Day 4 of the 2013 FINA Junior World Championships will include almost exclusively medal finals, with 8 sets of medals handed out in 10 evening events.
- Girls 50 backstroke Semifinal
- Boys 200 breaststroke FINAL
- Girls 50 fly FINAL
- Boys 50 back FINAL
- Girls 100 breast FINAL
- Boys 50 fly Semifinal
- Girls 400 free FINAL
- Boys 50 free FINAL
- Girls 200 IM FINAL
- Boys 800 free relay FINAL
Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte comes into the session as the favorite in both the 100 breaststroke final and later the 200 IM, but she has dropped the 50 fly to avoid a quadruple. She will still swim a triple, though, with the 50 back semi-final.
Girls’ 50 backstroke – semifinals
Daria Ustinova, after being upset in the 200 backstroke final, will take the top seed into the women’s 50 backstroke final after a 28.57, but American Kathleen Baker and her 28.61, winner of the 200 backstroke, will be lurking. Thus far in the meet, perhaps contrary to expectations, Ustinova has been the better at the sprints, whereas Baker has excelled at the distance race.
Ustinova just turned 15 today, Thursday, but she’s not even the youngest swimmer in this final. That honor goes to 14-year old Gabrielle Fa’Amausili, who took the 3rd seed in 28.68. She has slowly been shredding the New Zealand age group scene, but until this week was largely unknown to the greater swimming community.
Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, continuing her wild 6-day run at this meet, swam the first of three events in this semi with a 28.78. It could have been worse, though, as she scratched out of a 4th.
Britain’s Jessica Fullalove (28.84), American Clara Smiddy (28.88), Germany’s Laura Riedemann (29.26 – another 15-year old), and Ukraine’s Iryna Glavnyk (29.35) round out the top 8. Smiddy is the first American swimmer to qualify, without scratches, to a 50-meter non-Olympic final at this meet.
Boys 200 Breaststroke – FINAL
The Russian boys have now won four medals in two breaststroke races so far, including both golds, after Aleksandr Palatov won the 200 distance in 2:10.75, cracking a full second off of the 2011 World Record set by Akihiro Yamaguchi in 2:11.70 (remember that Yamaguchi, a year later, would break the World Record).
He was joined on the podium by fellow Russian Mikhail Dorinov, who won bronze in 2:12.11, which is his lifetime best (just hopping his swim from the European Junior Championships).
In between them at the touch was a third European, David Horvath, in 2:11.95. He was 4th at the European Junior Championships, but with no Yannick Lindenberg in the race in Dubai, Horvath made a two-second improvement to take silver.
Japan’s Ippei Watanabe took 4th in 2:12.58, but born in 1997, he is the only swimmer in this final who will be eligible for the 2015 version of this meet in Budapest.
American Gunnar Bentz was 5th in 2:13.37. That’s much better than he looked in the first two rounds of this meet, but is still half-a-second shy of his best time.
The other American, Penn State-bound Andy Schuehler, was 8th in 2:16.04.
Girls 50 Fly – FINAL
Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova methodically marched down the Championship Record in all three rounds of the girls’ 50 fly, and finished it off in finals with a 26.32 that clears her 26.40 from the semi-finals.
This final, unlike most 50′s, was without any real lightning-quick starters, though among the best was Australian 14-year old Stephanie Whan, who took silver in 26.71. She was followed by Lucie Svecena in 26.97 for bronze, and the second Australian Jemma Schlicht in 27.04.
Whan is the only of the finalists young enough to hope for a return visit in 2015 to this meet, where she will be the default favorite if she competes.
Canadian Frederique Cigna was 5th in 27.19, and American Katie McLaughlin, who was scratched into the final, wound up 6th in 27.21 (a .01 second improvement from the semis).
Boys 50 Back – FINAL
Matching the record of his countrymate in the race before, University of Louisville-bound Russian Grigory Tarasevich won the boys’ 50 backstroke in 25.44. That completed a Junior sweep for him, as he won the Russian Junior title (26.1), the European Junior title (25.4), and now the World Junior title in 2013.
Germany’s Carl Louis Schwarz took silver in 25.76, and Greece’s Michail Kontizas was 3rd in 25.90.
Brazilian Goustavo Louzada added only a tiny bit from the semi-finals, but that amount was enough to knock him out of podium position despite swimming in the middle lane. He was 4th in 25.93, followed by Italy’s Simone Sabbioni, Australia’s Ryan Hore, Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys, and Trinidad & Tobago’s Dylan Carter. Those last four were all 26.1′s.
Girls 100 Breaststroke – FINAL
It’s all about perspective with Ruta Meilutyte. In comparison to what we saw from her in World Record over two seconds faster, her 1:06.61 to win the girls’ 100 breaststroke wasn’t that impressive. There was at least one swimmer in the final (bronze medalist Viktoriya Solnveca of the Ukraine who is younger and has been faster in her career).
But, when take that perspective, consider that this is Meilutyte’s 5th swim in the last two finals sessions; it came only 20 minutes after the 50 back semi-final; she had to ‘conserve’ energy for the 200 IM final later in the session; and it crushed the old Championship Record by over a second.
In fact, all three medalists were faster than the 1:07.71 that Italian Lisa Fissneider swam in 2011. The silver went to Britain’s Sophie Taylor in 1:07.36, with Solnceva grabbing bronze in 1:07.53.
Anna Belousova from Russia was 4th in 1:08.82, and Germany’s Marlene Huther placed 5th in 1:08.95. American Olivia Anderson was 6th in 1:09.01.
Boys 50 Fly – Semifinal
The Americans finally got into a groove in the stroke 50′s, thanks to Justin Lynch taking the top seed in the boys’ 50 fly semifinal in 24.04 and Matthew Josa tying for the 2nd seed in 24.11.
Josa was tied with Ryan Coetzee, another very good young butterflier in South Africa: a country with a lot of them.
Lithuania’s Deividas Margevicius, another part of the very good Lithuanian mixed medley, was 4th in 24.15, followed by T&T’s Carter (24.16), Australia’s Cameron Jones (24.18), and Germany’s Jonas Bergmann (24.22). After Bergmann, there started to be a tiny bit of separation, with Japan’s Takaya Yasue coming in 8th in 24.34.
American-trained Joshua Romany, also representing T&T, came in 13th in 24.78.
Girls’ 400 Free – FINAL
The Australians continue to dominate in the distance races at this meet, and got a 1-2 finish in this girls’ 400 free thanks to a 4:07.77 from Remy Fairweather and a 4:10.32 from Alanna Bowles. That’s Fairweather’s best time by almost a second, and breaks an Australian Age Record for 16-year olds that had been a 4:08.31 from Ellen Fullerton in 2009.
American Quinn Carrozza took the bronze in 4:11.14, just holding off a huge charge from teammate Becca Mann in 4:11.27.
Italy’s Carli Diletta wound up 5th in 4:12.80, before a significant drop-off in times to 6th, 7th, and 8th.
Boyss’ 50 Free – FINAL
Luke Percy from Australia was the most consistently-fast among the big players in this men’s 50 free final, and swimming out of the center lane he took the win in 22.14 (.03 shy of his time from the semis).
He, Russia’s Evgeny Sedov, and American Caeleb Dressel were all nose-and-nose from block to touch, and Sedov would come up 2nd in 22.19 and Dressel 3rd in 22.22. (Read about Dressel’s record-breaking swim here.)
Brazil’s Guilherme O’Campo had a big breakout in the final, dropping more than three-tenths of a second to touch 4th in 22.48: a new Brazilian Record for 17-year olds.
American Paul Powers was 5th in 22.53, followed by Poland’s Jan Holub in 22.69, Ukraine’s Bogdan Plavin in 22.74, and Suriname’s Renzo Tjon-a-Joe in 23.00. Tjon-a-Joe’s 22.75 from the semi-finals made him the first swimmer in the history of his country under 23 seconds.
Girls’ 200 IM – FINAL
For the second time in two days, Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte finished a triple with a really impressive swim. This time, it came with a gold medal in the girls’ 200 IM, where she was a 2:12.32. That’s a new Meet Record, that breaks the 2:12.97 set by American Dagny Knutson back in 2008.
Meilutyte went out very hard in this race, taking her final turn in 1:39.72, three seconds ahead of the field. Though an anvil crashed on her a bit in the last 50 meters, she still took a major victory ahead of American runner-up Ella Eastin (2:13.76).
We may see this race creep more-and-more into Meilutyte’s schedule as she gets older and, presumably, stronger, but she’s still got a ways to go to be competitive with the true top-of-the-world swimmers, even if we only consider the first 150 meters where she looked so dominant here. We remember, though, that she’s still only 16.
Canadian Sydney Pickrem was 3rd in 2:14.36, and the other American Kathleen Baker was 4th in 2:14.83. Japan’s pair of Emu Higuchi (2:15.72) and 14-year old Hiroko Makino (2:16.06) were 5th and 6th, respectively.
Boys’ 800 Free Relay
The final of this boys’ 800 free really, through 600 meters, was already easily in the class of “outstanding junior relays” from the top three teams of Australia, Great Britain, and the United States.
When the last legs hit the water, though, two of those relays went World Class, while the third left some scratching their heads.
Great Britain got a huge 1:46.39 anchor from James Guy, which blows away any swim he’s had in that race through European Juniors and Junior Worlds. Fortunately for him, his teammate Caleb Hughes (1:48.98) gave him a lead over the Australians on the 3rd leg, though, because even that spectacular swim was half-a-second shy of what Australia’s Mack Horton, the star of this meet, did. He split 1:45.84 on their anchor, but ran out of room.
Note: Horton’s split, even in the 200 not typically thought of as one of his primary individual events, Horton’s split was much, much faster than any of the swimmers split on the Australian preliminary 800 free relay at Worlds that didn’t even final.
The Brits took the victory (Matthew Johnson, Max Litchfield, Hughes, and Guy) in a new Championship Record of 7:15.36, with Australia 2nd in 7:15.82.
The Americans, meanwhile, took a significant lead into the final exchange, but Alex Katz (1:50.05) couldn’t hold onto that against those stellar anchors mentioned above. The Americans wound up 3rd in 7:17.67.
Note that the Americans lef Andrew Seliskar off of the finals relay, despite him having the fastest prelims split among the Americans in 1:48.99; Though no one swimmer can take the fault for a relay’s performance, Katz was also on that prelims relay and was called up instead. There seems to be more going on there than meets the eye.