Morozov sets ER in breast, Hosszu wins 90th career medal
A couple of heroic efforts kicked off the 20th edition of the European Short-Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow. Russia’s Vladimir Morozov showed his magnificent versatility and clinched his first-ever title in breaststroke in style, with a new European Record in the 50m – and soon he added a second gold in the 4x50m free relay. Winning the 400m IM, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu claimed her 90th medal at major international meets and the 60th gold. Italy also had a great evening with five medals including a gold from Benedetta Pilato who bettered the junior WR three times this day in the 50m breaststroke.
Vladimir Morozov has always been recognised for his brilliance in the 25m pool, he has amassed 20 medals at the short-course Worlds and arrived here with 16 under his belt from s/c Europeans. Here he added two already, both gold, in a span of 15 minutes. What made his feat even more remarkable that he clinched the first one in the 50m breaststroke.
His speed amazed the swimming world in freestyle and backstroke sprinting events, in relays and in the 100m IM – but not in breaststroke (as an exception, he had one silver in 100m at the 2016 Worlds). This evening he upset the stroke’s specialists, however, what’s more, he smashed the European Record while clocking 25.51sec (Turkey’s Emre Sakci got silver, a first for his nation over this distance while the bronze was shared by Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli and Netherlands’ Arno Kamminga). Morozov was back soon and anchored Russia to a great win in the 4x50m free, ahead of Poland and Italy.
That was the fifth medal of the evening for the Italians. Earlier they achieved a 1-2 in the women’s 50m breast, Benedetta Pilato managed to reach a better speed than compatriot Martina Carraro and she improved the junior WR once more (29.32) after she had already bettered it in the heats and the semis.
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu routinely won the 400m IM for the third time after 2015 and 2017. What made this victory special was a double jubilee: it was her 90th medal at Olympics, World and European Championships (s/c included) and the 60th gold medal from these major meets. She could celebrate this in good company as team-mate Zsuzsanna Jakabos overtook Italy’s Ilaria Cusinato in the last 50m.
The opening day’s first final saw a fine comeback from Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki. The 28-year old ruled the 200m back between 2011 and 2016 by winning this event at all l/c Europeans, s/c Europeans and s/c Worlds. The past two years didn’t unfold as he expected though, but here in Glasgow his tremendous underwater-kicking and speed put him back to the top of the podium – it was his 7th s/c European gold in his career. Here Germany’s Christian Diener came second and Luke Greenbank delivered the hosts’ first medal, a bronze.
Danas Rapsys was no match for the others in the 400m free, at one stage the Lithuanian could even set his eyes to a new WR but at the end he settled for a new Championship Record – Thomas Dean had another podium swim for Britain by out-touching Italy’s Gabriele Detti for the silver.
The European Championships return on Thursday with eight finals in the evening session – the morning heats start at 9.30 (GMT) while the finals kick-off at 17.00 GMT.