European Swimming Championships – Day 1 Heats Summary

MENS 400 FREESTYLE

First shock of the week’s competition comes in the first event. World Silver Medallist and Great Britain favourite, James Guy, finished 27th in this morning heats and will not be back to fight for silverware this evening. Although a time 3.52.91 in heavy training for Guy is not a disaster, he is likely to have expected to be a little closer than nearly 10 seconds away from the time he posted last month. He would have certainly expected to have a second go at it in the final in front of a home crowd. If he didn’t, then you have to ask, was there any point of swimming in an international event like this?

With Guy out of the picture, it leaves the door open for Stepjanovic, Bernek and Detti to take top honours. This lines up to be a great race. Detti is the fastest on paper, looked smooth this morning, and with such a strong 1500m in his repertoire he will close very well in the last 100 metres. Stepjanovic, who is the fastest seed and defending champion, is likely to have a very different approach. With his natural speed in the shorter events, he is likely to go out fast and shock the field. The question being is whether he can create enough of a lead that he can not be caught in the final stages. Second seed Bernek won’t be far away either and looked particularly good in qualifying.

WOMENS 50 BUTTERFLY

No surprises in this one. Sjoestroem, Otteson, Kromowidjojo and Halsall are all comfortably into the semi-finals this evening. Although the swimmers won’t have shown all their cards in the heats this morning, it is very difficult to see past Sjoestroem for the Gold. A special mention must go to Therese Alshammar. The Olympic, World and European medalist, who at the age of 38 is still competing at the highest level in swimming and sits 5th seed in the Semi-finals.

MENS 100 BACKSTROKE

Although everyone who was expected to qualfy for tonight’s semi-finals has and a some would have been saving themselves for a faster swim later, the two best known names on the international circuit, Lacourt and Walker-Hebborn, only just scraped in to the top 16. As good and as experienced as Lacourt is, only qualifying by two tenths of a second would not have been intentional and clearly indicates that this is another swimmer in heavy training who firmly has their mind on the Olympic Games instead.

You would expect Tarasevich, Sabbioni and Kawecki to go much faster tonight, however the No.1 seed, Glinta from Romania, posted a time (53.43) that will be difficult to beat if he can continue to repeat that performance in both the semi-final and the final.

WOMENS 400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY

Katinka Hosszu has started her week off with a bang, as she breaks her own Championship record and only one second off the European record. The time of 4.30.97 was over 6 seconds ahead of Britain’s Aimee Willmott and Hannah Miley. Although it looks like a race against the clock for Hosszu later, it is a great opportunity for GBR to get themselves on the medal table on the first night.

MENS 100 BREASTSTROKE

A very impressive heat swim from Great Britain’s Adam Peaty this morning, who has a notable ability to swim fast every time he gets behind the block regardless of whether it is a prelim or final. GBR No.2 Murdoch finds himself as second seed with a very professional sub 60 second performance, but he will need to keep an eye on Lithuania’s Titenis. Titenis, who is one of very few  breaststrokers who have the ability to post world class times in all three distances, looked strong and powerful this morning.

Craig Benson highlighted Great Britain’s quality in this event, as he came 6th in today’s heats but will not return for the semi-finals as only 2 per nation are allowed to progress.

WOMENS 200 BACKSTROKE

Hosszu was back in the water for this one, and yet again she put on a demanding display. Zevina, the short course specialist, looked composed this morning and will be Hosszu’s biggest threat for the gold. Even so, you do feel that for Hosszu it is more about managing her energy through the rounds and the title will be hers.

Two youngsters and future GBR stars, Kathleen Dawson and Charlotte Evans, both made it back for the semi-finals. This will be an invaluable experience for the two of them, and something they will want to push on from.

MENS 50 BUTTERFLY

Anton Govorov was quite literally flying this morning when he clocked a demanding 23.00. This is the fastest time of the year and left Great Britain’s Ben Proud over half a second behind. In a sprint event like this that is a huge distance, and Govorov has most definitely put down a marker that most won’t be able to rise to.

The above all points towards and intriguing night of European sport in the London  Aquatics centre. Enjoy!

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