Ruta Meilutyte sets stunning new European 50m breaststroke record

Meilutyte only made a full-time return to the swimming in late 2021 – LEN.

Ruta Meilutyte won the 50m breaststroke, in a new European record time, on the final night of the Fina Swimming World Cup in Berlin.

The Lithuanian won her first World Cup title since 2014 on Saturday, the second day of competition in the German capital, with a strong performance in the 100m breaststroke.

The 23-year-old, who officially retired in 2019 before making a full-time comeback earlier this year, pulled clear of the field in the 50m event to finish in 28.60 seconds.

She was 0.21 under the previous European record, set by Italian Benedetta Pilato in 2020, and just 0.04 secs short of the current world record which has stood since 2018.

“I’m just super grateful to be able to enjoy swimming fast,” Meilutyte told Fina after the race. “Swimming is great, but swimming fast is really special and something I don’t take for granted.”

Sophie Hansson of Sweden was second, with Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko third.

There was another all-European top-three in the women’s 100m butterfly final with Hansson’s sister Louise claiming her first World Cup win of the season.

She touched, clear of the field, in 55.33 seconds, with Maaike de Waard of the Netherlands second and Finland’s Laura Lahtinen third.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting to swim that quickly three week in (to training) but I’ll take that and I’m super happy,” said Louise Hansson.

Isabelle Gose gave the home fans reason to cheer with a comfortable victory in the 800m final, which also saw fellow German Sarah Wellbrock take second.

Long course world record holder Thomas Ceccon of Italy and short course world champion Shaine Casas of the USA produced a brilliant battle in the 100m backstroke final, but it was the American who claimed victory.

Thomas Ceccon a new long course 100m backstroke world record this summer – LEN.

Veteran Marco Koch of Germany, who won his last World long course medal in 2015, almost produced a shock victory in the men’s 200m breaststroke final, but the 32-year-old was denied by 0.01 seconds as American Nic Fink completed his set of breaststroke titles.

Poland’s Dawid Wiekiera placed third in the event, as did Dutch swimmer Marrit Steenbergen in the women’s 100m freestyle final.

Other Europeans to impress on day three in Berlin included Alberto Razzetti (Italy) and Hubert Kos (Hungary) who were second and third respectively in the 400m IM. Those results were repeated by Gorbenko (Israel) and Abbie Wood (Great Britain) in the 200m IM final.

Matteo Rivolta claimed third in a high-class 50m butterfly final featuring Trinidad and Tobago’s triple sprint gold medallist Dylan Carter and Chad Le Clos of South African, who claimed victories in the 100m and 200m fly events earlier in the competition.

The Fina Swimming World Cup next heads to Toronto, Canada, 28-30 October, before concluding in Indianapolis, USA, 3-5 November.