Russia storms to 13 gold, Morozov finishes with 7 titles, Italy clinches Championship Trophy
Russia added 6 gold medals to its tally on the closing day in Glasgow to top the medal charts with 13, almost tying Germany’s all-‐time record of 14 titles from the very first edition in Rostock 1996. Vladimir Morozov indeed set a new record by clinching 7 titles (he won the 100m free and was part of the victorious medley relay on Sunday) – this is the best-‐ever single-‐edition individual haul in history. Team-‐mate Kliment Kolesnikov and Netherlands’ Kira Toussaint received 20.000 euros each as the top performers of the meet, while Italy claimed the Championship Trophy.
Russia stood with 7 gold medals before the closing day then almost doubled that number amassing six in the last session thanks to a series of remarkable swims.
Vladimir Morozov pulled off his third individual title by winning the 100m free with ease, then he was part of Russia’s triumphant medley relay, together with Kliment Kolesnikov who bagged two individual golds in an hour (100m IM, 50m back). Morozov finished the meet with 7 golds, eclipsing Katinka Hosszu’s record of 6 gold and 1 silver (though the Hungarian claimed all in individual events in Netanya 2015). Kolesnikov was just one shy with six titles.
The Russian women brought two more to the treasury this evening: Mariia Temnikova won the 200m breast with a great finish ahead of GB’s Molly Renshaw and Maria Kameneva touched in first in the 50m free – this was Russia’s first-‐ever medal in the dash, stylishly a gold.
So six out of 10 went to the Russians – the remaining four were won by four different nations. Italy’s Simona Quadarella came first in a brilliant race in the 400m free, ahead of Germany’s Isabel Gose and Hungary’s Ajna Kesely. It was a neck-‐by-‐neck battle from the halfway turn but at the end Quadarella managed to add this one to her crown in the 800m free – and snatch the first-‐ ever Italian win in this distance.
Greece also enjoyed an exceptionally great evening with Andreas Vazaios leading the charge. The Greek hero earned a bronze in the 100m IM and 20 minutes later he left everyone’s behind in the 200m fly, to claim his second gold and third medal here. Another bronze went to Hellas, courtesy of Anna Ntountounaki who was third in the 100m fly. In this latter event the 16 year-‐ old Belorussian Alexandra Shkurdai hit the wall first and she set a new junior European record (56.21).
The meet-‐closing medley relays produced fantastic thrillers. The women’s race saw arguably the biggest upset of the week as the Polish quartet managed to out-‐touch the Italians and the Russians – the top three hit the wall within 0.11sec. This was the first-‐ever gold for Poland in this event, so far a bronze was their best showing back in 2011, at home in Szczeczin.
Then came the men, here the Russians were a cut above the rest – but behind them it was an incredible tussle for the podium. Hungary’s Maxim Lobanovskii, after a 0.02sec take-‐over, clocked a world-‐class 20.29sec anchor leg, pushing his team from 6th to 2nd. However, for unusually long minutes almost all the teams stared at the scoreboard, swimmers tried to recall whether they had risky takeovers while the referees were watching the overhead replays on the screen in the timekeepers’ room. Tensions ran high then it turned out why the officials had needed a bit more time: no less than three quartets had to be disqualified, including third-‐placed Germany (the butterflier jumped too early, –0.08sec) so the bronze landed at the Belorussians’ neck who celebrated so wildly as if they had been the champions.
Russia finished the event with 13 titles (22 medals altogether), ahead of Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary and Great Britain. Interestingly, the individual best performances came in the 100m back both among the men and the women, Kliment Kolesnikov’s (986 FINA points) and Kira Toussaint’s (992) effort is worth a bonus of 20.000 euros respectively.
Though the Russians’ achievement has a golden lining, the Championship Trophy went to Italy – they amassed 20 medals (also an all-‐time best effort) and scored the highest number of points, 1186, 140 more than the Russians.
In two years time the top medal collectors can swim at home, as the European Short-‐Course Swimming Championships will return in 2021 in Kazan (RUS).