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Magyar Shows Mettle With 4 Solo Golds

May 24, 2012  - Craig Lord

European Championships, Debrecen, Hungary, Day 4 finals:

Of the six solo crowns up for grabs as the continental showcase passed the half-way home mark, four went to the hosts Hungary, Boglarka Kapas's win over 800m free followed by victories for Katinka Hosszu (200m IM), world champion Daniel Gyurta (on a championship record of 2:08.60 in the 200m breaststroke) and Olympic silver medallist Laszlo Cseh (on 1:54.85 in the 200m butterfly). Hungarians also won a further five medals on the day.

The session ended with a dispute over a takeover in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay that left the result sheet in a muddle (see report). The dust settled, Italy, bolstered by the presence of Federica Pellegrini, claimed gold in the women's 4x200m freestyle in 7:52.90 ahead of Hungary and Slovenia, with Spain's quartet disqualified. Pellegrini entered the water 2sec down in Hungary's lead by a 1:55.33 split settled the argument somewhat convincingly.

Race reports

Women's 800m freestyle

Boglarka Kapas gave the home crowd reason to get off their seats: after taking the lead at 400m in 4:14.21, the 19-year-old secured victory with a negative split that ended in 8:26.49, not far shy of her national record of 8:24.79 from the world-titles final in Shanghai last year.

The silver went to early leader Coralie Balmy (FRA) in 8:27.79, the bronze a second honour for Hungary, Eva Risztov on 8:27.87 a week after winning the LEN 10km marathon world cup off the coast of Israel.

Women's 200m medley

Katinka Hosszu, based at Trojan in California, kept the ball rolling for the hosts with a 2:10.84 victory that placed her in the world top 10 this year at No 9. 

She led from start to finish, her only real point of pressure the breaststroke leg, which saw Britain's Sophie Allen steal through the pack from 5th to 2nd with a 37.29 splits (to 39.30 for Hosszu), the margin between leader and chaser just 0.4sec. 

Freestyle sealed the deal for the Hungarian but the young Brit stuck to her quarry and finished with silver and a new personal best of 2:11.49, inside the 2:11.71 English record in which she finished second at British trials in March for a place on a home Olympics squad. 

The bronze in Debrecen brought yet more metal to the Magyars, Evelyn Verraszto finishing the fastest freestyler in the race but falling just shy of Allen on 2:11.63.

Men's 200m breaststroke

World champion Daniel Gyurta made it gold No3 for the hosts with a championship record of 2:08.60, third in there world so far this year and just shy of his Shanghai 2011 world-title win of 2:08.41.

Greek breaker Panagiotis Samilidis led the race to the half-way, on 1:02.42, with Marco Koch (GER) just 0.07sec away and Gyurta a further 0.2sec off the pace. The Hungarian then stepped up the challenge with a 32.59 splits, the only sub-33sec effort in the race behind the first 50m of each finalist, to take the lead, the German and Greek challengers chasing. 

Gyurta, with the best last 50m in the field, 33.32, stopped the clock 0.66sec ahead of Koch, whose 2:09.26 took silver ahead of Samilidis' 2:09.72 for bronze. 

Samilidis arrived in Debrecen a teenager in his 19th year with a best time of 2:12.14, set in Amsterdam in March this year, and stepped up to 2:10.61 in heats yesterday. Today he became the 20th member of the textile-suited sub-2:10 club. All suits, 37 have gone that way.

Women's 100m backstroke

Jenny Mensing took gold for Germany in 1:00.08 a week after making her national Olympic team for London 2012. At the 50m mark, on 29.52 in lane 6, she was led by Arianna Barbieri (ITA), on 29.20 in lane 5, before passing the leader on the way home with a 30.56 return for gold. The Italian took silver in 1:00.54, holding off Simona Baumrtova (CZE) by just 0.01sec, with Daryna Zevina (UKR) just 0.02sec further away.

Men's 200m butterfly 

If Mensing interrupted the flow of golden hosts, Laszlo Cseh was there to get the party back on track with a 1:54.95 victory earned by setting the pace from block to bonanza. His teammate, Bence Bizco held on as best he could and put in the swiftest last 50m of the race, 30.07, but he could not catch the Olympic silver medallist and settled for silver in 1:55.85.

The bronze went to Ionnis Drymonakos, the Greek back in the swim after serving a doping suspension and in second at the 150m mark, on 1:56.48, 0.05sec ahead of Dinko Jukic (AUT).

Men's 50m backstroke

The last solo gold of the night went to Jonatan Kopelev (ISR) in the non-Olympic backstroke dash, his 24.73 effort holding off Mirco Di Tora (ITA), 24.95, and Dorlan Gandin (FRA), 25.15.

Women's 4x200m freestyle

Italy took the crown in 7:52.90 ahead of Hungary, on 7:54.70, the bronze going to Slovenia in 7:59.73. Spain's quartet was disqualified for a faulty takeover.

Zsuzsanna Jakabos gave the hosts an edge on 1:58.43, over Alice Mizzau's 1:58.67, before Evelyn Verraszto's 1:59.02 took Hungary a touch further ahead, Alice Nesti on 1:59.50.

Agnes Mutian clocked 1:58.52 for the leaders but a stronger lead was needed: picking up from Diletti Carli's 1:59.40 was Olympic champion Pellegrini, who chased down Katinka Hosszu. 

Hosszu held on for the first 100m but down the third lap of the last 200m leg, Pellegrini screamed past on her way to a 1:55.33 split, for Italian gold in 7:52.90 overall, Hosszu's 1:58.73 easily good enough for silver.

The Spanish, meanwhile,  never got beyond the first leg in terms of their efforts counting, Melanie Costa's time not even registered as a split on the result sheet, suggesting on the official time sheet that she false-started when clearly she did not, 0.85sec the reaction time registered for her. As a lead-off swim, the time should be registered for Costa and be an official part of her list of career 200m swims. Patricia Castro left her blocks a touch too early (that margin not registered on the result sheet) it cost Spain the chance to qualify for the Olympic Games and deprived them of what would have been a bronze medal in a national record (7:57.46 the mark that will not count).