Day 4 of the 2012 European Junior Swimming Championships in Antwerp, Belgium rolled on with another big day for the Russians.
Mariya Baklakova won the first women’s final of the day with a 1:58.59 in the 200 free. That was a few-tenths slower than her semi-final swim of 1:58.26, but throughout the meet she both crushed her own Junior National Record by two seconds, broke the European Junior Record, and moved into the top three in Russian history. This is her second win, and record-breaking swim, of the meet, which is encouraging for her ahead of the upcoming Olympics. Thus far, a relay swim in this 200 free is the only spot of which she’s been guaranteed, but with how good she’s looked in Belgium, a spot on the 400 free relay should be in her future as well.
400 champion Diletta Carli took 2nd in 1:59.75, which is surprisingly not a best time after knocking a second off of her swim in the longer race; and Denmark’s Mie Nielsen took 3rd in 1:59.91.For Nielsen, that demolishes the old Danish Junior Record that had stood stunningly since the 1988 Olympics, when Mette Jacobson swam a 2:01.80 to make the semi-finals. For Nielsen, that’s her second record in as many days, and a new development in the extremely-young career of a girl who has predominantly been a sprinter to this point of her career. Even though she’s only 16, she is constantly re-establishing herself as a superstar in Europe.
The Russian women won again with a 59.07 from Svetlana Chimrova to win the women’s 100 fly. That breaks another Russian Junior Record (by almost a full second) and pushes that team to 10 meet titles thus far. Hungary’s Liliana Szilagyi took 2nd in 59.91.
Great Britain’s Joseph Patching won the 17-18 boys’ 200 backstroke in 1:59.45. He faded at the end, but still held off Luca Mencarini from Italy, who was 2nd in 1:59.66.
And in the day’s sprint races, Niccolo Bonacchi won the 50 back in 25.46, just barely missing the Meet Record by .06, and Germany’s Anna-Stephanie Dietterle won the girls’ 50 free in 25.40.
The Russian women capped off the session with one more gold medal, and one more Junior National Record, with a 4:07.61 to win the women’s 400 medley relay. That included another lights-out anchor from Baklakova in 55.04 to pull away from the runners-up of Britain (4:08.40). For Baklakova, that’s now four gold medals from this year’s meet.
All boys’ races at this meet are for 17-18′s, and all girls’ are for 15-16′s.
At this meet, team points are being given to the top 8 places. Despite Russia’s domination of the golds, the Germans have used superior depth, though, to remain on top of the point standings. Top 5 are below.
1. Germany 181
2. Russia 177
3. Great Britain 145
4. Italy 126
5. Hungary 68