Vilnius 2024: Robert-Andrei Badea dominates 400IM in Championship record to clinch medley double

Credit to: European Aquatics

Robert-Andrei Badea set Romanian and Championship 400IM records as he completed the medley double on day four of the European Junior Swimming Championships in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The 16-year-old stopped the clock at 4:14.37 to down the long-standing Championship mark that had stood since 2013 as he added the long medley to his 200IM title.

The crowd at the Lazdynai Pool witnessed more history when John Shortt became the first Irishman to win a European Junior title in a national record of 1:57.66 en-route to gold in the 200m backstroke.

After four days of competition, Italy lead the standings with seven golds and as many silvers followed by Romania (three golds, two silvers, one bronze) and Türkiye (three golds, one silver, one bronze).

BADEA DOMINANT IN RECORD-BREAKING 400IM

Credit to: European Aquatics

Badea was more than 1.5secs ahead after the opening butterfly leg, a lead he extended to almost 2.5secs over Italian Domenico de Gregorio following the backstroke.

He swam away on the breaststroke, moving onto the freestyle leg with a 3.67 lead over Italian Emanuele Potenza.

A final 100m of 58.94 guided him home to take more than two seconds off the national standard of 4:16.43 he set at the Romanian Championships in April.

He also cut 0.28 from Semen Makovich’s Championship record of 4:14.65 that had stood since 2013.

Following Potenza’s DQ for an incorrect touch at 50m, De Gregorio won silver in 4:21.02 with Onur Ege Oksuz of Türkiye in bronze in 4:22.73.

SHORTT MAKES IRISH HISTORY

Credit to: European Aquatics

Shortt was fastest into the men’s 200m backstroke final as Ireland sought its first medal of the championships.

Fourth at the 2023 edition, Shortt took the lead on the second 50 and was 0.40 ahead at the 150m mark.

A superb turn and underwater phase propelled him into clear water and into the wall in 1:57.68 as he cut 0.22 from his Irish senior record of 1:57.90 set at the national championships in May.

Shortt became the first Irishman to win continental junior gold with Conor Ferguson having won silvers in 2016 and 2017.

Daniele del Signore of Italy took silver in 1:58.81 with Romania’s Alexandru Constantinescu third in 1:58.91.

LUDWIG EDGES TO NARROW WIN

Credit to: European Aquatics

The women’s 200m breaststroke was decided by the narrowest of margins as Lena Ludwig edged out Great Britain’s Theodora Taylor by just 0.01.

German pair Hannah Schneider and Ludwig were in the centre lanes with the former leading at the first turn.

Ludwig moved into the lead and was 0.15 ahead of Taylor at the 150m mark before striking out from the front.

Taylor though came back at her, the pair stroke for stroke with Ludwig taking the title by a fingertip in 2:28.70 with the 15-year-old Briton clocking 2:28.71.

Schneider made it a Germany 1-3 in 2:29.30.

BALLARATI DEFENDS DASH TITLE

Lorenzo Ballarati came into the men’s 50m freestyle final as the top seed and defending champion.

Tajus Juska of Lithuania made the best start and was in pole position before Ballarati came past to touch in 22.20 for gold.

It completed a sprint freestyle double for Italy after Sara Curtis won the women’s event on Thursday.

Luca Hoek le Guenedal of Spain took silver in 22.33, 0.01 ahead of Juska who claimed bronze for the host nation in 22.34 as just 0.51 separated the entire field.

GOLD FOR TONRATH

Credit to: European Aquatics

The women’s 200m backstroke featured Dora Molnar, the defending champion and silver medallist at the European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024.

The Hungarian, swimming from lane two, led at halfway with a 0.02 advantage over Estella Llum Tonrath.

The Spaniard moved into the lead on the penultimate length, a position she never relinquished to win in 2:10.78.

Aissia-Claudia Prisecariu of Romania clinched silver in 2:11.14 with Molnar taking bronze in 2:11.56.

MOMONI FLIES TO VICTORY

The session got underway with a thrilling men’s 100m butterfly final.

Ethan Dumesnil was in lane four with France yet to claim a gold medal in Vilnius.

Daniele Momoni led at halfway, the turn heralding a second-50 charge with the Italian touching first in 52.20.

Maro Miknic of Croatia came from fifth at the turn to come through for silver in 52.49 with Dumesnil replicating his 2023 bronze in 52.54, 0.01 ahead of Lukas Edl of Croatia (52.55).

YOGURTCUOGLU TRIUMPHS IN BREASTSTROKE TUSSLE

Credit to: European Aquatics

Just 0.23secs separated the first three men home in what was a real spectacle in the 200m breaststroke.

There was little to choose between the field at the halfway mark with Collin van der Hoff of the Netherlands, last year’s silver medallist, turning first.

Doruk Yogurtcuoglu of Türkiye and Bulgarian Maksim Manolov led out of the final turn.

Great Britain’s Filip Nowacki moved on to Yogurtcuoglu’s shoulder on the last 50 with the pair going stroke for stroke as the Turkish swimmer got the touch in 2:12.66.

Nowacki took silver, 0.08 behind in 2:12.74, with Manolov taking bronze out of lane seven in 2:12.89.

WIDDOWS ANCHORS GREAT BRITAIN TO GLORY

Having put men on the first two legs of the 4x100m mixed medley relay, Poland held a 3.15sec lead over Hungary at the halfway stage with Lithuania third.

The host nation moved into the lead at the final changeover followed by Great Britain and Italy.

There was a thrilling tussle between Hollie Widdows and Curtis with the former splitting 54.38 to steer the Great Britain quartet to gold in 3:49.55.

Curtis split 54.40 as Italy claimed silver in 54.40 with Lithuania taking bronze in 3:50.23.

In semifinal action, Curtis led the 100 free in 54.77 and Laura Cabanes Garzas of Spain headed the 200 fly in 2:11.20.

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