The national team continued to impress at the ongoing European Swimming Championships in Budapest yesterday with two national records and a surprise qualification in a final. Swimming in the fifth heat of the 400-meter freestyle qualifiers, Spyros Gianniotis set a new national record with a time of 3:48.67, breaking the previous record of 3:48.77, which he had set at the Athens Olympics two years ago. Gianniotis ended ninth overall in the qualifying action but earned one of the final’s eight berths as the replacement for one of three Polish swimmers who had qualified. Regulations permit only two athletes from one country to compete in finals and semifinals. «I didn’t expect it, but it’s all possible. My main objective is the 1,500 meters, but every time I say that I do well in the 400 meters,» Gianniotis said. In the final, staged later yesterday, Gianniotis finished last, well below his new national record, with a time of 3:51.40. Russia’s Yuri Prilukov won gold with a time of 3:45.73, Italy’s Italian Massimiliano Rosolino captured silver with 3:46.87, and Frenchman Nicolas Rostoucher won bronze with a time of 3:47.04. Not long after Gianniotis’s national record, teammate Aris Grigoriadis, competing in the 100-meter backstroke, broke his own national record with a time of 54.51 seconds, trimming a 10th of a second from the 54.61 seconds he had registered at the Worlds in Montreal last year. Grigoriadis advanced to the event’s semifinals as the fastest qualifier among a total of 39 contestants. Three other Greek swimmers narrowly missed out on semifinals places yesterday. In the women’s butterfly event, Irini Kavarnou swam just under her year’s best of 27.54 seconds, registering a time of 27.57 for 18th place among 46 swimmers. Sotiris Pastras registered a personal best time of 24.52 seconds in the men’s 50-meter butterfly, but ended one place below the 16 semifinal berths. Despite swimming about four seconds over her year’s best time, Stella Boumi came extremely close to reaching the 200-meter women’s semifinals. With a time of 2:17.28, the 18-year-old swimmer ended 17th, one place short of the semifinals. Dimitris Magganas registered his season’s best performance in the men’s 400-meter freestyle with a time of 3:54.07 without, however, advancing in the category. «I expected a better time, between 3:51 and 3:52. I used this to prepare for the 4×200 freestyle relay,» he said. Romanos Alyfantis, Europe’s fastest in the 100-meter breastroke this year with a time of 1:00.74, did not join the national team in Budapest. No reasons were given.