Golden duel on: Russia leads 7-6 vs. GB
Russia held on for a 7-6 lead in the gold medal count over host Great Britain in the Tollcross International Swimming Centre at the European Championships in Glasgow. Day 5 saw two titles apiece in the swimming competitions, Duncan Scott’s triumph in the men’s 200m free stood out though as he came first while swimming in lane 8. In the synchro pool the Russians bagged three more golds while the Brits doubled down the diving events in Edinburgh.
Duncan W Scott’s road to the men’s 200m free final was everything but an easy cruise. He was 11th in the heats and caught the last available spot in the semis so he was the first one introduced before the final while walking to lane 8. Few would have guessed that he would be also the first at the wall some 1:45 minutes after the start – but Scott just did that. While the top guys battled in the middle he sailed away on the ‘wing’ and scored a seemingly easy win, the gap was 0.73sec ahead of Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys in lane 4. It was GB’s first win in this event since 1997.
The second title came in a business as usual style: the Brits won the session-ending relay on the third consecutive evening, this time their women’s 4x200m free relay touched in first.
It means they keep the pace of the Russians who also claimed two titles. Yuliya Efimova added the 200m crown to the 100m with another overwhelming performance. In the 100m back, Anastasiia Fesikova managed to out-touch the champion of the 50m Georgia Davies by 0.17sec (a different outcome would have changed the lead in the medal table).
Though Ukraine’s Andriy Govorov couldn’t repeat his record-breaking performance from one month ago when he brought down the 50m fly WR in Rome, still, he was clearly the best in the dash while retaining his title. Italy’s Simona Quadarella claimed her second victory here, she comfortably finished atop in the 1500m free, just like in the 800m.
In the synchro pool, the last three titles on offer all went to the Russians as expected. They defended the titles in the mixed duet free, the solo and the duet free – Svetlana Kolesnichenko earned two golds in a span of three hours. As a bonus, she also received the 2017 LEN Awards (and set herself to repeat her win after this season too). Italy’s Giorgio Minisini was a bit upset after the silver in the mixed but he was consoled at the end as he received the historical first LEN Award given to a male synchro swimmer.
The Brits enjoyed a tremendous day in the diving pool in Edinburgh. Lois Toulson and her new pair Eden Cheng landed the 10m synchro title while Jack Laugher captured his first-ever individual victory at the Europeans as he came first in the 1m event.