Mighty show at the Europeans

EINDHOVEN – The national team’s showing at the European Swimming Championships, which ended Monday night, proved successful yet paradoxical should performance be measured in numbers alone. Greek swimmers struck gold for the first time ever at European-level competition, twice for that matter, and also raked in two silver medals. All four medals were won by two swimmers, Yiannis Drymonakos and Aris Grigoriadis, who each won a gold and silver medal. But the number of Greeks who qualified for finals fell again, as has invariably been the case in recent years. There were a total of seven Greek entries in finals at the Eindhoven event. Two years earlier in Madrid, where the level of competition was lower, Greece’s finalist tally reached 13. Even so, the national team had never won a gold medal since the Europeans were launched in 1926. But this was accomplished twice in Eindhoven. Yiannis Drymonakos won the gold medal in the men’s 200-meter butterfly with a new European record time of 1.54:16, which ranks as the second-fastest performance of all time behind Michael Phelps, the renowned American record holder. Drymonakos added a silver medal to his tally on closing night, Monday, in the men’s 400-meter medley. He set a new national record, 4.14:72. «I didn’t expect to break the record after the butterfly, where I gave it my all. It was difficult to stay in shape,» said Drymonakos. «I was really tired after qualifying and I felt a lot of pressure because everybody expected me to win a medal.» Aristidis Grigoriadis won Greece’s other gold medal in the men’s 50-meter backstroke with a time of 25.13 seconds. He also won a silver medal in the men’s 100-meter men’s backstroke.

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