Ivri glides into 50m butterfly final

Barnea finishes 16th at Euros, Kopelev 11th; Agnel shocks Biedermann in 400m free

Swimming 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Swimming 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Amit Ivri made sure Israel got the European Swimming Championships off on the right foot on Monday, advancing to the 50-meter butterfly final in the first day of the event in Budapest.
The 21-year-old clocked a time of 26.51 seconds in Sunday’s semifinal, qualifying for Monday’s final from sixth place overall.
Ivri, who reached the 50m and 100m fly finals at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in December, will be competing in her second straight 50m fly final at the long course Europeans and will be hoping to finish better than the seventh position she claimed two years ago.
Meanwhile, Jonatan Kopelev finished in an impressive 11th place in the men’s 100m backstroke, while Guy Barnea came in a disappointing 16th.
Barnea had hoped to reach the final, but wasn’t even the best ranked Israeli, touching the wall after 55.39s, while Kopelev recorded a personal best of 54.82s.
Six more Israelis competed in Monday’s heats, with Alon Mandel coming closest to joining Ivri, Barnea and Kopelev in the evening semis, finishing the 50m butterfly in 18th place, two hundredths of a second from a place in the last 16.
Daniel Malnik finished 41st in the 100m breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 2.94 seconds.
Yannick Agnel of France recorded the surprise of Day 1, beating world record-holder Paul Biedermann of Germany to win the 400-meter freestyle.
Agnel, who was a gold medallist in five events earlier this year at the Junior Europeans, clocked 3 minutes, 46.17 seconds to beat Biedermann by 0.13 seconds. Gergo Kis of Hungary was third, 1.97 seconds back.
“I wanted a perfect race for my first final at this level,” 18-year-old Agnel said. “The competition was tough throughout the whole race. We battled against each other. I had only the inkling of an idea that I could win.”
Biedermann, who swam over six seconds slower than his world record pace, set in 2009 with the recently banned bodysuits, said he should have started his finishing sprint earlier.
“He was better. I probably increased the pace too late,” said Biedermann, who was fourth with 150 meters left but made up one position in each of the next two laps.
Nikita Lobintsev of Russia, the top qualifier, was fourth in the final, 2.29 seconds off the pace set by Agnel, who took the lead from Lobintsev after the initial lap and led the rest of the way.
The 30th edition of the European Championships is the first major international meet where competitors can no longer wear the neck-to-ankle bodysuits which helped set dozens of world records in recent years.
In the women’s 400 individual medley, Hannah Miley of Britain overtook pre-race favorite Katinka Hosszu of Hungary with two laps to go and held on to win in 4:33.09, a new meet best.
Hosszu, the event’s European record holder, was 3.34 seconds behind, with compatriot Zsuzsanna Jakabos third.
“It’s great, a fantastic race,” the Swindon- born Miley said. “The Hungarians put a lot of pressure on me. I never met them both together in an event.”
Hosszu’s first lap was the fastest of the race, but it may have contributed to her poor finish.
“I am not disappointed with the silver , but rather by my time,” Hosszu said.
Russia won the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay in a time of 3:12.46, knocking 0.66 seconds off the meet record set in Monday’s qualifying session by France, which was second in the final ahead of Sweden.
Germany won the women’s 4x100 freestyle relay, expertly anchored by Daniela Schreiber. She began the last two laps with her team in fourth place but was able to pass Hungary, Britain and Sweden for gold. Britain took silver and Sweden bronze.