Efimova wins again
GLASGOW, Aug 8, (Agencies): Dutch Olympic champion Sharon van Rouwendaal won the first Open Water swimming title at the European Championships on Wednesday, leading from the start to take gold in the five-kilometre race.
Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky took the equivalent men’s title in a closely fought battle with his main rivals in the waters of Loch Lomond.
Van Rouwendaal, who won her 2016 Olympic gold over 10km, covered the shorter course in 56 minutes and 01.0 seconds after dominating the race.
The 24-year-old finished 16.8 seconds clear of Germany’s Leonie Beck (56:17.8), while Italy’s Rachele Bruni won bronze in 56:49.7.
Rasovszky was pushed hard by the pacesetting French duo of Axel Reymond and Logan Fontaine before overcoming them in the final stages.
After a thrilling battle over the last 100 metres, the 21-year-old Rasovszky came first in 52:38.9, less than three seconds faster than Reymond (52:41.7) and Fontaine (52:44.4).
“When the two French guys went to the front, I tried to chase after them and save some energy, enough so that I could try to beat them before the finish because they are so fast,” said a delighted Rasovszky.
Reymond, the world champion at 25km, surprised himself by winning silver in this relative sprint for him while his compatriot and race favourite Marc-Antoine Olivier, the world 5km champion, could only finish seventh.
Yuliya Efimova, a polarising figure in world swimming after being at the centre of doping controversies, completed a European Championship breaststroke double when adding the 200 metres title to her 100m gold.
The Russian took her collection of European gold medals to five in supreme fashion, using her now-familiar surging tactics to burst through from fourth to first on the third length and then control affairs from the front.
Having won the two-length race on Sunday in a similar manner, she clocked 2 minutes 21.31 seconds to finish 1.71 seconds clear of Spain’s Jessica Vall Montero (2:23.02).
The 26-year-old Efimova, who served a 16-month suspension in 2013 after failing a drugs test and was left deeply unhappy at being booed on the podium at the 2016 Olympics, has reinvented her career after even some of her rivals bad-mouthed her in Rio.
After her triumph, asked how she remained so dominant in European breaststroking, she said: “Just training, I don’t know why. I think it’s time because I have swum for pretty long and I have not always dominated so much. Now finally!”
Her personal Olympics nightmare had flared up alongside Russia’s ban from the Games for systematic doping.
Efimova, who had also been cleared earlier in 2016 after testing positive for meldonium, was originally banned from Rio because of her previous doping suspension but that was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The response she received in Rio from spectators and fellow competitors alike had left her close to tears but she had found her smile again in Glasgow amid a resurgent Russian team that leads the European swimming medal table with seven golds.
Efimova’s team mate Anastasiia Fesikova took the 100m backstroke title in 59.19sec, just preventing Britain’s silver medallist Georgia Davies from completing her own double after her 50m backstroke win.
Hungary’s Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu, looking nothing like her world-beating best after suffering personal problems this year, could only finish fourth.
Italian teenager Simona Quadarella was another to pull off a notable double, the 19-year-old 800m champion breaking away from Germany’s silver medallist Sarah Koehler at about half-way to eventually take the 1,500 metres title by over six seconds.
One of the most explosive duels of the week saw Ukrainian world record holder Andriy Govorov oust Britain’s world champion Ben Proud by three-tenths of a second in the 50m butterfly in a new championship record 22.48sec.
Even though Govorov’s global mark of 22.27sec set in Rome last month survived, it was still the third fastest time in history.
The hosts, though, were able to celebrate two triumphs with Duncan Scott unexpectedly taking the 200 metres freestyle title before 17-year-old Freya Anderson swam a nerveless anchor leg to bring home gold in the women’s 4x200m freestyle for Britain.
krainian swimmer Andriy Govorov cruised to victory in the men’s 50-meter butterfly at the European Championships, a month after he smashed the discipline’s nine-year-old world record.
Finishing in 22.48 seconds, the fourth fastest time ever, Govorov comfortably beat world champion Ben Proud by 0.30 seconds even though the Briton had the faster start.
“Ben is really in front for the first 15 meters and I have my power to put really good pressure in the right direction,” Govorov said. “The goal is not to be the fastest for a short 15 or 20 meters, the goal is to be stable over 50. So if you see my race analysis it’s all the time the same speed, so that’s the key.”
Govorov was more than two tenths short of the world record he set in July. At the Sette Colli meet in Rome, he swam 22.27 to shave 0.16 off the previous mark set by Spain’s Rafael Munoz, one of the last records standing from the pre-2010 “super suit” era.