Vilnius 2024: Vivien Jackl retains title in Championship record and Italy claim golden relay double

Credit to: European Aquatics

Vivien Jackl set a Championship record en-route to retaining her 400m Individual Medley title and Italy clinched two relay golds on day one of the European Junior Swimming Championships in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The six-day meet runs from 2-7 July at the Lazdynai Pool in the Lithuanian capital and is being screened live on with a replay option that means you don’t need to miss a second of the action.

Jackl won the 400IM title in Belgrade last year aged 14 before setting a European junior record of 4:34.96 at the Hungarian Championships in April.

She has also made her mark on the senior international stage claiming a silver medal at the European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024 with an Olympic debut to come in Paris later this month.

Competing in the first final of the six-day meet, Jackl was joint-fourth after the opening butterfly leg but moved into the lead on the backstroke.

It was a position she never relinquished as she came home in 4:39.28 for a new Championship standard, lowering the previous record of 4:40.64 held by Alba Vasquez Ruiz since 2019.

Sarah Dumont came from fourth at 300m for silver in 4:42.44, a new Belgian senior record, with Spain’s Laura Cabanes Garzas third in 4:43.62.

Credit to: European Aquatics

It provided a golden finish to a demanding day for Jackl who also safely navigated the 1500m freestyle prelims in the morning where she qualified fourth for Wednesday evening’s final.

She told European Aquatics: “I’m feeling pretty good. It hurt a bit but I’m going to be very proud of myself on the podium for the second time in this event. I felt a bit tired before this race because in the morning I had to swim 1500m as well, so that wasn’t very good!

“It’s like a practice for the Olympics and in the future to see if I can swim these events in this order.”

Much has happened to Jackl since Belgrade 2023 but she intends to concentrate on the present in Vilnius.

“I try not to think about that (success in Belgrade) and just really focus on the race. It’s hard but I think I can learn, because I really don’t want to be selfish.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

The Italian women’s and men’s 4x100m freestyle relay squads also retained the titles they claimed last year.

The women’s quartet edged a thrilling race by the narrowest of margins as they overhauled France on the final 50 to win by 0.01sec.

Chiara Sama led off with a 56.27 opening leg to hand over to Sara Curtis in sixth with the 2023 individual silver medallist propelling the quartet into third in 54.74.

Cristiana Stevenato split 55.12 to hand over to Caterina Santambrogio in first only for Albane Cachot to guide France into the lead at the final turn.

Santambrogio dug into all her reserves to come back and her 54.99 guided Italy home in 3:41.12, a fingertip ahead of France who clocked 3:41.13.

Germany were third in 3:41.60.

Credit to: European Aquatics

In the men’s race, Gabriele Valente went 50.28 to hand over to Carlos D’Ambrosio in seventh with the youngest member of Team Italia for Paris 2024 propelling them into the lead with a 48.48 split.

Mirko Chiaversoli went 49.07 with Lorenzo Ballarati anchoring the quartet in 49.21 to victory in 3:17.04.

Ethan Dumesnil split 49.02 to steer France from fourth at the final changeover to second in 3:18.83.

Great Britain clinched bronze after Jacob Mills’ 49.61 moved them from fifth at the 300m mark to finish in 3:19.49.

In the evening’s semifinals, Lithuania’s Kristupas Trepcoka led the men’s 200 free in 1:48.59 with Minna Abraham heading the women’s event in 1:58.36.

Samuel Kostal of Slovakia led the men’s 200m butterfly in 1:59.26.

Great Britain’s Blythe Kinsman (28.31) and Mantas Kauspedas of Lithuania (25.06) headed the women’s and men’s 50m backstroke races with Spain’s Nayara Pineda Lopez (31.50) and Nusrat Allahverdi of Türkiye (27.59) leading the 50m breaststroke semis.

In the morning prelims, Amelie Blocksidge of Great Britain led the way into the women’s 1500m freestyle final in 16:24.71.

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