Sarah Sjostrom, Katinka Hosszu strike gold at Europeans
Sarah Sjostrom and Katinka Hosszu again demonstrated their class at the European Championships on Wednesday.
Swede Sjostrom became the first to win three individual golds over the week, as she added the 100m freestyle title to the 50m free and 100m butterfly double she pulled off last Saturday.
It was also a night to celebrate a third all-time swimming great with Katinka Hosszu, Hungary's triple Olympic champion, rediscovering her old spirit and verve after a trying year of personal problems to win the 200m individual medley.
The 24-year-old perfectionist Sjostrom was disappointed with her winning 100m free time of 52.93sec, well adrift of her world record 51.71 but then she did have to be back in the pool in 20 minutes, tackling the 50m butterfly semi-finals.
Almost inevitably, she won that race too, setting up the prospect of a fourth individual gold on Thursday and 14th European title in total.
The triumph of the great Hosszu, a fifth consecutive victory in the European 200m IM, was evidently an emotional occasion for Hungary's 29-year-old 'Iron Lady', who said her public break-up with husband and coach Shane Tusup had disrupted her build-up.
Though clearly still nowhere near her best, Hosszu's gutsy freestyle, which dragged her from fourth to gold over the final length, enabled her to pip Italian teenager Ilaria Cusinato for gold.
Hosszu, who reckoned she had rediscovered her love for swimming, said: "Tonight, I got in the blocks and knew I would fight until the end. It's a really amazing feeling."
Evgeny Rylov broke his own European record in 1:53.36 to take the 200m backstroke title and extend Russia's lead at the top of the swimming medal table with their eighth gold.