GLASGOW: Adam Peaty and Kliment Kolesnikov made it a landmark night at the inaugural multi-sport European Championships when the two swimming prodigies broke world records to strike gold in the space of just over an hour on Saturday.
Olympic champion Peaty added more lustre to his reputation as perhaps the world’s most dominant swimmer when he smashed his own 100 metres breaststroke mark in 57.00 seconds en route to his 17th major gold medal.
The 23-year-old knocked 0.13 seconds off his own record set at the 2016 Rio Olympics — the fourth time he has set a new mark in the discipline in which he has been unbeaten for four years.
Yet the victory was so dominant that the silver medallist, Peaty’s British team-mate James Wilby, was 1.54 seconds adrift.
Russian teenager Kolesnikov then followed up the home favourite’s heroics by setting a new 50 metres backstroke mark while winning his first major individual title at senior level just a month after his 18th birthday.
He clocked 24.00 seconds to take 0.04 seconds off the record set by Britain’s Liam Tancock at the world championships in Rome in 2009.
On a remarkable evening at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Swedish phenomenon Sarah Sjoestroem achieved a 100 metres butterfly and 50 metres freestyle golden double only to find herself overshadowed by the record-breaking pair.
Kolesnikov, who had been part of Russia’s 4x100-metre freestyle gold medal-winning quartet on Friday, was so dominant that he beat Romanian silver medallist Robert-Andrei Glinta, a former world junior champion, by an extraordinary 0.55 seconds.
Even though he has long been tipped to lead the new generation of talented Russian swimmers as a junior world record breaker, Kolesnikov’s progress has still been spectacular and he too could add two more golds in the longer backstroke events.
Sjoestroem enjoyed another memorable night in her great career, comfortably winning the 100m butterfly title before an hour later prevailing in a thrilling Scandinavian 50 metres freestyle duel with Olympic champion Pernille Blume.
The race to find the fastest European woman swimmer was so close that world record holder Sjoestroem edged her Danish rival by one-hundredth of a second in 23.74 seconds, just 0.07sec outside her global mark.
Swimming history was also made when, for the first time in an international meet, men and women competed together in a 4x200m freestyle relay, won by the German quartet of Jacob Heidtmann, Henning Muehlleitner, Reva Foos and Annika Bruhn.
Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2018