Day 6 Highlights: Swimming & Diving

Specialists completed their respective missions: Hungary’s Kristof Milak made the 100-200m butterfly double en route to finishing the meet with 5 medals; home hero Nicolo Martinenghi had the 50-100m breast golds; while compatriot Margherita Panziera added the 100m crown to her 200m back title. Netherlands’ Marrit Steenbergen claimed a sixth medal, soon Britain’s Freya Anderson caught her up as she was a member of another triumphant British relay. Italy and GB could also celebrate respective wins in the diving competitions at Roma 2022.


Image Source: Clive Rose/Getty Images

As expected, history was made on the penultimate day of the swimming meet when Sarah Sjostrom hit the wall first in the 50m free with a world-best time of the season to add to the same event title she won earlier this summer at the 19th FINA World Championships.

This gold placed Sarah Sjostrom atop of the all-time individual medal charts of the Europeans: she has now 27 medals (16 gold, 7 silver, 4 bronze) and leads the ranks alone, leaving Russia’s Alexander Popov behind. The Swede was no match for the others, gained 0.29sec on Poland’s Katarzyna Wasick while Valerie van Roon of the Netherlands was a distant third. 

Sjostrom won her first title back in Eindhoven 2008 in the 100m fly, a feat she repeated a year later here in Rome at the Worlds). Sjostrom's 16th European title comes 14 years later, showing her incredible durability and presence in the sport. While she bagged her fourth medal here, there are others whose count stands at six here in Rome. Marrit Steenbergen added a silver to her tally after finishing runner-up in the 200m IM (4-1-1), while Freya Anderson got a fourth relay medal to have also six here (2-3-1). It was gold as the Brits retained their title in the mixed 4x200m free relay, ahead of France and Italy.

Among the men, Hungary’s Kristof Milak amassed the most impressive silverware so far, five medals (3-2-0). Winning the 200m fly was a simple routine for him, a third straight victory and a second 100-200m fly double, something only the German legend Michael Gross was capable of in the history of the Europeans, three decades ago. By his own standards, Milak’s 1:52.01 looks just another usual day in office, though in reality, this is the 6th fastest time ever. Apart from Milak, who owns the event's top four times, only Michael Phelps could swim faster - once, here in Rome - in a shiny suit when he clocked his 1:51.51 WR in 2009.

Still, Milak didn’t care much about his win. Instead, he hailed his closest friend and training partner Richard Marton who pipped Italy’s Alberto Razzetti for the silver to give Hungary a 1-2 finish.

The hosts staged a 1-2 of their own as Nicolo Martinenghi and Simone Cerasuolo came inside 27sec in the 50m breaststroke. Martinenghi, just like at the 19th FINA World Championships, doubled down the 50-100m titles (both, notably, in the absence of the emperor Adam Peaty).

Margherita Panziera, after having won her third consecutive 200m back gold, managed to add the 100m crown for the first time. With GB’s Medi Harris and Dutchwoman Kira Toussaint, produced one of the closest contests, hitting the wall inside 0.13sec. Panziera’s winning margin was 0.06sec.

Image Source: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Though the enthusiastic home crowd expected another big splash from world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri in the men’s 1500m free. This time the Italian master of the distance was outpaced by Mykhailo Romanchuk who changed gears at 600m and never looked back.

It was an emotion-filled finish, despite the Ukrainian beating the town’s favourite, the fans still cheered for him loudly, even chanting his name as a tribute to what he and his country has been going through in recent months. 

Romanchuk’s winning time was a stunner, the 14:36.10 puts him 4th on the all-time ranks. Germany’s Florian Wellbrock couldn’t bounce back from his sickness (Covid infection). Unable to keep up with the pace, the indoor 1500m world record holder settled for 5th place while France’s Damien Joly grabbed the bronze.

Romanchuk’s win was also a successful title defence, just like Anastasia Gorbenko’s brilliant victory in the 200m IM, to secure Israel’s first medal here, a gold straight away.


Image Source: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The afternoon heat was nothing compared to the electrifying atmosphere the fans created during the women’s 1m final, and Elena Bertocchi fulfilled their expectations. She produced an extremely balanced performance: only 2 out of the 35 marks she got was below 7.0 (a 6.0 and 6.5), securing her another gold after Budapest 2021. Before the last round, a 1-2 was in sight for the hosts as Chiara Pellacani was a close second, but Emma Gullstrand’s final attempt was slightly better and the Swede moved up to second place, by a tiny margin of 0.6 points.

The battle for the mixed 10m synchro title also came down to the final dives. Ukraine’s Sofiia Lyskun and Oleksii Sereda took jumped to the lead in the second round and held on till the last. They performed the highest-scoring dive in the final, a 78-pointer, receiving a handful of 9.0s, however, an erroneous jump from Lyskun in the 5th round halved their lead ahead of Britain’s Lois Toulson and Kyle Kothari.

In the last round, the Ukrainians offered an average dive, while the Brits were close to excellent which gave them a winning margin of 2.19 points. Italy booked third place on the podium.

Open Water Swimming Update

Image Source: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

At its meeting, the LEN Bureau approved the proposal of the LEN Technical Open Water Swimming Committee to reschedule the programme of the open water swimming meet to be held in Ostia, Italy.

Based on the weather forecast, with strong winds and high waves predicted for 18 August, the LEN 
TOWSC proposed the following changes to the programme which are now confirmed:

18 August – no race
19 August – Men’s and Women’s 10km, held parallel, from 9.00 AM
20 August – Men’s and Women’s 5km, held parallel, from 9.00 AM
21 August – Men’s and Women’s 25km, held parallel, from 7.00 AM, followed by the 6km team relay
(exact starting time TBD)

News provided by the LEN Aquatics Media Team.