South African Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks First Individual Swimming World Record At Olympics

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 29, 2021–An emotionally-charged Tatjana Schoenmaker broke the first individual world record in swimming Thursday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The 24-year-old South African set a blistering pace in the final 50 meters of the 200-meter breaststroke to win in a world record time of 2:18.95. The previous world record of 2:19.11 was held by Rikke Moller of Denmark since 2013.

It was the first gold medal won by a South African woman since 1996 and first gold of the Olympics for any South African athlete. Schoenmaker also won silver in the 100-meter breaststroke.

American training partners and good friends Lily King and Annie Lazer finished second and third. King took silver in a breakthrough swim of 2:19.92 and Lazor the bronze in 2:20.84.

“I wouldn’t have done that if she wasn’t next to me,” King said of Lazor. “This is what we were working for.”

King led until the 150-meter turn when Schoenmaker turned on the after jets to touch the wall first.

“My love for swimming makes me want to get up every morning and go to training,” Schoenmaker said. “It’s like my second home. Being fortunate enough to travel the world doing what I love, seeing new places and meeting new people and sports heroes, motivates me a lot. The most important thing every young swimmer should realize is that nothing is impossible. They only need to believe and be prepared to put in the long and hard hours.”

Local swimmers results:

Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was second in his 100 butterfly heat in 52.36.

Azura’s Abbas Qali of Kuwait, fourth in his 100 butterfly heat in 53.62.

Azura’s Steven Aimable, fifth in his 100 butterfly heat in 53.64.

Azura’s Davidson Vincent of Haiti finished tied for seventh in his 100 butterfly in 54.81.

Qali, Aimable and Vincent all swam in the same heat.

Azura’s Celina Marquez of El Salvador was second in her 200 backstroke heat in 2:14.72.

In other championship medal finals:

Men’s 200-meter backstroke: Russian Evgeny Rylov became the seventh man to win both backstroke events in a single Olympics. He won in an Olympic record 1:53.27. Defending gold medalist and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy took silver in 1:54.15. Luke Greenbank of Great Britain took third in 1:54.72. The U.S. men had won seven consecutive gold medals in the event. “I put myself in a lot of pain,” Murphy said. “I just ran into a very good guy from Russia.”

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: The Aussies took first and third in the event. Emma McKeon, 27, won her first individual gold medal in an Olympic record 51.96 and teammate Cate Campbell was third in 52.52. Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong took the silver in 52.27.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Underdog Shun Wang, 27, of China won the gold in an Asian record 1:55.00. Favorite Duncan Scott of Great Britain took silver in 1:55.28 and Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland won the bronze in 1:56.17. American Michael Andrew, the early leader, faltered in the last 50 and finished a disappointing fifth in 1:57.31.


200-meter breaststroke: 1. Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA 2:18.95, WR, OR 2. Lilly King, US 2:19.92, 3. Annie Lazor, US 2:20.84.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Emma McKeon, AUS 51.96, OR, 2. Siobhan Haughey, HKG 52.27, AS, 3. Cate Campbell, AUS 52.52.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Evgeny Rylov, ROC 1:53.27, OR, 2. Ryan Murphy, US 1:54.15, 3. Luke Greenbank, GB 1:54.72.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Shun Wang, CHN 1:55.00, 2. Duncan Scott, GBR 1:55.28, 3. Jeremy Desplanches, SUI 1:56.17.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Jamaican Alia Atkinson Breaks Own Short Course Meter World Record At FINA World Cup

By Sharon Robb

October 6, 2018—In a fast pool at Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary, four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club came up with her second career short course meter world record on the final day of the FINA World Cup Series’ second cluster.

On Saturday, Atkinson, 29, broke her own world record in the 50-meter breaststroke in 28.56 and picked up $10,000 in world record bonus money. It was one of three world records broken in the 25-meter pool format.

“Well this happened!” Atkinson posted on Facebook. “God you never cease to amaze me. From struggling at Commonwealth to a World Record 5 months later. Thank you Budapest, the fans, pool, the city, the volunteers and competition was amazing.”

The veteran swimmer’s previous record was 28.64 set in 2016 during the World Cup circuit stop in Tokyo. It is the eighth time Atkinson has dipped under 29 seconds in the event.

Atkinson is the only swimmer in Jamaican history to break world records.

The top four finishers were all under 30 seconds. Russian Yulia Efimova was second in 29.22, American Molly Hannis was third in 29.51 and Aussie Emily Seebohm was fourth in 29.96.

China’s Wang Jianjiahe broke the world record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle (3:53.97) and Brazil’s Nicholas Santos broke the 50-meter butterfly (21.75) world record.

Atkinson was the best performer in Budapest with 108 points, one point ahead of China’s Jianjahe Wang. The top three women’s overall ranking after the Budapest stop are Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, 204; Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, 162; and Russia’s Yulia Efimova, 153.

After a rollercoaster year, it was Atkinson’s third gold of the series. On Friday she won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.80. She also won gold in the 50-meter breaststroke During the Netherlands stop. It was her seventh short course series gold medal.

Atkinson, who turns 30 on Dec. 11, competed in her first Olympics at age 16. Her best long course times, swum in 2015, are 30.11 for the 50 breaststroke and 1:05.93 in the 100 breaststroke.

Hometown hero Katinka Hosszu left with four victories and Aussie Mitch Larkin won three gold medals. China’s Wang Jianjiahe and Russia’s Vladimir Morozov won the second cluster.

The third cluster of the Swimming World Cup will resume Nov. 2-4 in Beijing, Nov. 9-11 in Tokyo and Nov. 15-17 in Singapore.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson Breaks World Record

By Sharon Robb

October 26, 2016—After a disappointing finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Alia Atkinson of Jamaica broke a world short course record in the 50-meter breaststroke Wednesday at the FINA/Airweave World Cup Series in Tokyo.

Atkinson, 27, of South Florida Aquatic Club, who shares the 100-meter breaststroke short course world record with Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte broke the previous record of 28.80 held by American Jessica Hardy since 2009, in 28.64, shaving 16/100ths off the record. Atkinson is the first Jamaican swimmer to solely own a world record.

Atkinson is one of only three women swimmers who have cracked the 29-second barrier.

She topped a less than stellar field including Russian Yulia Efimova and American Molly Hannis and finished as the top female scorer in Tokyo.

Atkinson is coached by SOFLO’s Chris Anderson, who has coached her to four Olympic Games since she was a teenager at Flanagan High School.

Atkinson was a favorite to medal in Rio in the 100-meter breaststroke on the sport’s biggest world stage but faltered to eighth place in the final.

Atkinson earned a $10,000 bonus from FINA for breaking a world record along with 20 points toward her cluster bonus. She also picked up $35,000 for finishing second in the Cluster Two competition behind Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and now is fifth overall with $54,000 behind Hosszu, Jeanette Ottesen, Daryna Zevina and Efimova.

Sharon Robb can be reached at for results and questions.

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Gold, Ties World Record At FINA Short Course World Championships

By Sharon Robb

December 6, 2014—In front of a cheering, capacity crowd waving Jamaican flags, Alia Atkinson made history on so many levels Saturday at the 12th FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships at Hamad Aquatic Center in Doha, Qatar.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian and longtime South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer became the first Jamaican to win a gold medal and tie the world record at a major international swim meet.

Atkinson, 25, out-touched reigning Olympic and defending champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania to win the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.36, also a meet record which Meilutyte had broken the day before in 1:02.43.

Meilutyte, 17, has held the world record since 2012 and now shares it with Atkinson, who has now beaten the teenager three times in the last two months.

It was also a national record for Atkinson, who has been knocking on the door for a world record in the past year. Her previous best and national record was 1:02.54.

Atkinson is also the first black woman to win a world swimming title in 40 years.

Atkinson and Meilutyte were neck-and-neck early in the race with Meilutyte leading slightly at the 50-meter mark (29.10-29.46). With great back-half speed and incredible turn at the 75-mark, Atkinson reeled her in to beat her by 1/10th of a second.

After Atkinson touched the wall she turned to look at the scoreboard. She threw her arms in the air when she saw that she had won and then looked stunned when she realized she had her first career world record.

“Me?” Atkinson screamed in utter joy. “I just didn’t know until I looked up, the race was so close. I have been getting closer and closer.

“Considering the 50 breaststroke and how it went I had to keep my head in check and told myself I could still turn it around, I am better in the 100,” Atkinson said. “I had to keep a positive outlook and for the most part I did pretty well so I am pretty excited about that.”

Still cloud-walking after the race, Atkinson later tweeted “world record holder baby! We did it. Team effort.”

Congratulatory Facebook messages started pouring in after her race. “Congrats to my fellow teammate and inspiration for the WORLD RECORD, you are a true idol for a lot of swimmers including myself, you are the best,” said French national age group champion Julien Pinon.

Atkinson now has a gold and silver medal with the 200-meter breaststroke next on Sunday. At the 2012 world short course championships, Atkinson finished with two silvers.

Four other world records were smashed on Saturday.

In the opening event, Russia’s relay team of Vladimir Morozov, Evgeny Sedov, Oleg Tikhobaev and Sergei Fesikov broke the world record in the 4×50-meter freestyle in 1:22.60. Russia held the previous record of 1:23.36. The U.S. team of Josh Schneider, Tom Shields, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte took the silver in 1:23.47.

France’s Florent Manaudou broke his second world and course records in the 50-meter backstroke in 22.22. The previous record was 22.61 set by American Peter Marshall wearing a shin suit in 2009.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu continued her hot streak with another world and course record in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:01.86, her fourth gold medal. St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis, 22, took bronze in 2:06.68 after surging in the last half of the race. Margalis was fifth at the halfway mark before laying down a huge 30.02 freestyle split.

The U.S. team of Josh Schneider, Matt Grevers, Madison Kennedy and Abbey Weitzeil came from behind to break the world record in the 4×50-meter mixed freestyle relay in 1:28.57. The previous record of 1:29.53 was held by Russia.

South African Chad Le Clos broke the course record in the 50-meter butterfly to win in 21.95 on the heels of his gold and world record in the 100-meter butterfly.

Florida State’s Rafael Van Leeuwaarde of Surinam broke his third national record in three events. In his final event, he broke the 50-meter breaststroke record in 28.13. “Not what I wanted but a reason to come back and crush that time,” he said. “Three for three in Nattys. Big things ahead.”

Talisa Lanoe of Kenya and Boca Raton-based Performance Aquatics (PAQ) broke her second national record. She swam 1:04.46 in the 100-meter backstroke to better her own mark of 1:07.16. On Friday, she broke the 200-meter backstroke national record in 2:19.55.

The state of Florida has 27 nine swimmers, who train in Florida, representing 18 countries. The biennial event features 1,100 swimmers from 171 countries.

Universal Sports Network is televising the meet over ten hours with nightly broadcasts at 8 p.m. The two-hour daily highlight shows feature the best of each day’s races.


Max Abreu, Paraguay, Bolles

Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador, Azura Florida Aquatics

Alia Atkinson, Jamaica, South Florida Aquatic Club

Jevon Atkinson, Jamaica, South Florida Aquatic Club

Valentina Artemevia, Russia, Bolles

Elizabeth Beisel, United States, Gator Swim Club

Elvis Burrows, Bahamas, Orlando

Lani Cabrera, Barbados, Florida Gulf Coast

Marcin Cieslak, Poland, Gator Swim Club

Carolina Colorado, Colombia, Bolles

Mitch D’Arrigo, Italy, Gator Swim Club

Brett Fraser, Cayman Islands, Florida/Bolles

Patrick Groters, Aruba, Pine Crest Swim Team

Talisa Lanoe, Kenya, Performance Aquatics (PAQ)

Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach, United States

Hilda Luthersdottir, Iceland, Gator Swim Club

Melanie Margalis, United States, St. Petersburg Aquatics

Noah Mascoll-Gomes, Antigua & Barbuda, Azura

Jorge Murillo, Colombia, Bolles

Vien Nguyen, Vietnam, St. Augustine Swim Team Cyclones

Chinyere Pigot, Suriname, Metro Aquatics

Zuhayr Pigot, Suriname, Metro Aquatics

Omar Pinzon, Colombia, Bolles

Sebastien Rousseau, South Africa, Gator Swim Club

Mario Todorivic, Croatia, Bolles

Rafael Van Leeuwaarde, Suriname, Florida State

Ariel Weech, Bahamas, Orlando

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Gold, Bronze, National Record At FINA World Cup Series In Singapore

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Gold, Bronze, National Record At FINA World Cup Series In Singapore


November 6, 2013

Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club knocked off pre-race favorite Yulia Efimova of Russia in the 50-meter breaststroke to win her second gold medal of the FINA World Cup Series on Wednesday at the Singapore Sports School.

Atkinson sprinted to a Jamaican national record in 28.94, winning her third sprint breaststroke title in series’ six meets.

Atkinson bettered her previous best of 29.21 set in Berlin. It is also the fastest time ever done by a Jamaican swimmer in the country’s history.

It was the second fastest time in the world this year and just 0.14 off the world record American Jessica Hardy (28.80) set in 2009.

Efimova was second in 29.25.

Atkinson emerged as the leading female swimmer of the Singapore leg, outshining Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and bettering her personal best for 985 points. Atkinson’s breaststroke swim was the best performance of the meet. Hosszu was runner-up with 982 points.

Atkinson, not shaved for the meet, burst into the lead with a great start and pushed the pace in the first half of the race to lead from wire-to-wire.

The three-time Olympian for Jamaica opened the meet on Tuesday winning the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.48, her fourth win in her signature event.

She also took the bronze medal in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.42, also on Tuesday, behind Katina Hosszu and Alicia Coutts. She was only 1/10th of a second out of second.

“This is the first time I am competing in every single meet in the series,” Atkinson said.

“I always hope to improve my times from the first to the third leg in each cluster so I am very happy with the times on this first leg. I hope to continue to improve in Tokyo and Beijing.

“I am a big fan of the Asian cluster and I definitely want to be back, especially in Singapore and Japan. The atmosphere makes it a great place to be.”

Atkinson is sitting pretty and gaining on Spain’s Mireia Belmonte for second place in the overall series standings and cluster for another big pay day. Atkinson is second with 54 points among provisional leaders of the third cluster and second with 228 among provisional leaders of the World Cup after the sixth meet.

“She shaves in three days,” said SOFLO coach Chris Anderson who is coaching Atkinson during the Asian leg. “All we need now is a safe flight, two good workouts and keep developing her core.

“We already have the new suit and now we just need three world records,” Anderson said, referring to the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley.

The seventh and last stages of the FINA World Cup will be held in Tokyo, Nov. 9-10 and Beijing, Nov. 13-14.

In other races:

Men’s 50-meter backstroke: American Eugene Godsoe won in 23.12, just .14 seconds ahead of Aussie Bobby Hurley for his second gold medal of the meet. He also won the 100-meter backstroke.

Women’s 200-meter butterfly: German swimmer Franziska Hentke just edged Katinka Hosszu, who was undefeated in the event, in 2:04.42. Hosszu had won all five races coming into this meet.

Men’s 1500-meter freestyle: South African Myles Brown continues to leave a lasting impression in distance swimming with his win in 14:56.94.

Women’s 400-meter individual medley: Hungarian Katinka Hosszu remained undefeated in this event in 4:27.60.

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: Aussie Cate Campbell won in 51.67 to sweep the sprint events.

Men’s 200-meter freestyle: South African Chad Le Clos won in 1:42.29 for his first win of the series in the event.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Hungarian Daniel Gyurta outclassed the field to win in 57.31. Brazilian Felipe Lima, who trains in South Florida with Alex Pussieldi, took another bronze in 58.29.

Men’s 100-meter butterfly: Le Clos won his second event of the day with a late surge to win in 50.04 after being fourth at the turn.

Women’s 100-meter backstroke: Hosszu swam a national record and lifetime best time to win in 57.04.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Le Clos won his third gold medal of the day in 1:53.36 with a dominating race.

Women’s 400-meter freestyle: New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle, who already had the 800 freestyle gold, took the 400 gold in 4:00.78.

Men’s 50-meter freestyle: Russian Vlad Morozov won the event for the fifth time in six meets in 20.78. Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell was second in 21.20 and American Anthony Ervin was third in 21.26.

Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: Russia’s Yulia Efimova got her first gold of the day winning in 2:18.33.

Women’s 100-meter individual medley: Hosszu was first in 58.29 ahead of Aussie Alicia Coutts in 58.32.

Men’s 200-meter backstroke: American Eugene Godsoe won his second gold of the day in 1:50.56.

Women’s 50-meter butterfly: Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum won in 25.34.

Mixed 200-meter freestyle relay: Brazil won the event in 1:31.02 with Nicholas Oliveira, Fernando Silva, Larissa Oliveira and Graciele Hermann.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 97: Teenager Missy Franklin Breaks World Record In Berlin

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 97: Teenager Missy Franklin Breaks World Record In Germany

October 22, 2011


Teenager Missy Franklin, on the fast track to the 2012 London Olympics, broke her first world short course record Saturday during the FINA/Arena World Cup in Berlin.

Franklin, 16, won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:00.03. Her splits were 28.64, 30.22, 30.75 and 30.42. The previous record was 2:00.18 set by Japan’s Shiho Sakai set at the same meet in 2009.

It was the first world record of the season and first by a woman in a short course or long course event since the high-tech suits were banned Jan. 1, 2010.

It was also the first world record for Franklin’s coach Todd Schmitz of Colorado Stars, who has coached Franklin since she was 7.

“It’s such a great pool, such a great time, it’s just incredible,” Franklin told reporters.

Only three other women have cracked 2:01: Shiho, Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe and Elizabeth Simmonds of Great Britain, but all were wearing the high-tech suits.

Franklin, protecting her soon-to-be NCAA eligibility, had to decline the $10,000 bonus money for a world record and $1,500 for the win. Her total prize money is $17,750 for both the Moscow and Berlin stops.

In other championship finals:

American Allison Schmitt broke the American record in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:52.08, breaking Katie Hoff’s mark of 1:52.91 set in Dubai last December. Missy Franklin was third in the race in 1:53.26.

Lotte Friis of Denmark won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:16.99, fourth fastest time in the world this year.

Canadian Brent Hayden won the 100-meter freestyle in 47.06 topping a field that included Sweden’s Stefan Nystrand, 47.08 and Aussie Matthew Abood, 47.39.

Glenn Snyders of New Zealand won the 50-meter breaststroke in 26.88.

Jennie Johansson of Sweden won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:05.60 just edging Rikke Moller Pedersen of Denmark in 1:05.64.

Michael Phelps won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:01.49, fastest time in the world this year. The U.S. superstar said he retired from swimming the 400 IM long course event since Beijing but never ruled out short course. Phelps also won the 100-meter individual medley in a career-best 51.65.

Ageless Therese Alshammar of Sweden won the 100-meter butterfly in 55.62 and won the 50-meter freestyle in 23.67, improving her prize money total to $11,500.

Aschwin Wildeboer of Spain won the 100-meter backstroke in 50.23 following his 51.70 morning prelim time, the two fastest times in the world this year.

Aussie Rachel Goh won the 50-meter backstroke in 26.80.

South African teenager Chad Le Clos won his tenth gold medal of the series winning the 200-meter butterfly in 1:50.15, fastest time in the world this year. After winning $1,500 for the win, he leads in prize money with $20,000.

Erica Morningstar of Canada won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:06.97.

German Paul Biedermann won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:41.19.

Marco Koch of Germany won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:04.61.

Geoff Huegill of Australia won the 50-meter butterfly in 22.70.

Canadian, Argentine Win Open Water Titles

One day before the one-year anniversary of the death of Fran Crippen in a FINA-sanctioned open water 10K event in United Arab Emirates, Canada’s Richard Weinberger and Argentina’s Cecilia Biagioli won the 10K open water titles Saturday at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Weinberger just edged American Arthur Frayler, 1:57:31.0 to 1:57:31.3 for the gold medal. Guillermo Bertola of Argentina took the bronze in 1:57:33.9.

Biagioli won the women’s title in 2:04:11.5. Brazil’s Poliana Okimoto took silver in 2:05:51 and American Christine Jennings took the bronze in 2:05:52. U.S. teammate Eva Fabian was fourth in 2:05:54.8.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Lacourt Flirts With World Record At LEN European Swimming Championships

Lacourt Flirts With World Record At LEN European Swimming Championships


August 12, 2010

Frenchman Camille Lacourt came close to becoming the first swimmer to set a world record in the post high-tech bodysuit era Thursday night at the LEN European Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Lacourt won the men’s 50-meter backstroke and broke his own meet record in 24.07, just off Liam Tancock’s world record of 24.04 set at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Italy.

Lacourt moved to second on the all-time event list, moving from his No. 3 ranking time of 24.30, then a meet record set earlier in the meet.

It was France’s fourth gold medal of the meet. Lacourt won the 100 backstroke on Tuesday in a European record 52.11, the first record set since the high-tech bodysuits were banned in January.

Tancock was second in 24.70 and Guy Barnea of Israel was third in 25.04.

Also at the Alfred Hajos Pool Complex in front of a partisan crowd, fans were on their feet when Hungarians Katinka Hosszu and Daniel Gyurta won gold in the 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter breaststroke.

Hosszu won the women’s 200-meter individual medley in 2:10.09 while teammate Evelyn Verraszto was second just 0.01 seconds behind in 2:10.10. Britain’s Hannah Miley was third in 2:10.89.

Gyurta, the world champion, won the men’s 200-meter breaststroke in a meet record 2:08.95, ahead of Norway’s Alexander Dale Oen who finished second in 2:09.68. Frenchman Hugues Duboscq was third in 2:11.03.

“Daniel is king of the 200-meter breaststroke,” Dale Oen said. “He was so strong and simply unbeatable today. I have to train differently for the 200 to get faster. The 200 is always a beast for me.”

The Hungarian women’s 800-meter freestyle relay had the fans standing on their feet again when it nipped France in a thrilling finish for the gold medal, 7:52.49-7:52.69. The relay team of Agnes Mutina, Ezster Dara, Katinka Hosszu and Eveyln Verraszto gave Hungary another gold to cheer about to end a perfect night of swimming.

Earlier, Great Britain won its fourth gold medal when world champion Gemma Spofforth of the University of Florida won the 100-meter backstroke in 59.80 finishing ahead of teammate Elizabeth Simmonds in 1:00.19. Jenny Mensing of Germany was third in 1:00.72.

“It was a hard race but it’s good to come out the best,” Spofforth said. “I would have preferred two golds, but you’ve got to share them.”

Poland won it first gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly when defending champion Pawel Korzeniowski won in 1:55. Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov was second and former champion Ioannis Drymonakos of Greece was third.

Danish world champion Lotte Friis won the women’s 800-meter freestyle in 8:23.27.

“Today I was as fast as when I won bronze in Beijing (8:23.03) and that after the return to textile suits,” Friis said.

Ophelie Cyrielle Etienne of France was second in 8:24.00 and Federica Pellegrini was third in 8:24.99. Teenager Grainee Murphy, 17, of Ireland was fourth in a career-best 8:25.04, just missing out on a medal.

In her first final of the week, British Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington was a surprising seventh in 8:27.48.  Adlington said she is focusing more on the Commonwealth Games in India in October.

“It was an amazing swim, to finish fourth in my first Europeans is just incredible,” Murphy said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I was just going in there to go as well as I could.”

Swim Ireland has not had a swimmer in the final of the European Championships in more than a decade.

Swim Ireland High Performance Director Peter Banks said it was “one of the greatest performances by a young Irish athlete” and has become an inspiration to top juniors in Ireland.

“It’s the best performance by an Irish swimmer in years because you had the Olympic champion and world champion in the race as well as other world record holders,” Banks said. “It should be a real inspiration to all.”

Annika Saarnak, a University of Miami senior swimmer and Estonia national record holder, was 26th overall in the 100-meter butterfly heats. She finished in 1:01.34.

Earlier in the week, Saarnak finished 22nd in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.69 and was 52nd in the 100-meter freestyle 58.82. Saarnak’s final event will be the 50 freestyle on Saturday.

A record-high 591 swimmers from 43 European countries are competing for 61 titles in the championships that end on Sunday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at