New kids on the blocks: Wellbrock, Miressi, Milak rock the field
A bunch of youngsters rocked the competition on Day 3, all collecting their respective first ever golds among the seniors at a major event. 21 year-old Florian Wellbrock (GER) stunned the field in the 1500m free, Alessandro Miressi (ITA), 19, hit in first in the 100m free while Kristof Milak (HUN), 18, rattled Michael Phelps’ gigantic 200m fly WR split at the half-way mark before ending up winning with a Championship Record. Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) set a new junior WR in the semis of the 100m back, to join the party.
The top guns of Europe’s future generations offered some brilliant appetizer what we might witness in the coming decade when something big is at stake. Germany’s Florian Wellbrock upset the field in a couple of highlighted open water events recently before achieving what no other swimmer could do since 2013: he beat the king of the 1500m free Gregorio Paltrinieri in a long-course event. In fact, Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Romanchuk also finished ahead of the Italian, he managed to do that at the short-course Europeans last December in Copenhagen and he was ready to repeat the feat but Wellbrock bettered both of them while clocking the 4th best ever time in history.
Next came the blue-ribband event and Italy’s new teenage sensation Alessandro Miressi whose 46.99 anchor leg in the 4x100m free final already caught the eyes. He was just out of reach for the others this time, gained 0.2sec on Duncan Scott (GBR) and Mehdy Metella (FRA) as he landed his first big title.
Kristof Milak already made his name by clinching silver at the 2017 FINA Worlds in Budapest in the 100m fly, and the Hungarian wonderkid sent a killing message this spring in the 200m with a new junior world record (1:52.71, 0.01sec shy of the senior ER) which was all-time 3rd and second-best ever in textile. Now he was out for more and at the halfway mark even Michael Phelps’ giant shiny WR seemed to be in danger (he was 0.12 sec below the 2009 split). But Milak admittedly began too strong, was out of breath for the finish so he had to settle for a CR (1:52.79), with Tamas Kenderesi coming second, settling another Hungarian 1-2 after six years. Still, Milak’s destiny seems to be set: so far only Phelps and ER holder Laszlo Cseh were able to go under 1:52.8, now he did that twice in a span of four months.
Host Great Britain was delighted again by a great win of Georgia Davies who broke the ER in the heats of the 50m back, now she was just 0.02sec away from another record-breaking performance, good enough for gold. And the home crowd could applaud another victory as the men’s 4x200m free relay also struck gold.
Yulia Efimova claimed gold in the 100m breast, her first European triumph after eight years. She was the one who maintained the Russians’ golden streak here in Glasgow, since in the synchro pool they skipped the free combo event so that title went to the Ukrainians.
For the Russians more will come on Day 4 as Kliment Kolesnikov signed up for the 100m back final with a new junior WR (52.95) in the semis.