SPORTS

Following a series of bronze medals, Greece wins two silvers

Taking the national team’s success at the ongoing European Swimming Championships in Budapest beyond the series of bronze medals won in recent days, two Greek swimmers won silver medals within minutes of each other during yesterday’s session. Yiannis Drymonakos led the way in the men’s 200-meter butterfly with second place in the final. Aris Grigoriadis also captured a another silver medal in the men’s 50-meter backstroke. It was his second medal at the Budapest event, following a bronze medal in the 100-meter breastroke. Grigoriadis, the reigning world champion in the 50-meter backstroke and fastest qualifier for last night’s final, went into the event as the favorite for gold, but an imperfect start in the one-lap contest deprived him of first place. Continuing Germany’s domination in the event ever since its recent introduction at the Europeans, Helge Meeuw won the gold medal with a time of 25.06 seconds. Grigoriadis clocked 25.14 seconds, just ahead of the bronze medalist, British swimmer Matthew Clay, who registered 25.15 seconds. «I’m very happy about both my time and placing,» said Grigoriadis, without, however, convincing that he was totally content with the result. «I made a small error at the start and that probably cost me first place. What can you do? Sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to.» Grigoriadis noted that his two medals in Budapest proved he could maintain standards. For many, last year’s gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke at the World Championships in Montreal was a major surprise. «There’s continuity in all that I’ve done so far. I’ve proved that I can maintain a standard,» Grigoriadis said. «Duration is the most important thing for an athlete.» Drymonakos, who had won silver in the 200-meter butterfly several minutes earlier, which reportedly prompted Grigoriadis to briefly interrupt his pre-competition preparations for his final and celebrate, had qualified for the final with the third-fastest qualifying time. Polish swimmer Pawel Korzeniowski, the world champion, won the gold medal in 1:55.04, a new championship record. Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov won bronze in 1:57.12. Drymonakos clocked 1:57.02, just over the time of 1:56.99 he registered in his semifinal heat. Commenting on his tactics for the final, Drymonakos said: «I began the race really fast and knew that I would get tired. My only hope was all the effort and pain at training this year, which I was counting on to keep me going.» The 22-year-old still has some work to do in Budapest, in the competition’s 400-meter individual medley, whose heats and final are scheduled for Sunday, the championship’s closing day. Yesterday’s session produced a new world record in the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay from the German team. In another highlight, 19-year-old Frenchwoman Laure Manaudou won two gold medals in quick succession. The French swimmer, who won the 800-meter freestyle in European record time on Wednesday, added to her medal collection with victory in the 200-meter individual medley. Less than 40 minutes later, she was back to defend the 100-meter backstroke title she won in 2004.