Belgrade 2024: Kristof Milak wins fourth straight 200m butterfly title, four golds for Anastasia Gorbenko

Published On: June 22, 2024

Credit to:  European Aquatics

Kristof Milak continued the Hungarian domination of the 200m butterfly since 2012 as he claimed his fourth straight title to secure the fly double.

The penultimate night of the European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024 were twice interrupted by driving rain, thunder and lightning which saw the men’s 1500m freestyle postponed until Saturday when it will start the final session at 1810.

The night got underway with the men’s 200m butterfly with Milak arriving in Belgrade following victories at Glasgow 2018, Budapest 2020 and Roma 2022.

Laszlo Cseh won two of the three titles prior to the start of Milak’s streak in Debrecen 2012 and London 2016 with Denmark’s Viktor Bromer disrupting the bull run with victory at Berlin 2014.

With Tamas Kenderesi and Richard Marton also having made the trip to the podium, it meant Hungarian swimmers had won 11 medals in the four-length event between 2012 and 2022.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Milak led throughout with 2023 World silver medallist Krzysztof Chmielewski following him all the way.

The world record-holder was 0.59 ahead of the Polish swimmer at the final turn and although Chmielewski ate into the deficit down the last 50, Milak touched first in 1:54.43.

It was a second gold for Milak after he won the 100 fly, leading home Hubert Kos for a Hungarian 1-2.

Krzysztof Chmielewski took silver in 1:54.78 with his twin brother Michal third in 1:55.51.

Krzysztof Chmielewski told European Aquatics: “I didn’t think he (Milak) went out too fast, so I thought he was going to try my tactic to finish strongly and I tried my best.

“I think I’m experienced now as I’ve swum with him for the past two years and he is the fastest in the world.

“He has his own tactics so I am not trying to catch him I’m trying to swim my own race. I am feeling good & now we’ll see what I can do in Paris.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

Anastasia Gorbenko overcame a 15-minute rain delay to clinch her fourth gold of the championships as she led home teammate Lea Polonsky for an Israeli 1-2.

Barbora Seemanova was out inside world record pace before Gorbenko took over with a superb backstroke leg.

The 20-year-old was well clear with the chasing pack tussling for the minor medals.

Gorbenko touched in 2:09.75 to claim her third straight title in the event with Polonsky next home in 2:11.18.

Seemanova overhauled European Junior champion Leah Schlosshan on the final 50 to take bronze in 2:11.48.

Credit to: European Aquatics

“The delay was a little bit of a disappointment because I felt like I wasn’t warm enough for a race,” said Gorbenko.

“But I am so excited for my teammate, she made the cut and we went 1-2 for Israel which is huge for us.

“I think that is what I am most excited about today.”

She was unaware Seemanova had been out so quickly but insisted she is not affected by what others do.

“I tried to focus on my own lane and my own race. I think we were all int the same boat with the delay and everything that happened.

“It is whoever knows how to deal with it the best.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

Petra Senanszky claimed Hungary’s second title of the evening with gold in the women’s 50 free.

The 30-year-old touched in 24.56 to claim her second title and third medal of Belgrade 2024, following trips to the podium with the women’s and mixed freestyle relays.

Theodora Drakou was second from lane eight, edged out by 0.03 in 24.59 to match silver in the 50 back.

Denmark’s Julie Kepp Jensen was third in 24.79.

“It means a lot,” said Senanszky. “I know that a lot of the big ones, the sprint girls and competitors are not here but it was a really good practice for me before the Olympics Games so I’m really happy. It means so much and I’m very grateful.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

Huseyin Emre Sakci claimed the men’s 50m breaststroke title by the narrowest of margins.

The Turkish swimmer, who holds the world short-course record of 24.95, took the title in 26.92, 0.01 ahead of Noel De Geus of Germany who clocked 26.93.

Kristian Pitshugin of Israel was third in 27.02.

Sakci, who also competed in the 50m freestyle semifinals, said: “It was pretty good.

“I had two races today and I’m very happy with that. It’s my first title and it’s my first for my country also, so that’s a great honour.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

Adela Piskorska claimed Poland’s first gold of Belgrade 2024 when she won the women’s 100m backstroke.

The 2023 Universiade champion was the only woman inside the minute mark when she took the title in 59.79, 0.04 outside Pauline Peda’s national record of 59.75 set in May 2022.

Danielle Hill replicated her 50 back silver in 1:00.19 with Roos Vanotterdijk taking her third medal of Belgrade 2024 in 1:00.58.

“It’s a crazy night for me and my team,” said Piskorska. “It’s the first gold here in this pool for Poland.

“I’m very proud of myself as I waited until the last 15m and kept the energy.

“I saw that I was first and I have the gold, it’s crazy.

The 20-year-old was also proud of the way she responded to the rain delay, saying: “It’s crazy. I think the 1500 metres freestyle should have been the first but it is 200 butterfly and relay and oh my God – what should I do?

“But in the end it is so good for me.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

Hungary claimed their third relay gold of Belgrade 2024 with victory in the mixed 4x200m freestyle.

Richard Marton led off the quartet followed by Balasz Hollo who handed over to Minna Abraham in second, 0.23secs behind leaders Poland.

Abraham overturned the deficit with a 1:58.61 leg with Nikolett Padar anchoring the squad to victory with a 1:55.37 split.

Hungary won in 7:30.11 ahead of Poland (7:35.08) and Germany (7:35.56).

“It’s been an incredible week and Team Hungary has just brought way more than I expected,” said Abraham.

“This is the last big competition before the Olympics and we came here to race and I think the whole team has been great, so many surprises and our relays are incredible right now, so it’s been really special to make multiple trips up to the podium.”

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