three silvers already in the kitbag.
It was a also a night of doubles for Poland, who have waited all week for a gold and then win two in the same session. Konrad Czerniak, the world silver medallist from 2011 won the 100m fly by half a second in front of Laszlo Cseh, who himself only made it into the final after winning a swim off yesterday. It was the Hungarian’s 48th medal at Olympic, World and European championships. Pavel Sankovich (BLR) won the tightest of finishes for bronze, as three swimmers were separated by only 0.09 sec.
Czerniak then doubled up in the 50m free, his 22.06 good enough to make it to the final, whereupon he hopped out of the pool, pulled on his tracksuit and blowing hard and soaking wet, collected his gold for the 100m fly he had won 15 minutes earlier.
Poland won again in the men’s 200m backstroke in a great race as the defending champion and European record holder Radoslaw Kawecki sat back in the field, turned in 6th place at the 100, then hammered his turns to run down the outside smoker, local hero Christian Diener, who hung on from lane 1 for silver. Gabor Balog won a tight finish for bronze, touching 0.05 ahead team mate Peter Bernek.
There were doubles too for Great Britain. Fran Halsall, fresh from double gold in the 50m free and 50m fly at the Commie Games, struck gold for Britain in the 50m back, where GBR doubled up on the podium with Commie champion in the 50m back, Georgia Davies, relegated to silver behind her team mate and club mate in Loughborough. Mie Nielsen, the joint winner of the 100m back had to settle for bronze, and she looked pretty disappointed with it. At least after the race she did. Not on the podium of course, where is all smiles. The top three were separated by 0.07 sec. When finishes are that close, you start thinking that maybe the 50m back needs to be a bit of a longer race... 100m for example.
Then Halsall took off the medal, put it in her pocket, presumably, and walked briskly to the other end of the pool for the 50m free semi’s, splitting Sjoestroem and Ottesen as the top three into the final. Therese Alshammar, 37 next week is also through. Alshammar is amazing. The Swede won Olympic silver in this event in 2000, and was 6th 12 years later in London. She was 7th in the World Championships in Perth in 98 and won the event 13 years later in 2011. She is a four time European champion in the sprint, winning bronze in 1997 and gold in 2010.
It was a double for GBR as Peaty won double gold in the breaststrokes. The winner of the 100m and world record holder in the 50m from the semi’s yesterday, didn’t get the best of starts, but gave a trademark surge through the field to stop the clock in 27.00. Titenis (LTU) and Dugonjic (SLO) won the minor medals. For Dugonjic, it is Slovenia’s first and only medal of their trip to Berlin. Um... he will celebrate with a double whopper with cheese later?
That gold medal win put GBR back on top of the medals table with one day to go: their 6 gold among 19 medals is the best return from a British team ever at the Europeans. And that’s without a full strength team.
In the men’s 50m free, Olympic champion Flo Manaudou is looking to double up in the freestyle sprints as the man mountain heads the rankings with a 21.57. He is 0.37 ahead of Ben Proud, who trains in Plymouth with a Lithuanian school girl called Ruta.
Ruta Meilutyte is a whopping 0.86sec clear of the Jennie Johansson at the top of the rankings for the final of the 50m breast tomorrow night. Mariya Liver (UKR) won the swim off with Rikke Moeller Pedersen for the a place in the final. Her 31.23 was a tenth quicker than she swam in the semi final. Probably didn’t warm up enough.
And speaking of doubles, Glasgow will do a hosting double : Commie Games in 2014 and, hot off the press from LEN, European championships 2018.
James Parrack is a Eurosport Swimming Commentator and co-founder of the BEST Swim Centre, Mallorca