Aristidis Grigoriadis goes into this afternoon’s final in the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the European Swimming Championships in Eindhoven as a prime candidate for the gold medal after winning his semifinal yesterday in 54.33 seconds, the year’s fastest time in the world and a new national record. The Thessaloniki-based swimmer, who won the bronze medal in this event at the Europeans two years ago, went to the championships with a year-best performance of 54.75 seconds. He won his first heat earlier in the day yesterday with a time of 54.81 seconds. Also yesterday, which was the event’s opening day, Irini Kavarnou smashed her own national record of 27.30 seconds in the women’s 50-meter butterfly with a time of 26.88 seconds to end fifth in her morning heat. Swimming in her semifinal heat later in the evening, Kavarnou failed to repeat the performance. She clocked 27.03 seconds to rank 10th overall and narrowly miss out on securing one of the final’s eight lanes. Aspasia Petradaki, still in her mid-teens, displayed promise in the women’s 200-meter backstroke by reaching the semifinals. The youngster, however, ended last in her semifinal with a time of 2.19.56. Romanos Alyfantis failed to live up to bigger expectations in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke. He went into competition with the year’s second-best time in Europe, 1:00.39, but ended 33rd overall with a time of 1:02.98. Vassilis Demetis clocked 3:53.64 in the 400-meter freestyle to end 21st overall, his ranking ahead of the event.