Berlin (AFP) - Jazmin Carlin launched herself into the upper realms of distance swimming with victory in the 800 metres freestyle while "Iron Lady" Katinka Hosszu won three medals on a night of quality racing at the European Championships on Thursday.
Only American Katie Ledecky, on the road to greatness at 17, has swum faster than Carlin in a textile suit, the Briton picking up her second title in three weeks following Commonwealth gold.
She set a new championship record of 8min 15.54sec ahead of Mireia Belmonte Garcia and Boglorka Kapas.
Ledecky swam more than three seconds quicker earlier Thursday at the Pan-Pacific Championships in Australia but Carlin has intense speed through the water only to lose ground at the turns so there is room for further cuts in the Welshwoman’s times.
Hosszu added the 200m individual medley title to her 400m gold, shared 100m backstroke with 17-year-old Mie Nielsen before anchoring Hungary to bronze in the 4x200m freestyle.
Germany's Marco Koch raised the roof by winning the 200m breaststroke title.
Belmonte Garcia took the 800m freestyle out in an attempt to break the field, Carlin going with her but losing ground at each turn.
Carlin's former coach Bud McAllister described her as "pitbull, rottweiler, whatever", a reference to her tenacity.
So it proved with Carlin refusing to let go but instead going ahead at 600m and pulling away for an ultimately emphatic victory.
Belmonte Garcia, the Olympic silver medallist, was second in 8:21.22 with defending champion Kapas of Hungary third.
Injury and illness has conspired against the Briton and there have been near misses, making the last three weeks all the more special.
"It's been amazing, I couldn't have asked for more. I am in shock with that time," said Carlin.
"I knew I was capable of going a faster time -– I've done three 8min 18sec in the past year -– so I knew I was due a drop but I didn't know whether it would be here.
"To come away with 8:15 and a gold medal -- I couldn't have asked for more.
"It's been a really great season. I've put in a lot of work and I think you get out what you put in."
Twenty-four hours after Laszlo Cseh proved again he is the undisputed king of the European medley, his fellow Hungarian Hosszu demonstrated she is the queen.
Hosszu won the 400m individual medley on the opening night and on Thursday she gave a demonstration in the 200m event with a new championship record of 2:08.11, the margin of victory over Aimee Willmott a mighty 3.33secs with Lisa Zaiser third.
She said: "I wanted to slip under 2:08 but it was hard to go faster as no one really challenged me. All in all, it was a good swim and a gold medal is always a gold medal."
The 25-year-old then returned to share the 100m backstroke title with Nielsen, the pair dead-heating on 59.63 with Britain’s Georgia Davies third.
Her gruelling programme concluded with the final event of the night when she anchored Hungary to bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Koch held off Ross Murdoch to take the 200m breaststroke in a championship record of 2:07.47, 0.30 ahead of the young Briton with Giedrius Titenis of Lithuania in third.
A powerful final leg by former Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini saw Italy overhaul Sweden to win the 4x200m freestyle in a championship record of 7:50.53 with Hungary in third.
Viktor Bromer of Denmark won the 200m butterfly in 1:55.29 and Vladimir Morozov took the 50m backstroke in 24.64.