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Mighty show of the Greeks at the Europeans March 26, 2008

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Greek swimmers end competition at Eindhoven event with two gold and two silver medals

26-03-08_greek_swimmers.jpg  Yiannis Drymonakos (l) added a fourth medal (silver in the men’s 400 m medley) to Greece’s tally at the Europeans on Monday night.

The Greek 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, the Netherlands, 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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Two Greek gold medals at Europeans March 24, 2008

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Greece’s 4×200-meter freestyle swimming team came seventh at the European Swimming Championships in the Dutch city of Eindhoven yesterday.

Greece won two gold medals late on Friday night with Yiannis Drymonakos winning the 200-meter butterfly and Aris Grigoriadis coming first in the 50-meter backstroke.

Another gold for Greece March 22, 2008

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Yiannis Drymonakos celebrates after winning the gold

22-03-08_yiannis_drymonakos.jpg  Greek swimmer Yiannis Drymonakos celebrates after winning the gold in the 200-meter butterfly at the European Swimming Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, yesterday. Drymonakos touched in ahead of Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski and Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov.

Silver medal for Greece March 21, 2008

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Greek swimmer Aris Grigoriadis settled for a silver medal in the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the European Championships on Wednesday night after clocking the world’s fastest time this year in the semifinals.

21-03-08_aris_grigiriadis.jpg  Grigoriadis led the pack through the first lap but was overtaken by Austria’s Markus Rogan late in the return lap for the gold medal. Grigoriadis’s silver medal was Greece’s first medal at the event, held in the Netherlands.

Greek swims world’s fastest time this year March 19, 2008

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Aristidis Grigoriadis cruises into today’s men’s 100-meter backstroke final at Europeans with new national record, 54.33 seconds

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.

Greece’s swimming team eyes medals March 18, 2008

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Romanos Alyfantis and Aristidis Grigoriadis among hopefuls at European Championships

Romanos Alyfantis goes into the men’s 100-meter breaststroke with the year’s second-best time, 1.00.39, among 56 entries.

The European Swimming Championships begin today in Eindhoven, the Netherlands with the Greek team hoping for big performances from two team members on opening day.

18-03-08_romanos_alyfantis.jpg  Romanos Alyfantis goes into the men’s 100-meter breaststroke holding the second-best time this year, 1.00.39, among the event’s 56 swimmers registered to compete. Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale Oen has clocked the best time this year, a 1.00.34 performance.

The Greek team will also be looking at a solid performance from Aristidis Grigoriadis in the backstroke. Grigoriadis, who finished third in the men’s backstroke at the previous Europeans two years ago, is ranked fifth among 44 entries with a time of 54.75 seconds. Also today, Irini Kavarnou goes into the women’s 50-meter butterfly event ranked 16th among 43 contestants with a time of 27.30.

Competing in the men’s 50-meter butterfly, Sotiris Pastras is ranked 26th among 51 entries with a time of 24.80. Vassilis Demetis, who has registered for the men’s 400-meter freestyle, enters the event ranked 21st among 31 swimmers with a time of 3.53.50.

One of the Greek team’s youngest members, Aspasia Petradaki, aged 15, will compete in the women’s 200 meters with a time of 2.19.17, the 15th best performance this year among 23 entries.

Greece, a country without a winning tradition in international swimming competition, tallied a respectable five medals – two silver and three bronze – at the previous European Championships in 2006. There were also a further five finalists. Though this summer’s Beijing Olympics ranks as the premier event on the international swimming calendar this year, these Europeans stand as the year’s prime objective for most Greek swimmers, because they have more realistic chances of raking in medals here. Times have been severely slashed at international-level swimming, the main undercutters being American and Australian swimmers.

Greek weightlifters show promise before Beijing March 17, 2008

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Greece wins 11 medals at the EU Championships, synchronized swimming ensemble misses out on medal at Europeans

Displaying promise ahead of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, the Greek National Weightlifting Team won 11 medals at the European Union Championships in Forst, Germany.

The Greek men’s team finished third in the competition’s overall rankings and the women’s team ended fifth. Germany won the men’s event and Poland triumphed in the women’s competition.

The Greek National Team’s performance was particularly encouraging given the entry of Bulgaria and Romania, both traditional powers in weightlifting, to this latest edition of the EU Championships. Among the Greek team’s top performers was the 23-year-old athlete Natalia Tsoulia, who won three gold medals in the women’s 75-kilogram division. She lifted 95 kilograms in the snatch, and 110 kilograms in the clean and jerk.

“I wanted to lift more kilograms, but it doesn’t matter, I’ll accomplish this at the European Championships next month” said a beaming Tsoulia following her success in Germany, who had stopped competing for two years but made a comeback last year at the National Championships.

Other medal winners for the Greek team included Christos Saltsidis, who ended up with two silvers and a bronze in the men’s 94 kilogram division.

In other Olympic sports, the Greek Synchronized Swimming Team narrowly missed out on a medal at the European Championships. The Greek team ended fourth after a mistake at the beginning of its routine cost it a medal.

“We made a major mistake at the beginning. You can’t win medals when you make mistakes such as these. The judges were right, and if we were better, we would have won the bronze medal” noted the team’s coaches Anastassia Gustcheva and Albena Mladenova. “The girls lack experience. They have a lot to learn. They will mature and bigger successes will come their way.”

Spain won the gold medal, Italy won the silver and Ukraine the bronze.