The 2013 European Junior Championships began Wednesday in Poznan, Poland, as the top young swimmers (18 & under for boys, 16 & under for girls) quested for titles at this important LEN stepping-stone meet.
The first title of the 2013 edition of the 5-day event went to Hungary’s Adel Farkas in 4:44.79. With that swim, the 14-year old moves herself toward the ranks of the great Hungarian 400 IM tradition with a best time by 7 seconds (talk about a taper).
The second title went to Jan Micka of the Czech Republic in the boys’ 400 free, where he swam a 3:50.47 for the win. That’s a serious best time for him as well, and is just .03 seconds shy of Kvetoslav Svoboda’s decade-old National record in the race. Micka is only 18 years old, but has a bright future for the Czechs.
Great Britain’s Matthew Johnson took 2nd in 3;51.11, and Italian-born, but American trained, Andrea D’Arrigo was 3rd in 3:51.74.
One of the stars of the meet, Russia’s Evgeny Sedov, got his first taste of evening action in the 50 fly, where he topped the semi-final in 23.99. In European style, the final was swum again in the same session of this 50 meter sprint, and Sedov again came out on top in 23.85. That’s a ways off of his Russian Junior Record, but he has many events left to go.
Germany’s Jonas Bergmann took 2nd in 24.06, and Denmark’s Danie Andersen was 3rd in 24.25.
There was no Ruta Meilutyte in the women’s 50 breaststroke , but that didn’t stop the Championship Record from being crushed. 15-year old Ukrainian Viktoriya Solntseva took the top seed in the semi-finals in 31.09, which broke by a relatively-large three-tenths the old record held by Yulia Efimova from Russia at 31.45. She then broke it again with a 30.83 For reference, that’s almost exactly the same time (but slightly faster) that Meilutyte swam last year in the 50 at the same age.
Two German swimmers joined her on the podium, as Marlene Huether (15) was 2nd in 31.61 and defending champion Margarethe Hummel was 3rd in 31.65. They both leap-frogged Italy’s Arianna Castiglioni (2nd in prelimsin 31.73), who wound up 4th in 31.66.
And finally, the Russian women continued their hot-streak in the 400 free relay by breaking their own Meet Record, set last year, in the 400 free relay with a 3;42.58. The Russian women swept the three relays in 2012, and with a dominant three-second performance look to be headed that way again. The four relay members included Maria Baklakova, who led off in a 55.1 flat-start, Daria Kartashova, Rozaliya Nasretdinova, and backstroker Daria Ustinova, who anchored in 55.82.
The Germans were 2nd in 3:45.50, and Great Britain took 3rd in 3:46.89.
Baklakova’s split was the fastest of the entire field, from a flat-start or otherwise; all four Russians were better than 56 seconds, and the only other swimmer in the whole field to clear that mark was Nele Klein from Germany.
The Russian men didn’t do quite as well, as the Polish won in 3:21.72. That included a 49.26 anchor from Sebastian Szvzepanski and a 50.2 leadoff from Jan Holub.
The Russians took 2nd in 3:22.61, with a 50.5 leadoff from Sedov, and Germany scored bronze in 3:22.72, though anchor Alexander Kunert (50.15) nearly ran down silver on the anchor leg.
- The Russian women’s sprinters are performing as well as their men, as Maria Baklakova took the top seed by half-a-second in the women’s 100 free semi-final with a 55.28. That’s just a few tenths from Silke Lippok’s meet record from 2009. France’s Cloe Hache was the only other swimmer under 56 seconds with a 55.77 for the 2nd seed. Great Britain’s Harriet Cooper and Denmark’s Julie Levisen tied for the 7th spot (in a 10 swimmer final) with 56.59.
- Mikhail Dorinov and Alexander Palatov took the top two seeds in the men’s 200 breaststroke in 2:13.54 and 2:14.36, respectively.
- Grigory Tarasevich from Russia broke the Meet Record in the semi-final of the men’s 100 back with a 54.63. The old record of 55.06 was held by Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, who before becoming a great butterflier was a very good junior backstroker (much like Michael Phelps).
- In the girls’ 200 backstroke semifinal, Russia’s Daria Ustinova put in a very controlled 2:10.62 swim, where she didn’t appear to push too hard on the last 50 meters, and was rewarded with an easy best time. The second-seed is Germany’s Sonnele Oeztuerk in 2:13.52. Ustinova has this win in the bag, with her only question being whether or not she can become the first swimmer in this meet’s history under 2:10 (she’s already easily done it this year).
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