GLASGOW (Reuters) - Sarah Sjoestroem rounded off another landmark week at the European Championships by winning her fourth individual gold medal in the 50 metres butterfly on Thursday.
Dominant breaststrokers Adam Peaty and Yuliya Efimova also ended up with four titles apiece as the programme concluded at the Tollcross International Centre with Efimova and her Russian team mates heading the swimming medal table with 26, including 10 golds.
Sweden’s Olympic champion Sjoestroem sped to victory in 25.16 seconds to annex the 14th European gold of her prodigious career.
The 24-year-old perfectionist was still not entirely satisfied, though. “It was good overall with all the gold medals but I was hoping for some faster times,” shrugged the multi-world record holder.
“I wanted to be a little bit faster, but hopefully I’ll come back to the same level I did at the 2017 world championships.”
Efimova won the 50m breaststroke in 29.81 to add to her 100m and 200m crowns and became the first woman since Hungary’s Agnes Kovacs in 1999 to achieve that treble.
Not content with that, she then swam a blistering and decisive breaststroke leg of the 4x100m medley relay to ensure a fourth gold alongside Anastasiia Fesikova, Svetlana Chimrova and Mariia Kameneva.
Britain’s Peaty, already a triple champion and a world record breaker in the 100m breaststroke, took his fourth gold as part of the victorious British men’s 4x100m medley quartet alongside Nick Pyle, James Guy and Duncan Scott.
World champion Ben Proud confirmed himself as Europe’s fastest man as he became the first British man to race away with the 50m freestyle crown in 21.34sec, a huge one-tenth of a second clear of Greek Kristian Gkolomeev.
Italy enjoyed a stellar final day with three gold medals, headed by a third triumph in the 400m freestyle for Simona Quadarella, the 19-year-old who had already made a dramatic breakthrough by taking the 800m and 1,500m titles.
Piero Codia earned a 100m butterfly triumph from lane eight in 50.64sec that surprised even himself while Margherita Panziera won the 200m backstroke in 2min 06.18sec. Both times were championship records.
With his silver medal in the medley relay, Russian Kliment Kolesnikov finished the Championships with six medals three golds, two silver and a bronze — more than any athlete at the entire multi-sport Championships — not to mention a world record in the 50m backstroke. He is still only 18.
Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar