Yesterday, the last, seventh day of the swimming competitions, as well as the entire 14-day European Aquatics Championships, held in Budapest (Hungary), ended.
This start carried a certain important message for the entire sports community, as holding competitions in this difficult time requires special courage, in addition, there are hopes that the world is gradually returning to normal life.
The participation of the strongest swimmers of Europe, as well as the large number of participants in Budapest, is proof of this.
At the European Aquatics Championships, our FINA Development Center team was represented by four swimmers, namely:
1) Ado Gargovic (Montenegro)
2) Arina Baikova (Latvia)
3) Bernat Lomero Arenas (Andorra)
4) Franci Aleksi (Albania)
Our team faced with the tasks of a decent performance, improving their own best results, as well as qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are just under 60 days away.
Our campaign at the European Championships began with the performance of Franci Aleksi in the 400 m freestyle.
Considering that the flight from Kazan to Budapest took more than 17 hours for our fellows, the result was quite good, with a total of 4:11.45. And this was the only distance of an Albanian athlete at the European Championships.
On the same first day, Arina Baikova participated in the 4x100 m freestyle relay race with her Latvian team.
As a result, the girls showed a stunning result for their country of 3:49.99 – and this is the first new National record for our fellows. Arina herself showed a good time on her stage – 0:56.85.
Ado Gargovic (Montenegro) and Bernat Lomero (Andorra) competed in the second day of competition in the 100-meter freestyle.
Ado swam in a time close to his best - 0: 53.56. He showed a good start and the first 25-meter, but it was a little short at the finish.
Bernat surprised us with two news: the first was his new national record with a time of 0:52.07. As well as the fact that his younger brother Tomas competed at the same distance, who set a record in 1 preliminary heat (0:52.58), and then Bernat broke his brother's national record in the second heat. And it all happened in two minutes.
On the third day of the European Championships, Arina Baikova competed in the 200-meter freestyle.
In Budapest, she had a busy schedule, and this did not allow her to improve her best time and swim out of 02:04.00. As a result, Arina swam in 2:04.90.
The fourth day of the competition is the most intense for our fellows. Ado Gargovic (Montenegro) was the first swimmer in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:56.45.
The next swimmer was Bernat Lomero (Andorra) 50 meters butterfly with a time very close to his best – 0:24.82.
As well as 2 team relay races at a distance of 4x100 meters in Medley (mixed) for our scholarship holders.
The Latvian national team, where Arina performed confidently in the non-core discipline, in the butterfly, showed a total of 4:00.90.
In the national team of Andorra, Bernat also had to swim the fly, which he coped with calmly, and the total time of their team was 4:10.01.
Arina swam in 1:05.08, Bernat in 0:56.96.
After this busy day, Bernat Lomero shared his comments:
"Yes, recently I began to feel not very comfortable in the fly events. It is possible that fatigue affects. After such a long pause without competition, I saw new opportunities in myself – these are short freestyle distances. At this Championship, I will focus on the freestyle, which means that on May 22, I will remove the 100-meter butterfly from my program and throw all my strength into the Olympic qualification in the 50 m free.
After returning from the Euro in Kazan, I will definitely build a new training program with certain accents. Now I have only been training in Kazan for a month and the success is already noticeable, so I can't wait to start training.»
The next day for our FINA Development Center fellows is May 22, where a swimmer from Andorra surprised with a new national record in the 50-meter freestyle with a score of 0:23.44. Now the coaching staff will have a new task to improve his performance in the freestyle.
In the last day of competition on May 23, a Latvian athlete participated in a difficult 400-meter freestyle, with such a schedule it was difficult for her to show her best time and in the end 4:28.98.
Then, after 30 minutes, she had to compete in the 4x100m relay event (women) with her national team.
Arina Baikova swam in the first stage on the backstroke and gave her new best time, as well as a new Latvian record – 1:03.11 (her personal time), and a total of 4:11.57 – and this is a new Latvian record in relay swimming.
At the end of 7 days of competition in Budapest, the team of the FINA Center managed to show good results:
- 2 new individual national records of Andorra from Bernat Lomero.
- 1 new Personal best in the 100-meter backstroke for Arina Baikova.
- 2 new Latvian records in relay races, where Arina made a great contribution.
The coach of the FINA Center-Pavel Kutashev left his comment on the results of the European Championship in Budapest:
"The performance of our athletes at the World Cup can be evaluated well. There was not much time to count on progress in the results, but enough time to be in optimal shape in order to show results close to the best or slightly faster. For our athletes, it was a very good experience to perform at top-level competitions and show the best results and update the records of their countries. I was pleased with the results of Bernat, who updated the personal and national records in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Arina at these competitions was the "team" swimmer. As part of the Latvian team, they updated the records in the 4x100 freestyle and 4x100 combined relays. After their return, we are waiting for a serious hard work, given that the Olympics in Tokyo are less than 60 days away.»