Efimova helps Russians hold off Britain in pool as Sjoestroem (SWE) claims fourth individual gold
Victories on the final day of competition meant Sarah Sjoestroem (SWE), Adam Peaty (GBR) and Yuliya Efimova (RUS) finished the Glasgow 2018 European Championships with four gold medals apiece.
Efimova had a double success at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre on Thursday when she took the 50m for a clean sweep of breaststroke titles, then helped Russia to victory in the women’s 4x100m medley relay. That enabled Russia to stay top of the medals table ahead of Britain, who were third in the women's relay.
Peaty was part of Britain’s men's medley relay team and finished with two golds each in the breaststroke and relays. Britain had more golds (nine) and more medals overall (24) than at the 2016 European Championships in London but could not catch Russia.
Sjoestroem was the only swimmer to take four individual golds. She won the 50m and 100m titles at both freestyle and butterfly, but still saw room for improvement. After her success in the 50m butterfly on Thursday in 25.16 seconds she said: "Of course I'm very happy with four gold medals but I always want to compare with the times I've done before and I want to keep improving. I'm just going to have to go home now and see what I can do."
In third place behind her on Thursday was Kimberly Buys, earning Belgium's first European long-course medal since 2000.
Italy had a remarkable day, winning three golds and two bronzes to finish third in the medals table. They had the biggest surprise winner of the Championships when Piero Codia (ITA), out in lane eight, won the 100m butterfly, with Hungarian favourites Laszlo Cseh and Kristof Milak out of the medals.
Italy's other winners were Margherita Panziera in the 200m backstroke and Simona Quadarella in the 400m freestyle. Quadarella, who had also won at 800m and 1500m, said: "I don't understand what I did in these games. I came here to win the 1500m and I was just hoping to reach the podium in the 800m. Now I can even win the 400m - that means I have no limits."