Hungary finished atop the swimming medal table, producing its best-ever European Championships run, for the first time with double digits for gold medals. The hosts also had a great finish and with two titles in the medley relays they came first in the overall medal haul. In swimming Italy clinched the Championship Trophy.
Hungary and Great Britain made a perfect 10 respectively – the Magyars achieved this in the swimming pool and the hosts in swimming and diving. As for the last day’s action, the Hungarians maintained their reign in the men’s 400m IM. Since 2004 only Hungarians have captured titles here, and now David Verraszto retained his crown with a convincing performance. Slovakia’s Richard Nagy – coming from the Hungarian minority living there – earned the silver and Italy’s Federico Turrini claimed the bronze.
Soon afterwards Boglarka Kapas added the 10th gold to the nation’s tally, achieving the long-distance hat-trick for the first time at the Europeans by winning the 400m, 800m and 1500m free at the same meet. This time title-holder Jaz Carlin (GBR) couldn’t match her rival’s speed at the end (at the short-course in Netanya she was able to catch Kapas at the finish), while Spain’s Mireia Belmonte was a distant third.
A bit earlier Hungary was extremely close to another win, in fact Liliana Szilagyi led almost all the way in the 200m fly but Germany’s Franziska Hentke passed her in the last centimetres and won by the tiniest margin possible (0.01sec). Judit Ignacio Sorribes (ESP) was also close to the top two, trailing only 0.29sec behind Hentke.
The session’s opening dash events saw some deja vu winners: just as four years ago at the Olympics, the 50m free crowns went to France’s Florent Manaudou among the men and Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands among the women – interestingly, this was the first individual European title for sprint queen Ranomi.
The women’s breaststroke dash turned into a Nordic party. With Sweden’s Jennie Johansson touching in first, the next three hit the wall in a span of 0.08sec. The silver was grabbed by Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir (the Iceland swimmer completed a medal hat-trick in the breaststroke with two silvers and one bronze), while the bronze was snatched by Jenna Laukkanen from Finland.
The event finished on a real high as the medley relays created a magnificent atmosphere, with the British quartets delivering both in the women’s and in the men’s events. Adam Peaty’s 58.08 breaststroke leg was the most outstanding effort in the mix, and he finished his home campaign with four titles (two individual, two relay), the most in the male field. The queen of the meet was Katinka Hosszu with four golds and a silver, only matched by compatriot Boglarka Kapas with four titles.
The quality of the swimming Europeans was highlighted by 21 Championship records broken, and courtesy of Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri a European record also fell in this week. It was also the meet’s best individual effort, based on FINA points (989, 14:34.04 in the 1500m free), among the women Sarah Sjostrom’s 100m fly swim tops this ranking (986 – 55.89 in the 100m fly).
Italy clinched the Championship Trophy with 702 points, ahead of Hungary (577) and Great Britain (564), while Hungary topped the swimming medal table for the third time in the history of the Europeans (1954, 2012, 2016). The overall medals favour the British hosts, who staged really unforgettable championships in the London Aquatics Centre. And in only a little more than two years the Old Continent’s aquatic elite will return to Great Britain as Glasgow will host the 2018 edition.
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