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2016 LEN Events News Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016

Olympic Games, Rio – Day 8 for Europe

Gold & Bronze combo for Italy, Denmark, new ER in the women’s relay

A golden end for Europe in the swimming competitions, our athletes captured the titles of the last two individual events, in fact over the shortest and the longest distances on Saturday: Denmark’s Pernille Blume came first in the women’s 50m free (here Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus clinched bronze), while Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri made it in the men’s 1500m free, compatriot Gabriele Detti finished third. In the meet-ending medley relays the Danish earned another medal, a bronze in the women’s event and set a new European Record, and the Brits also finished on a high, coming second among the men.

The last day was outstanding for Europe at the Olympic Games: the last two individual titles went to the Old Continent’s athletes and in the medley relays a new ER was set.

The women’s 50m free couldn’t have been any more thrilling: the first five hit the wall within 0.08sec, and only 0.02sec separated the top finishers respectively. Pernille Blume from Denmark proved to be the fastest though and Belorussian Aliaksandra Herasimenia grabbed the bronze medal, just 0.02sec ahead of Britain’s Francesca Halsall and title-holder Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) was just 0.08sec away from the third place while finishing 6th.

Right after the shortest distance, the best 30-lappers were called to the scene and it was time for Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri to complete his mission and to add the Olympic title to his European (2014) and world gold (2015). With China’s title- and WR-holder Sun Yang bowing out in the heats, Paltrinieri seemed to have to race on his own which happened eventually. He built a massive lead by the 500m turn and never looked back. For most of the race he was on verge to break the world record but slowed down a bit towards the end – perhaps lacked the push from the neighbouring lanes – still, he won the race with ease (the margin was almost 5sec), just missing his ER set this May by 0.53sec (14:34.57). Just like in the women’s dash, the bronze also landed in Europe, compatriot Gabriele Detti came third.

The usual final bonanza, the medley relays brought tremendous excitements. In the women’s event Denmark could celebrate another medal winning performance, this time they clinched the bronze. Blume was their home-comer and did a great job only to be touched out by the Aussies with 0.01sec for the silver, though, on the other hand, she was 0.17sec faster than the last Chinese. Credit also goes to the other members, Mie Nielsen, Rikke Moller Pedersen and Jeanette Ottesen as their time (3:55.01) is a new European Record!

Among the men, the British quartet made a big splash and managed to clinch the silver behind the Americans whose backstroker, the freshly crowned Olympic champion, Ryan Murphy set a new WR (51.85) in the opening leg but in the breaststroke the Brits’ gold medallist, Adam Peaty delivered the fastest ever leg in this stroke (56.59, breath-taking!), propelling the Brits to the first place at the half-way mark and even though the US retook the lead over the fly (courtesy of Michael Phelps), the Brits could keep up and despite the homecoming leg saw another blasts from the Americans and the Aussies (46.7s), the British quartet of Chris Walker-Hebborn, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott finished runners-up.

In diving four Europeans made the finals in the women’s 3m springboard, Italy’s Tania Cagnotto earned the highest rank in the semis, she was 7th, but the final would begin with clean sheets so she and the other might have a better showing on Sunday. Further good news that the local organisers managed to identify the source of the problems causing the unusually green colour for the water in the pools in the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre (venue for diving, water polo and synchro) and promised to get back things to normal on a really short note.

The last round in the women’s prelims in water polo saw no upsets. Italy won its group (the US came first in the other) – the Setterosa will meet China in the quarters, and can eye the semis already. Spain is to clash with Russia, so one European berth is secured in the semis. The fourth representative, Hungary has a mount to climb while playing with Australia in two days time but the European champions can also go through if they can come up with a fine performance.

Medal table, swimming

               G S B  T                  

United States 16 8 9 33

Australia      3 4 3 10

Hungary        3 2 2 7

Japan          2 2 3 7

Great Britain  1 5 0 6

China          1 2 3 6

Canada         1 1 4 6

Sweden         1 1 1 3

Italy          1 0 2 3

Denmark        1 0 1 2

Spain          1 0 1 2

Kazakhstan     1 0 0 1

Singapore      1 0 0 1

South Africa   0 3 0 3

Russia         0 2 2 4

France         0 2 0 2

Belgium        0 1 0 1

Belarus        0 0 1 1