Golden opening night for FRANCE as women enjoy double swimming triumph
GLASGOW - France won two of the four gold medals on offer on the first night of finals at the European Championships as Fantine LESAFFRE's victory in the women's 400m individual medley was followed by a stunning triumph in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.
Halfway through the breaststroke leg, LESAFFRE (FRA) took the lead, a position she never relinquished despite the attention of Ilaria CUSINATO (ITA). Hannah MILEY (GBR) took bronze.
LESAFFRE said: "It has been hard for me because I have been part of the team since 2014, have had good seasons but I've not made it in international competitions because I felt the stress. Now I have shown that I can represent France well."
France won their second title of the night when Beryl GASTALDELLO anchored the women's sprint freestyle relay to victory in 3:34.65, a national record, as they withstood the fast-finishing Netherlands. Denmark were third.
"I feel very happy and proud of what my team has achieved," GASTALDELLO said. "It is a very good atmosphere on the French team, we are a new wave, very young. There are 13 making their debuts. We bring something different. It is the craziness of the young."
Mykhaylo ROMANCHUK (UKR) won the men's 400m freestyle, leading from start to finish, ahead of Henrik CHRISTIANSEN (NOR) and Germany's Henning MUEHLLEITNER.
Kliment KOLESNIKOV anchored Russia's men to 4x100m freestyle relay gold. It was a fine opening session for the 18-year-old who also set a new world junior record in the first semifinal of the 50m backstroke. However, Robert-Andrei GLINTA (ROU) was the fastest qualifier in an eye-watering 24.12, just 0.08secs off the world record held since 2009 by Liam TANCOCK (GBR).
Olympic champion Pernille BLUME (DEN) set a championship record of 23.85 in the 50m freestyle semifinal, Adam PEATY (GBR) was 1.19secs quicker than his nearest rival to qualify for the 100m breaststroke final, while another Olympic champion, Sarah SJOESTROEM (SWE), booked her spot in the 100m butterfly final.
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