Hosts Italy dominated the second night of swimming finals at the LEN Roma 2022 European Aquatics Championships with golds in four of the six finals.
The Netherlands continued their strong start to the event with the other two medals on Friday.
Women’s 200m backstroke FINAL:
Margherita Panziera claimed the first of those titles by dominating the women’s 200m backstroke final. The two-time European champion led after the first length and powered clear of her rivals to secure her third-successive title.
The Italian, who was racing on her 27th birthday finished in a time of two minutes 7.13, which was clear of second-placed British teenager Katie Shanahan (2:09.26).
Dora Molnar of Hungary (2:09.73) was third.
“It’s really special to win here on my birthday and here in Rome, which is my home, with all these people cheering me,” she told LEN TV.
“It was really huge and I’m so happy because I really wanted to swim this time.”
Shanahan, who won two bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games for Scotland just ahead of Roma 2022, added that she was “absolutely ecstatic” to claim her first European medal.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be coming away with a silver medal off the back of the Commonwealths just a couple of weeks ago and I’m just absolutely over the moon.”
Men’s 50m butterfly FINAL:
Thomas Ceccon is better known for his backstroke prowess after his World record and World Championship title at Budapest 2022 in late June, but he delivered a surprise 50m success for the home nation in the second final of day two.
The 21-year-old touched in 22.89 secs, to secure a narrow victory over Frenchman Maxime Grousset (22.97) and Diogo Matos Ribeiro of Portugal (23.07).
“The crowd helped me a lot and it is a good start for me here at this amazing pool,” said Ceccon after collecting his gold medal.
Men’s 100m breaststroke FINAL:
World champion Nicolo’ Martinenghi was the overwhelming favourite for gold after recording a clear quickest time in the semi-finals on day one.
Despite trailing to Germany’s Lucas Matzerath at the halfway stage the Italian surged into the lead in the second 50m and secured gold in 58.26 seconds.
Team-mate Federico Poggio (58.98) produced an incredible swim to join Martinenghi on the podium, with Andrius Sidlauskas of Lithuania (59.50) completing the podium line-up.
“I’m really happy for first place, not so much with the time, but we are at the end of a long season and I’m happy to share the podium with my team-mate who I have grown up with,” Martinenghi told LEN TV.
“Thanks to the people, my family, friends and my girlfriend, it’s a beautiful night.”
Women’s 100m freestyle FINAL:
The Italian medal success was halted temporarily in the women’s 100m freestyle final where Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands claimed her first individual European title.
She finished in a time of 53.24 secs, with Charlotte Bonnet of France (53.62) and Britain’s Freya Anderson (53.63) taking silver and bronze respectively.
Women’s 800m freestyle FINAL:
Simona Quadarella has won three individual freestyle golds at the last two European Championships and remained on course to claim a ‘triple-triple’ by securing victory in the 800m distance after a thrilling final.
Germany’s Isabel Gose was a constant threat and pushed her Italian rival throughout much of this encounter, but would ultimately finish second, with Merve Tuncel of Turkey edging bronze ahead of her team-mate Deniz Ertan by just 0.61 secs.
“This means a lot to me because I really wanted to perform here in Rome which is my home and I’m so pleased I could do this for the spectators and my country,” said Quadrella.
Mixed 4x100m medley relay FINAL:
The mixed 4x100m medley relay made its European Championship debut at London 2016 and such was its success that it was selected for the Olympic programme for the first time at Tokyo 2020.
As expected, this final delivered plenty of drama and entertainment with hosts Italy holding the lead at the halfway stage, but back came the Dutch to secure their second relay gold medal in as many days.
Italy would take silver, with Olympic champions Great Britain – missing several of their Tokyo 2020 line-up, battling back to claim bronze.
“That was a great performance from the team and it’s the perfect way to end my season,” Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands told LEN TV. “I think that’s the seventh competition in a row in which I’ve won a medal, so it’s great to finish this way.