Marie Gose clinches three golds in a day, Italy, Russia march on
Marie Isabel Gose was the star of the second day at the European Junior Swimming Championships in Kazan: the German claimed a rare 100m-400m free double before anchoring the mixed free relay to another win. Italy added two more titles and the Russians also landed their first two individual golds at home, while Hungary delivered the first 1-2 of the meet.
Champions, Day 2
Men. 1500m free: Kirill Martynychev (RUS) 15:01.59 CR. 100m back: Thomas Ceccon (ITA) 54.13. 200m breast: Aleksandr Zhigalov (RUS) 2:11.25.
Women. 100m free: Marie Isabel Gose (GER) 54.86. 400m free: Marie Isabel Gose (GER) 4:07.96. 200m back: Erika Francesca Gaetani (ITA) 2:10.28. 200m fly: Blanka Berecz (HUN) 2:09.80.
Mixed. 4x100m free: Germany 3:28.43 CR
Marie Isabel Gose had a busy evening in Kazan. The German stepped onto the blocks first at 18:05, four minutes later she won the 400m free, way ahead of 800m champion Italian Giulia Salin. Some 45 minutes later – right after taking part in her first victory ceremony of the session – she came back to the pool and this time delivered the only sub-55sec swim to add the 100m gold to her tally. And in just a bit more than an hour she was the anchor swimmer for the Germans and secured the title in a new Championship Record time. Quite a day for a 17 year-old – no wonder that she has already been selected for the senior team travelling to the World Championships in three-week time.
Italy enjoyed another fine day as Thomas Ceccon won a brilliant race ahead of Russia’s Nikolai Zuev in 100m back though he burnt too much energy and couldn’t bounce back in ten minutes for the 100m semis where he failed to go through despite having produced the best time in the morning. Still, he was a happy winner and later contributed a 48.62 split as Italy rushed to a bronze medal in the mixed relay. The second Italian gold of the day came in the women’s 200m back where Erika Gaetani even surprised herself as she out-touched Britain’s Honey Osrin for the gold by 0.02sec.
After the relay win on the opening day, the first individual triumphs also arrived for the hosts. Aleksandr Zhigalov retained his title in the 200m breast though Caspar Corbau of France pushed from behind very hard and only 0.16sec separated them at the wall. Soon Kirill Martynychev joined the golden circle by an absolutely dominant swim in the 1500m free, he gained almost 7sec on his team-mate Ilia Sibirtsev.
This wasn’t the first ‘national 1-2’, though: the young Hungarian ladies Blanka Berecz and Fanni Fabian claimed the top two spots to maintain their country’s rich traditions in the 200m fly.
Quotes from the winners
Marie Isabel Gose (GER), 100m free, 400m free, 4x100m mixed free
“I expected to win the 400m free, the gold in the 100m free was a kind of extra. In fact, this whole championships serve my preparations as my real test will be the World Championships in Gwangju. I just wanted to jump in and enjoy the atmosphere of the event, I’m quite happy that I came off with three gold medals.”
Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 100m back
“I had good sensations during the race, it’s a very good pool so it was a great way to prepare for Gwangju. Yesterday I clocked great times in the 100m free, especially in the relay but now the ten-minute interval was too short to be ready for the semi-final. Anyway, I’m happy with my gold, I’m really waiting the 50m back and the medley relay on Sunday.”
Blanka Berecz (HUN), 200m fly
“I felt some pressure as I wanted to defend my title but at the end I managed to do what we had planned with my coach. This is my fourth junior Europeans so I have plenty of experience which I was able to use today as well. I know exactly what are my weaknesses, now I will work very hard to make further improvements until the junior Worlds in August as it will take place at home in Budapest.”
Aleksandr Zhigalov (RUS), 200m breast
“It was a very hard race, I felt the pressure as everybody wanted to see me winning this event. It did not went that well, I think, I could have done better but I am happy now.”
Erika Gaetani (ITA), 200m back
“I had a plan before the race and I could swim according to it. I wanted to push the second half very hard and managed to do that. I am really happy now as I didn’t expect this gold medal at all!”
Kirill Martynychev (RUS), 1500m free
“I didn’t expect to swim such a good race. I just wanted to swim out fast and then control the race. I think I just managed to achieve this. I’m really happy, especially because this a great personal best for me.”