2017 World Junior Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

6TH FINA WORLD JUNIOR SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The first finals session of the 2017 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships gets underway tonight from Indianapolis, with four finals and four rounds of semi-finals set to go off.

The finals will come in the men’s 400 free, women’s 400 IM, men’s 4×100 free relay and the women’s 4×200 free relay. We’ll also see semi-finals in the women’s 50 breast, men’s 100 back, men’s 100 breast and women’s 100 back.

MEN’S 400 FREE FINAL

  • WJR: 3:44.60, Mack Horton (AUS), 2014
  • CR: 3:47.12, Mack Horton (AUS), 2013
  • Start List
  1. Andrew Abruzzo, USA, 3:49.19
  2. Balasz Hollo, HUN, 3:49.97
  3. Trey Freeman, USA, 3:50.14

In an exciting 400 free final, South African Jarryd Baxter got out to the early lead from lane 1 and clung to it for over 300 metres. On the penultimate 50 he was passed by hard charging Americans Andrew Abruzzo and Trey Freeman, and it looked as though they were going to go 1-2.

Abruzzo got the job done for the win, blazing home in 27.46 to take gold in a new best of 3:49.19. Sitting just 6th at the 300 and 4th with 50 left, Hungary’s Balasz Hollo came home even faster in 26.99 to pass Freeman and Baxter and earn the silver in 3:49.97, also his first time under 3:50.

Freeman also edged his best time for bronze in 3:50.14, and Poland’s Antoni Kaluzynski also passed Baxter on the way home to grab 4th in 3:51.08. A gallant effort earns Baxter 5th in 3:51.28, holding off Australia’s Jacob Vincent (3:51.39) and Spain’s Francisco Arevalo (3:51.57).

WOMEN’S 50 BREAST SEMI-FINALS

  • WJR: 29.86 (World Best Time)
  • CR: 29.86, Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), 2013
  • Start List
  1. Mona McSharry, IRL, 31.09
  2. Faith Knelson, CAN, 31.15
  3. Emily Weiss, USA, 31.32
  4. Zoe Bartel, USA, 31.34
  5. Weronika Hallmann, POL, 31.44
  6. Agne Seleikaite, LTU, 31.76
  7. Gulsen Samanci, TUR, 31.87
  8. Chelsea Hodges, AUS, 31.90

Canada’s Faith Knelson lowered her best time to win the first semi-final in the women’s 50 breast in 31.15, out pacing American Zoe Bartel (31.34) and Poland’s Weronika Hallmann (31.44).

The next semi saw Ireland’s Mona McSharry take over the top time in 31.09, besting the fastest swimmer from the heats Emily Weiss (31.32). McSharry advances 1st into the final, followed by Knelson, Weiss, Bartel and Hallmann.

Lithuania’s Agne Seleikaite, Turkey’s Gulsen Beste Samanci and Australia’s Chelsea Hodges round out the championship finalists.

MEN’S 100 BACK SEMI-FINALS

  1. Hugo Gonzalez, ESP, 54.43
  2. Conor Ferguson, IRL, 54.53
  3. Daniel Martin, ROU, 54.62
  4. Nicolas Albiero, USA, 55.04
  5. Drew Kibler, USA, 55.37
  6. Kacper Stokowski, POL, 55.44
  7. Nikita Tretyakov, RUS, 55.45
  8. Nicholas Pyle, GBR, 55.48

Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez stormed home in 27.92 to win semi-final 1 of the men’s 100 back in 54.43 over Romania’s Daniel Martin (54.62) and the U.S.’ Nicolas Albiero (55.04). Gonzalez came within 0.13 of the championship record set by Martin’s Romanian countryman Robert Glinta in 2015.

Ireland’s Conor Ferguson then won the second semi by over eight tenths in 54.53, putting him 2nd overall to Gonzalez. Martin and Albiero advance to the final in 3rd and 4th, and Drew Kibler of the United States moves on in 5th in a time of 55.37.

European junior gold medalist Kacper Stokowski of Poland and Nikita Tretyakov of Russia qualified 7th and 8th from the second semi, and Great Britain’s Nicholas Pyle rounds out the finalists in 55.48.

WOMEN’S 400 IM FINAL

  1. Miku Kojima, JPN, 4:39.14
  2. Anna Sasaki, JPN, 4:40.99
  3. Anja Crevar, SRB, 4:42.24

Madison Homovich of the United States led Japan’s Miku Kojima by nearly two seconds at the halfway mark of the women’s 400 IM, but a decisive sub-1:20 breaststroke leg moved Kojima way out ahead of the pack, turning into the freestyle with an advantage of nearly three seconds. She sailed to the win, touching the wall in 4:39.14 to lower her best time by five seconds and narrowly miss the meet record of 4:39.01 set by Rosie Rudin of Great Britain in 2015.

Her teammate Anna Sasaki moved up from 6th to 2nd on the breast, and sealed the silver medal over Serbian Anja Crevar with a 31.17 final 50. She touched in 4:40.99, with Crevar back in 4:42.24 for the bronze.

France’s Cyrielle Duhamel had moved past Homovich on the breaststroke leg as well and ended up 4th in 4:43.56. Homovich took 5th in 4:45.68, with her teammate Christin Rockway 6th in 4:47.09.

MEN’S 100 BREAST SEMI-FINALS

  1. Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA, 59.01
  2. Reece Whitley / Michael Andrew, USA, 1:00.33
  3. Zac Stubblety-Cook, AUS, 1:01.09
  4. Wassili Kuhn, GER, 1:01.24
  5. Alessandro Pinzuti, ITA, 1:01.26
  6. Evgenii Somov, RUS, 1:01.32
  7. Michael Houlie, RSA, 1:01.49

Italian Nicolo Martinenghi was out like a rocket in the second semi of the men’s 100 breast, turning in 27.48 before coming home in 31.53 to touchin 59.01 and break his junior world record and his meet record set this morning. His junior world record officially stood at 59.31, though the real record was his 59.23 from European Juniors that had yet to be ratified. His prelim time was 59.53, which lowered Anton Chupkov‘s 1:00.12 meet record.

The first semi-final was intriguing as American teammates Michael Andrew and Reece Whitley had a head-to-head battle. Andrew was out fast in 27.94, but Whitley stormed home in 31.45 after being out in just 28.88 to catch Andrew. They hit the wall at the exact same time in 1:00.33, tying for the heat win and advancing to the final deadlocked in 2nd.

Australian Zac Stubblety-Cook qualified 4th overall in Martinenghi’s heat in 1:01.09, just ahead of Germany’s Wassili Kuhn (1:01.24) and Russia’s Evgenii Somov (1:01.32). Alessandro Pinzuti of Italy and Michael Houlie of South Africa were 3rd and 4th in the first semi and qualify for the final as well.

WOMEN’S 100 BACK SEMI-FINALS

  1. Taylor Ruck, CAN, 59.28
  2. Regan Smith, USA, 59.41
  3. Jade Hannah, CAN, 1:00.21
  4. Natsumi Sakai, JPN, 1:00.23
  5. Grace Ariola, USA, 1:00.39
  6. Polina Egorova, RUS, 1:00.48
  7. Cassie Wild, GBR, 1:00.58
  8. Anna Maine, GBR, 1:00.71

After they both sizzled in the prelims, Taylor Ruck and Regan Smith were at it again in the semis of the women’s 100 back. After Smith established a new meet record of 59.52 this morning, Ruck lowered it to 59.28 in the first semi-final, also breaking Minna Atherton‘s junior world record of 59.34 set last year. In the prelims Ruck had broken 1:00 for the first time in 59.64, and takes her best down even further by nearly four tenths.

Smith improved her morning swim in the second semi, but was a tick slower than Ruck in 59.41 for another PB and the 2nd spot heading to the final. The two are setting up to have a great battle tomorrow night.

Ruck’s Canadian teammate Jade Hannah leads the race for bronze after qualifying 3rd in 1:00.21, just ahead of Japan’s Natsumi Sakai (1:00.23) and the U.S.’ Grace Ariola (1:00.39). Russian Polina Egorova, who went 59.6 in July to win the European junior title, qualifies 6th in 1:00.48, and Brits Cassie Wild and Anna Maine round out the finalists.

MEN’S 4×100 FREE RELAY FINAL

  • WJR: 3:16.96 (World Best Time)
  • CR: 3:16.96, Australia, 2013
  • Start List
  1. Hungary, 3:17.99
  2. Poland, 3:18.53
  3. Australia, 3:18.55

The Hungarian men pulled off the gold medal in a very tight 400 free relay final, moving from 5th to 1st on the anchor leg. Kristof Milak got them out to the lead in 49.08, then they fell to 5th before Nandor Nemeth had a massive anchor leg of 48.24 to pass four teams and touch first in 3:17.99. Nemeth was on the team that won a surprise bronze in this event at the World Championships earlier in the summer.

The Polish men were near the front of the race the whole way, moving into 2nd on the second leg and staying there the rest of the way to win silver in 3:18.53. Their fastest split was that second leg, where Bartosz Piszczorowicz went 49.12.

The Aussies jumped from 6th to 3rd on the final, winning bronze thanks to a 48.63 anchor from Elijah Winnington. They were just .02 back of Poland in 3:18.55.

The Americans led heading into the anchor but couldn’t hang on, ending up 4th in 3:18.68 with Russia 5th and Brazil 6th. Matthew Willenbring was the top American in 49.16, Ivan Girev led off Russia in 49.38, and Breno Correia split 49.05 for Brazil.

WOMEN’S 4×200 FREE RELAY

  • WJR: 7:56.68, Australia, 2015
  • CR: 7:56.68, Australia, 2015
  • Start List
  1. Canada, 7:51.47
  2. Russia, 7:57.33
  3. Japan, 8:02.09

As expected, the Canadian women trounced their way to the gold medal and a new championship and junior world record in the women’s 4×200 free, hitting the wall in 7:51.47. Both records were previously held by Australia at 7:56.68, set at the 2015 Championships in Singapore.

Kayla Sanchez put them 2nd on the lead-off with a 1:59.01, and then Penny Oleksiak (1:56.86), Rebecca Smith (1:58.66) and Taylor Ruck (1:56.94) finished it off and ended up winning by nearly six seconds.

Japan had moved into 2nd with Rikako Ikee‘s 1:56.54 second leg, but Russia’s Anastasiia Kirpichinkova (1:57.85) passed them on the anchor leg to get Russia the silver in 7:57.33. Japan held on for bronze in 8:02.09, beating out the 4th place Americans (8:02.40). Their only sub 2:00 split came from Regan Smith (1:59.87), who, like Ruck, was fresh out of the 100 back semis.

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Speed Racer
5 years ago

What is the rationale for this not being a National Team qualifying meet? Abruzzo and Freeman would have bumped Litherland and Litherland if it was.

Dee
5 years ago

The Canadian women looks absolutely fantastic, once again – Taylor Ruck’s backstroke looks so easy. After heats, I felt she looked a lot easier than Regan, so I’m interested to see how the final pans out. Jade Hannah also looks a big talent. Nice from the British girls, Maine with a half second drop and Wild taking another tenth off her best. 1.00.71 to final is crazy at a junior meet! Women’s 100bk may end up as the deepest event by the end of the meet – Already have three 59s ladies in the final, can a few others sneak under the barrier in the final?

Shout out to Ireland, too – Shane Ryan yesterday. Can McSharry and Ferguson add… Read more »

Troy
5 years ago

Does anyone know why that have a different age range for male (15-18) and female (14-17) juniors?

Samulih
Reply to  Troy
5 years ago

Girls are 1-2 years older in biological sense, usual in most of the swimming countries in junior champs age limits

Swamfan
5 years ago

Someone tell Rowdy it doesn’t matter how many “fresh” swimmers you have on a really if they’re not fast enough to win a medal

Swamfan
Reply to  Swamfan
5 years ago

That sounded like a knock on team USA… but my frustration is directed at Rowdy. Dude spent the entire race intro for the men’s 400 free relay talking about how the United States was the ONLY team with THREE fresh legs… then at the last second realized they only had 2 fresh legs.

Speed Racer
Reply to  Swamfan
5 years ago

Freeman and Kibler in no way had “fresh legs”. Freeman was tied up with the 400 swim and then medals. Kibler was in the 100 back semi. Rowdy is an idiot.

Aussie crawl
5 years ago

Watch out yanks.
This Winnington lad is quick.

G.I.N.A
Reply to  Aussie crawl
5 years ago

Rather than this meet , I’d be putting in the endurance phase .. There are definite spots on the senior 4×200 relay for March trials .

Aussie crawl
Reply to  G.I.N.A
5 years ago

Really need TFH back.
A bit thin.
I saw dan smith did a reasonable 200 free at queensland states.
I assume King Kyle will do the 200 free at trials.

commonwombat
Reply to  Aussie crawl
5 years ago

Fully agree that the AUS depth and quality in M200fr isn’t anything special. You have a ruck of 1.47/1/46high men but nobody, at this point, at the sharp end internationally.

Disagree re TFH; he’s been around for nigh on 6-7 years and whilst he can swim a decent time; that tends to be domestically rather than at World level meets. I’d rather be looking for 1-2 out of Chalmers, Cartwright, Lewis stepping up into reliable 1.45 performers. If young Winnington can also enter the equation, all the better.

This AUS relay has often looked good on paper but for the past decade, that’s where its ended as it has not managed to really put it together at World level. I’d… Read more »

Drama King
Reply to  commonwombat
5 years ago

International performance ???
TFH won Commonwealth and Pan Pacific titles back in 2014 with 1.45 lows. Those times ranked 1st in the world that year. And he performed reasonably well in world champs and olympics where i thought he could done better if he had dropped 400im.
With the current situation, he is facing right now, its really important that he comes back strong and do well.

Drama King
Reply to  Drama King
5 years ago

Talking about juniors , this year’s junior 4*200 boys relay has huge upside chance to win.
Attard, Robinson , Winnington, Vincent all capable of sub 1.50 splits .
Hungary will be the challenge with huge splits from Nemeth and Milak.

Dee
Reply to  Drama King
5 years ago

I wouldn’t ignore Poland either – Stokowski, Kaluzynski, Kraska & Piszczorowicz are all under 1.50 flat start too, depends how Kacper Stokowski goes, he has had a long season. Russia also 4 men under 1.50, including Girev who looks like he has arrived in great shape, he was 1.48flat earlier this season. Not sure of the US team, presuming Kibler & Abruzzo (in this form) will get swims? Don’t know much about Freeman but he looked superb in the 400.

commonwombat
Reply to  Drama King
5 years ago

I’d be wary of the Russians as well, Americans ….can’t be ruled out.

Maybe they CAN medal at this meet; very nice if they can but let’s look at the bigger picture. These young guys are nearing the end of their “age” careers and where is 1.49 going to get you at senior level even domestically ? How many, if any, are anywhere near the ball-park of nudging senior selection or even making the final at next year’s Nationals ? Maybe Winnington but that’s it at this point.

The very best at this competition are either in their senior national teams or are knocking on the door. Just how many in this year’s AUS team (both male and female) can… Read more »

commonwombat
Reply to  Drama King
5 years ago

Dec 2014, I would have agreed with you re TFH (although CG is a bush league meet). However since then, he’s fallen away ….. both 2015 & 2016. Whilst it would be nice if he could come back a mentally stronger performer, he’s also 25yo which, whilst not a disqualifier in itself, generally indicates we’re less likely to see anything new and improved.

ellie
Reply to  Aussie crawl
5 years ago

It’s a good thing that Guy and Scott are not on the same team at Commonwealth Games.

Dee
Reply to  ellie
5 years ago

Indeed, both England and Scotland will remain dangerous though – For England, with Guy dropping the 400, additional speed may well help him get under 1.45 – Grainger & Litchfield are worth 1.46… Then you’re looking for the fourth man… Will most likely come from Cam Kurle (1.47.8 – born 1997), Jarvis Parkinson (1.48.4 – born 1998), Shuttleworth (1.48.6 – born 1997), Jay Lelliott (1.49.0 – born 1995) Elliot Clogg (1.49.3 – born 1999). Plenty of youngsters, you’d hope for one to step up at that age next year.

Scotland look pretty sewn up, with less depth – Should be Scott, Milne, Szaranak & Wallace.

commonwombat
Reply to  Aussie crawl
5 years ago

But he’s not swimming the 100 here. IF he or someone else can become another 48swimmer then its “sayonara for good” to Maggie the Mouth and the “serial tourist”. The 2 who are swimming the 100 at this meet (Brunt and Attard) will probably need to be at their best to make the final ….. and can’t afford to muck around in the heats

samuel huntington
5 years ago

1 American girl barely under 2:00, 4 Canadian girls easily under 2:00, wow

NEWTOSWIMSWAM
Reply to  samuel huntington
5 years ago

Regan Smith went under 2 after 100bk sf!

Ben
Reply to  NEWTOSWIMSWAM
5 years ago

Taylor Ruck did 1:56 after the 100 back semi as well.

Bill G
Reply to  samuel huntington
5 years ago

Canada looked super here, but China had some Junior-eligible swimmers go great a worlds in the 4×200.

China’s 4×200 relay team at worlds had Yanhan (2002 birth year) lead off in 1:56.6, Zixuan (2000 birth year) split 1:56.3 and Bingjie (2002 birth year) anchor in 1:55.5

taa
Reply to  samuel huntington
5 years ago

I was a little disappointed in both American relays. As huge as our swimming base is we should be able to get 4 guys that swim 49.0 with a relay start and the girls we should be able to get a relay that is easily under 8 minutes.

WET NOODLE
Reply to  taa
5 years ago

Go do it yourself then

Cabal33
Reply to  WET NOODLE
5 years ago

Plot Twist: TAA is Michael phelps’ screen name.

Taa
Reply to  WET NOODLE
5 years ago

U can’t do a relay by yourself.

It’s not a big deal usa still strong on the senior side just my observation that a couple of fourth place finishes is actually pretty bad from a swimming powerhouse

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  taa
5 years ago

desapointing to say the least for me too

Speed Racer
Reply to  taa
5 years ago

Several teams were playing with fire if you look at the reaction time exchanges on the men’s side.

Aussie crawl
Reply to  taa
5 years ago

No depth coming through ??

Pvdh
Reply to  Aussie crawl
5 years ago

Not Until they get to the NCAAs and develop.

Taa
Reply to  Pvdh
5 years ago

Thats what I think maybe we don’t do a lot strength training and burn out our juniors at an early age. Our wugs men’s free relay was lights out so we are actually really deep on the men’s side

Mike
Reply to  taa
5 years ago

They qualified for this meet off of world champs trials. The US strategy of late trials has worked well with a specific amount of time between trials and the big meet. That meet was worlds not jr worlds. These kids have had a much longer time between with many also participating in multiple meets for their club teams. The expectation that all or even most of these kids will hit their peak times here is probably incorrect. The US focus will always be on the BIG meet and these meets will be about developmental experience.

Zanna
5 years ago

Notable splits in the women’s 200 free relay, Ikee, 1:56.54, Olesiak 1:56.86, Ruck 1:56.94

Ben
Reply to  Zanna
5 years ago

And Oleksiak hasn’t been training much in the 200m this year because of her shoulder injury in December and was almost 2 seconds faster last summer. Ruck did that less than half an hour after her 100m backstroke world junior record. Just think of what they could do in a couple years at full strength.

E Gamble
5 years ago

That Canadian women’s 4×200 relay was ?. Wow?

Ben
Reply to  E Gamble
5 years ago

Complete domination.

KRB
Reply to  E Gamble
5 years ago

The Canadian juniors outswam their senior counterparts at World’s by about 4 seconds. These 4 have a great chance to be the Canadian team in Tokyo in 2020.

Two world junior records by Ruck tonight. Her 200 time was impressive considering it was swam only 2 events after her WJR in 100 back.

12BeatKick
Reply to  KRB
5 years ago

Kat Savard is still an oldie but goodie that can throw solids 1:56s for them so if sanchez or smith can match that they’re in for a gold medal run

Bo swims
Reply to  E Gamble
5 years ago

All training together at HPC

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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