EINDHOVEN, Netherlands -- Russian Dmitry
Sautin won an unprecedented sixth 3-meter springboard diving
title at the European swimming championships on Friday.
Sautin, who turned 34 last Saturday, seized the lead from
newly crowned 1-meter springboard champion Illya Kvasha in the
fifth round of the six-dive final with a magnificent reverse 2½ somersaults piked which earned him five perfect 10s and
two 9.5s from the seven judges.
Kvasha, 20, maintained the pressure with a strong
sixth effort but Sautin, the most prolific medal winner in
Olympic diving, more than matched him with the last dive of the
final to retain his title by 25 points with an aggregate total
of 493.70 points.
Kvasha took silver with 468.70 and Finland's Juha Puhakka,
Wednesday's 1-meter silver medallist behind the Ukrainian,
claimed bronze with 441.80.
"I don't yet know whether I'll retire after the Olympic
Games in Beijing. But why should I?" Sautin, the 1996 Olympic
platform champion, said.
"At my advanced age of 34 I still have a word to say among
the world's top divers. The Chinese are not unbeatable either."
Sautin previously won the European three-meter title in
1995, 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2006 and was silver medallist in
1993. No other man has won it more than three times.
Sautin has won 16 European medals, 11 of them gold. "Of
course I'm particularly happy with my 11th European title," he
said. His Olympic tally is seven medals, two of them gold, and
his world championship medal count is nine, including five gold.