Strong Italian finish, 8th medal for Kameneva
Italy produced a breath-taking finish on the last day of the European Junior Swimming Championships at Hodmezovasarhely (HUN) as they captured six titles. Still, Russia secured the top position on the overall medal table with two more golds. One of them went to Mariia Kameneva who clinched her 8th medal in the meet.
The Italian march was launched by Tania Quaglieri who won the 100m back and the next two women finals also saw Italian triumphs. Gulia Verona added the 100m breast title to her 200m win, while Ilaria Cusinato got some compensation in the 200m IM after she had been DSQd in the 400m on Day 1. Here Italy went 1-2 with Sara Franceschi coming second and the same happened in the men’s 100m breast where Nicolo Martinenghi and Federico Poggio reached for the wall first – a happy end for the champion after silvers in the 50m and 100m. The fifth gold arrived in the men’s 50m free where Giovanni Izzo scored a fine, 0.16sec gap win, and the men’s medley relay was also outstanding.
The last dash event among the women brought more glory to Russia’s Mariia Kameneva. She completed her magnificent journey by capturing the 50m fly title – her 8th medal at the meet, an amazing feat. She had four individual podium finishes (1st in 50m free and 50m fly, 3rd in 100m free and 50m back) and four more in the relays. Her compatriot, Egor Kuimov produced a fine swim over the 100m fly and finished 1-2 with Roman Shevliakov.
The men’s 200m free turned out to the most thrilling final in the entire event. The top two were separated by 0.03sec which favoured Poland’s Kacper Stokowski ahead of Moldavia’s Alexei Sancov. The battle for the bronze was even closer: three youngsters hit the wall in a span of 0.01sec. The third step of the podium was shared by Marton Richard (HUN) and Mateusz Arndt (POL), producing the first and only tie of the event, while the 400m champion, Moritz Brandt (GER) had to settle for the 5th place this time.
This afternoon Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez didn’t commit any mistake while besting the others in the 400m IM: after his disqualification in the 200m, this was his second gold (had one in the 200m back). The Spaniard finished ahead of two youngsters representing Europe’s medley nation, the host Hungarians.
On the last day the capacity crowd had to wait until the penultimate final to celebrate a home win. Their 4x200m free relay quartet seemed to be in a hopeless position at the half-way mark, turning 5th but in the third leg the gap became smaller and smaller, then came Ajna Kesely and her home-coming leg (1:57.60) couldn’t be matched by the others. This was her 4th gold of the meet, a promising premiere for a girl aged 15.
Altogether Hodmezovasarhely proved to be a worthy host for this event which saw 742 young swimmers representing 48 national federations. Twenty-three nations appear on the overall medal table, tying the record from the 2000 edition. Russia finished atop, though their dominance was less overwhelming than in the previous three editions when they earned 30+ medals, usually including 20+ golds (42 and 23 in Baku). The Italians could celebrate their second best showings ever (22 medals, 30 in Prague 2009), the Brits were also strong while the Hungarians enjoyed a significant jump after last year’s modest (0-1-2) performance.
Next year the city of Netanya (ISR) will welcome the best teenaged swimmers of the continent.
Champions, Day 5
50m free: Giovanni Izzo (ITA) 22.09
200m free: Kacper Stokowski (POL) 1:48.51
100m breast: Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA) 1:00.30 – CR
100m fly: Egor Kuimov (RUS) 52.39
400m IM: Hugo Gonzalez (ESP) 4:17.27
4x100m medley: Italy 3:37.06
100m back: Tania Quaglieri (ITA) 1:01.38
100m breast: Gulia Verona (ITA) 1:08.32
50m fly: Mariia Kameneva (RUS) 26.22 – CR
200m IM: Ilaria Cusinato (ITA) 2:13.03 – CR
4x200m free: Hungary 8:02.67
Overall medal table
Russia 11 5 6 22
Italy 9 8 5 22
Great Britain 5 4 10 19
Hungary 5 4 3 12
Spain 2 3 1 6
Poland 2 1 4 7
Germany 1 2 2 5
Sweden 1 2 1 4
Ukraine 1 2 0 3
Slovenia 1 1 2 4
Croatia 1 1 1 3
Denmark 1 1 0 2
Portugal 1 1 0 2
Serbia 1 0 1 2
Ireland 0 2 1 3
Czech Republic 0 2 0 2
Moldova 0 2 0 2
Bulgaria 0 1 0 1
Greece 0 0 2 2
Austria 0 0 1 1
Estonia 0 0 1 1
Finland 0 0 1 1
Israel 0 0 1 1