The first day’s prelims session at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships featured already some big Championship Records, with this year’s class of junior-level swimmers looking like the best in the 4-edition history of this meet.
In the very first race, the boys’ 400 free, Australia’s Mack Horton swam a 3:50.25 that knocked seven-tenths off of the time with which Japan’s Fumiya Hidaka won in 2011. The 2nd seed belongs to Britain’s James Guy in 3:51.05 (he was the top seed coming into the race), and American-trained Italian Andrea D’Arrigo is 3rd in 3:51.27.
Neither American would make that final, as Aidan Burns finished 11th in 3:55.44 and Jonathan Roberts was 12th in 3:55.84.
In the next race, the women’s 50 breaststroke, Lithuanian 16-year old broke a second Championship Record with a 31.10. This was well short of her stated goal of re-breaking her own World Record, set a month ago at the senior World Championships.
Nipping at her heels were four other 31′s, including the 2nd-seed Olivia Anderson from the United States in 31.49, and Italy’s Arianna Castiglioni in 31.54.
The second American, Maija Roses, was 14th in 32.61 to push through to the semi-finals.
Vitor Santos from Brazil took the top seed in the men’s 100 backstroke in 55.59, but this will be a very tight final. Italy’s Luca Mencarini was 2nd in 55.63, Trinidad & Tobago’s Dylan Carter was 3rd in 55.64, and the United States’ Connor Green was 4th in 55.65. That’s the top four seeds out of prelims sitting within six-hundredths of each other, and the top 11 seeds are all within seven-tenths. That includes American Ryan Harty as the 10th seed in 56.19.
The top three finishers in prelims of the girls’ 400 IM all went to swimmers trained in the United States. Ella Eastin took top honors in 4:44.50, and then Clearwater Aquatic Club teammates Sydney Pickrem (Canada – 4:46.25) and Becca Mann (4:46.43) are 2nd and 3rd.
The 4th seed in that race goes to South Africa’s Marlies Ross, one of the swimmers benefiting from a new South African funding program, in 4:47.71.
The second Canadian, Emily Overhold was 5th in 4:47.72, and Japanese 14-year old Hiroko Makino was the youngest to final in 4:47.95.
The Russians began showing off their impressive team, that dominated the European Junior Championships, by going 1-2 in the boys’ 100 breaststroke. Vsevolod Zanko was a 1:01.43, and he was followed by countrymate Ilya Khomenko in 1:01.57. Khomenko tied with Dmitriy Balandin from neighboring Kazakhstan for that 2nd spot, and Japan’s Kohei Goto was 3rd in 1:01.96.
Both Americans made the semi-finals: Gunnar Bentz in 1:02.20 and Carsten Vissering in 1:03.13.
In the girls’ 100 backstroke, it was Kathleen Baker from SwimMAC Carolina in the states who took the top seed in 1:01.15, but the European Junior Champ Daria K Ustinova from Russia was 2nd in 1:01.30.
Sian Whittaker was 3rd in 1:01.71, followed by Jessica Fullalove from Great Britain (1:01.92) and the other American Clara Smiddy in 1:01.94. Both Americans, Australians, Canadians,and Brits advanced to swim in the semis.
And finally, in the session-closing relays, the Australians took the top seed in the boys’ 400 free with Blake Jones, Luke Percy, Cameron Jones, and Regan Leong combining for 3:19.49 – exactly four-tenths away from Italy’s 2008 Meet Record.
The swim included a 49.4 from Percy and a 49.1 anchor from Leong.
The Russians took 2nd in 3:21.17, with Evgeny Sedov anchoring them in 49.2, and the Americans sit 3rd in 3:22.11. The U.S. relay team consisted of Paul Powers (50.43), Brett Ringgold (50.48), Kyle Gornay (50.71), and Justin Lynch (50.49).
Canada was 4th in 3:22.63, and Brazil qualiied 5th in 3:22.92.
The final race of the session was the girls’ 800 free relay, where Cierra Runge (2:01.24), Quinn Carrozza (1:59.80), Katie McLaughlin (1:59.22), and Katherine Drabot (2:01.10) easily took the top seed in 8:01.36.
Australia was 2nd in 8:06.08, Canada 3rd in 8:16.11, and Russia 4th in 8:16.21. The Russians were an 8:01 at Euro Juniors, which would be competitive with the Americans if they can recapture that speed in finals.