Record-breaking Astashkina wins triple gold in pool

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Baku, June 25 AZERTAC

Russian triple champion Maria Astashkina became the first world record holder in the pool at the Baku 2015 European Games as she broke the junior 200m breaststroke record before helping set another global milestone in the 4x100m medley relay.

It was a night when Russia's brightest young talents shone again, Austria struck unexpected double gold and Britain's Duncan Scott took the blue riband 100m freestyle crown.

Pride of place, though, went to 16-year-old Astashkina, who clocked 2 minutes 23.06 seconds, taking six-hundredths of a second off the world junior record 'target time' set up by FINA last year.

"I wasn't expecting to beat the record, I was just trying to go faster than I did in the semi-final," said the girl from Penza.

Four-time European junior champion Astashkina destroyed the field by more than 10m, with Giulia Verona of Italy taking silver and 14-year-old Layla Black, the youngest member of the British swim team, claiming bronze.

Having already taken the 50m sprint on Tuesday, Astashkina teamed up with fellow Russian gold medallists Mariia Kameneva, Polina Egorova and Arina Openysheva less than two hours after her 200m breaststroke victory to win the medley relay. The Russian quartet dominated against silver medallists Netherlands and bronze winners Britain in a world junior record of 4:03.22, beating the mark of 4:03.44 set by the US in August 2014. The tireless Openysheva collected her fourth gold to go with one silver.

Scott, a gold medallist at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, roared to his second title of the week after his 4x100m freestyle relay victory.

The 18-year-old Scotsman, who will represent Britain at the world championships in Kazan in July, lay third at halfway but stormed down the second length to leave Europe's fastest teenagers floundering. He won the race in 49.43 seconds from Alessandro Miressi of Italy and Russia's Vladislav Kozlov.

Scott and his teammates later took silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay final dominated by the Russian quartet of Aleksandr Prokofev, Nikolay Snegirev, Ernest Maksumov and Elisei Stepanov, who were less than a second outside a world junior record in 7:16.08 and believe they can go on one day to eclipse the USA's senior record of 6:58.55. Germany were third.

The precociously gifted Russian Daniil Pakhomov was an easy winner of the 200m butterfly. He took the lead halfway through the second length and then kept double Youth Olympics medallist Giacomo Carini of Italy at bay to win in 1:57.04. Frenchman Matthias Marsau took bronze.

Austria enjoyed a great night with double gold from Sebastian Steffan in the men's 200m individual medley and Caroline Pilhatsch in the 50m backstroke.

Steffan produced a blistering final freestyle leg to stretch a narrow lead into a convincing victory in 2:01.39 over British pair silver medallist Jarvis Parkinson and third-placed Martyn Walton.

Pilhatsch, a 16-year-old from Graz, had only targeted a top five result, but in a frenetic finish, she clocked 28.60, pipping Pauline Mahieu of France by 0.1 second and the busy Kameneva by 0.17.

Andrius Sidlauskas became Lithuania's first champion in the pool, coming through late to snatch the 50m breaststroke gold by 0.08 seconds in 27.81 from Youth Olympics champion Nikola Obrovac of Croatia, with Dane Tobias Bjerg third.

In one of the races of the week, Italian Sveva Schiazzano executed an unexpected game plan from lane one of the 1500m freestyle final.

She took the lead with 400m left, gradually breaking up the central lanes duel between Janka Juhasz of Hungary and Spain's Marina Castro Atalaya, who had to settle for another bronze after her third place in the 800m freestyle.

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