Sarah Sjostrom claimed her third gold medal of the European Championships tonight ©Getty Images

Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström claimed a third gold medal at the European Aquatics Championships here on an evening in which Italy also continued their near-perfect record in men's freestyle events.

Four-time World Championship gold medallist Sjostrom was utterly dominant in her signature 100 metres butterfly event, touching for gold in a meeting record 55.89sec.

It followed on from her 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly victories and made an ominous statement to the rest of the world ahead of this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, particularly because the winning time was just 0.25 seconds slower than her own world record.

Denmark’s defending champion Jeanette Ottesen repeated her result from the 50m final to claim the silver medal in 56.83 and Italy’s 2014 bronze medallist Ilaria Bianchi returned to the podium with 57.52 for bronze.

There was more success for Denmark in the 200m breaststroke when Rikke Møller Pedersen successfully defended her title in 2min 21.69sec after a superb second-half of the race.

Spain’s Jessica Vall Montero, who tied for the bronze medal with Pedersen at last year’s World Championships, took the silver medal in 2:22.56 and Iceland’s Hrafnhildu Luthersdottir touched in 2:22.96 for bronze.

Britain's Molly Renshaw and Chloe Tutton finished fourth and sixth on a rare night of no medals for the host nation.

Denmark's Rikke Møller Pedersen claimed victory in the 200m breaststroke final ©Getty Images
Denmark's Rikke Møller Pedersen claimed victory in the 200m breaststroke final ©Getty Images

Gregorio Paltrinieri was another defending champion to win again, breaking his own Championship record to retain his 800m freestyle title and follow on from his 1,500m success.

The Italian finished in 7:42.33 and his team-mate and 400m champion Gabriele Detti followed him home in 7:43.52.

“It was really, really tough at the end, I was almost dying,” said Paltrinieri.

“I’m in the middle of my Olympic preparations here and I have swam such great times this is great.”

Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Romanchuk took the bronze medal in 7:47.99,

Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 800m freestyle to follow his 1500m freestyle success ©Getty Images
Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 800m freestyle to follow his 1,500m freestyle success ©Getty Images

Paltrinieri's team-mate Luca Dotto then claimed his first major individual title in a blanket finish in the showpiece 100m freestyle.

Just 0.11 seconds separated the top three as Dotto clocked 48.25 for the gold medal , while The Netherlands' Sebastiaan Verschuren and France’s Clement Mignon touched in 48.32 and 48.36 for silver and bronze respectively.

Verschuren's 200m victory is now the only men's freestyle event not won by an Italian.

The Dutchman enjoyed another success by joining Ben Schwietert, Maud van der Meer and Ranomi Kromowidjojo to claim 4x100m mixed medley relay gold medal in 3:23.64.

They finished ahead of defending champions Italy in 3:24.55 and France in 3:25.49.

Britain will be confident of returning to the podium tomorrow as triple world champion Adam Peaty and Ross Murdoch qualified first and second fastest for the 50m breaststroke final.