Day One of the European Championships is in the books and it could turn out to be the most dramatic day of the week long competition.
Much like US Nationals, you can find event by event recaps at various swimming sites (here, here and here for example). Instead I will focus on some of the bigger talking points.
Let the bullets fly...
- From a British perspective the highlight of Day One had to be Hannah Miley's incredible victory in the 400m IM. All eyes were on Hungarian (training with Dave Salo in California) Katinka Hosszu for the following reasons:- a) Hosszu is the third fastest swimmer of all-time in this event and until last night was ranked second in the world this year. b) Hosszu was tapered, Miley is apparently focusing on the Commonwealth Games this year. c) Hosszu was swimming infront of a home crowd and d) Training partner Marcus Rogan had tipped Hosszu to become the first swimmer post-suits to break a WR in yesterday's race.
Miley had other ideas and used a devastating breaststroke leg to overturn the sizable lead (1.36 seconds) that Hosszu held after 200m.This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Miley has been consistently fast this year and was in great form on the Mare Nostrum circuit.
Miley moves to second all-time in a textile suit (just 0.2 seconds behind Katie Hoff's 2007 WR) and notably has now been faster than European legend Yana Klochkova in textile.
Hoff TBT - 29.83 - 1:03.91 - 1:39.49 - 2:14.10 - 2:51.50 - 3:29.68 - 4:01.64 - 4:32.89
Rice WR - 28.66 - 1:01.47 - 1:36.17 - 2:09.83 - 2:48.12 - 3:27.25 - 3:58.92 - 4:29.45
Hosszu ER -28.45 - 1:01.61 - 1:36.05 - 2:09.29 - 2:48.77 - 3:28.81 - 3:59.95 - 4:30.31
Miley - 30.04 - 1:03.50 - 1:38.65 - 2:13.05 - 2:51.50 - 3:30.42 - 4:02.33 - 4:33.09
Hosszu - 29.07 - 1:01.97 - 1:37.32 - 2:11.69 - 2:51.32 - 3:32.21 - 4:04.30 - 4:36.43
TBT = Textile Best Time
- Incredibly, France managed to lose another 4 x 100m Freestyle relay, despite entering the event with their swimmers dominating the world rankings. Surely it is now time to move Alain Bernard to a less-pressured position on the relay, to swim 0.4 seconds slower than your best time WITH a rolling start is not good enough. He performed well in Rome last year swimming the second leg but has now under performed on the last leg in Beijing and now Budapest (maybe it only happens at cities beginning with 'B'?).
Shocking stat no.1- The French B team (3:13.12) swam faster in the morning heats than the A team did in the finals (3:13.29).
Shocking stat no.2 - 200m Freestyle rivals Paul Biedermann and Danila Isotov had differing fortunes in the relay. Isotov had the fastest split of the entire race (47.87) whilst Biedermann (49.06) was 16th fastest. If anyone is under the impression that Biedermann will have it easy on the 200m Free because of Yannick Agnel's absence, they need to re-evaluate immediately.
(Hat tip to David 'Swim Geekatov' Rieder who has been championing the Russian freestylers for some time, although did pick France to win this race.)
- You know its been a good night of swimming when an 18-year old, competing at his first senior competition, beats the reigning world champion and world record holder... and its only the third biggest story of the night. Yannick Agnel continued his rapid ascent of world swimming by winning his only individual event of the Europeans. Agnel's 4:46.17 moves him to third in the world this year with Biedermann moving to fourth with his 3:46.30.
Swimsportnews.de had earlier commented on this blog about Biedermann and the 400m Free this year and looking back at those comments are telling. After a disappointing swim at German nationals Biedermann in the heat of the moment mentioned that he might consider pulling out of the 400m Free at Europeans, the question of race tactics and organisation was also brought back in early July. As Swimsportnews also mentioned Biedermann's main event has now clearly become the 200m Free. Biedermann will have his work cut out against Danila Isotov who is looking like he got his taper exactly right.
- Camille Lacourt and Alexander Dale-Oen posted incredible times in the semi finals of the 100m Backstroke and 100m Breaststroke respectively.
Dale-Oen also launched himself to a new level. His time of 59.29 just missed Brendan Hansen's textile best time of 59.13. Dale-Oen turned in a rapid 27.66 (0.01 under Brenton Rickard's WR split) and he kept his form to the finish. Dale-Oen's time was the 25th fastest of all-time (he had previously been 59.16 and 59.20 at the Beijing Olympics). He acheived the same impressive feat that Lacourt managed.... He made the high-tech suit WR of 58.58 suddenly look a lot more acheivable in the near future. Something the swimming world needed.