16-Yr-Old Tuncel Lowers Own Turkish 800 Free Record – 8:26.06


  • Thursday, April 22nd – Sunday, April 25th
  • Edirne, Turkey
  • LCM (50m)
  • Results

16-year-old Merve Tuncel simply cannot be stopped in the women’s 800m freestyle when competing on her home turf.

Racing at the 2021 Turkish Junior Meet today, April 22nd, the teen fired off the fastest time of her career, topping the podium in a big mark of 8:26.06. That shaved well over a second off of her newly-minted national record of 8:27.38 she produced in February of this year. That swim overtook her own previous national record of 8:28.34, which she logged in December of 2020.

Tuncel scorched tonight’s field, leaving a very talented Beril Boecekler in the dust. Boecekler clocked 8:34.29 as runner-up, hitting the wall about 8 seconds after Tuncel.

Splits for Tuncel’s swim tonight registered as follows:

At just 16 years of age, Tuncel owns the 800m and 1500m freestyle Turkish national records in long course, as well as the 1500m freestyle short course record. In the latter event, Tuncel also owns the World Junior Record.

Her 8:26.06 outing here in Edirne now ranks the teen 10th in the world among the top performers of the season.

2020-2021 LCM Women 800 Free

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Tuncel is coached by Gjon Shyti, an Italian who previously had Luca Marin under his tutelage. Retired Marin represented Italy at 3 Olympics, with his highest individual finish being that of 5th place in the 400m IM at the 2008 edition in Beijing. He also earned two individual World Championships medals over the course of his career.

Shyti and Tuncel are stationed in Ankara, one of the 5 Turkish Olympic Preparation Centers.

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23 days ago

Last 150-200 meters was tough for her but before that she was on a par with recent race by Titmus for the #2 this season in this event. Nice to see a new young faces in competitive swimming.
Is it her that short or her coach is very tall?

Reply to  Yozhik
23 days ago

I don’t think that Titmus is #2 this season. Did you mean this year? It is very tight between 2nd and 6th in this year’s world ranking, only a bit more than 1 second between Titmus in 2nd and Smith in 6th (Köhler, Quadarella and Egorova between them). Difficult to compare those times though. Köhler and Quadarella were already qualified and Titmus/Smith very likely weren’t tapered, not sure about Tuncel and Egorova on the other hand.

Reply to  AnEn
23 days ago

Yes, for me the season starts when athletes take a “New Year Resolution” 😀
In this system Titmus is #2 this year. It’s easier to run queries in this system and it looks more natural to me. Yes swimming competitions were ended at the end of summer historically. But it was very simple reason for that. It is originally an outdoor activity. And then swimmers had a well deserved rest until New Year begins. Now everything is mixed up. And it looks like swimmers are going to compete all year around: for titles, for money, for scholarships, you name it. And under this conditions associating season with calendar year is more appropriate. At least for me. But people can… Read more »

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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