Russia's flood of gold leaves rivals floundering

Baku, June 27, AZERTAC

The tidal wave of Russian medals which threatens to turn the Baku Aquatics Centre into a private members' club shows no signs of losing its force any time soon.

Of the seven finals on Friday night, five finished with Russian winners.

There was also a world junior record for Daniil Pakhomov in his 100m butterfly semifinal – just hours after setting the previous one in the heats.

Arina Openysheva now has six gold medals while Mariia Kameneva has five and Polina Egorova has four.

Filipp Shopin joined the party by winning the men's 50m backstroke, though the women are streets ahead in the medal count.

Swimming against the current was Luke Greenbank of Great Britain, who collected his second gold in the 200m backstroke and broke the world junior record set by China's Li Guangyuan at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games with a time of 1:56.89. Silver went to Mikita Tsmyh of Belarus and bronze to Russia's Roman Larin.

There was also a second gold for France's Nicolas D'Oriano in the 800m freestyle to match his 1500m feat. He broke eight minutes for the first time to leave Spain's Marcos Rodriguez Mesa and Henning Muehlleitner of Germany filling the silver and bronze positions.

Otherwise it was all about the Russians.

The scene was set early when Openysheva took her revenge on the Netherlands' Marrit Steenbergen in the women's 200m freestyle after losing to her in the 100m. Germany's Leonie Kullman took bronze.

Egorova took the 200m butterfly to add to the 200m backstroke and two relay golds. Amelia Clynes of Great Britain was second, while the bronze was shared by Ilektra Varvara Lebl of Greece and Laura Stephens, also of Great Britain.

Steenbergen found herself on the receiving end of another Russian revenge in the 50m freestyle, as the outstanding Kameneva showed why she is the queen of sprints. Denmark's Julie Jensen took third.

The women may be leading the way at the Baku 2015 European Games, but Shopin looked like he was enjoying his moment in the spotlight as he punched the air after winning the 50m backstroke. Marek Ulrich of Germany and Ukraine's Andrii Khloptsov took silver and bronze.

In the mixed medley relay, Pakhomov showed that if you cannot beat the women, you can join them. Openysheva, Kameneva and Anton Chupkov completed the invincible quartet to finish ahead of Great Britain and Germany.

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