2017 World Junior Championships: Day 5 Finals Live Recap


Competition at the 2017 World Junior Championships continues tonight with day 5 finals in Indianapolis. Tonight, we’ll see finals action in the women’s 1500 free, men’s 50 fly, women’s 50 back, men’s 400 IM, and women’s 4×100 free relay. We’ll see semifinals of the men’s 100 free, women’s 100 fly, women’s 50 free, and men’s 50 breast.


  • WJR: 15:28.36, Katie Ledecky (USA), 2014
  • CR: 16:05.61, Simona Quadarella (ITA), 2015
  • Start list
  1. GOLD: Delfina Pignatiello, ARG, 15:59.61
  2. SILVER: Ajna Kesely, HUN, 16:15.68
  3. BRONZE: Beatriz Cons Gestido Agueda, ESP, 16:17.84

Argentina’s Delfina Pignatiello ran away with this one, adding a 2nd gold from this meet to her list of accomplishments. She finished over 15 seconds ahead of the field, charging to a new Meet Record and Argentine Record in a blistering 15:59.61. Hungary’s 400 free champ Ajna Kesely (16:15.68) and Spain’s Beatriz Cons Gestido Agueda (16:17.84) each broke 16:20 to take silver and bronze respectively. Just off the podium was the USA’s Erica Sullivan, who took 4th in 16:20.12.


  • WJR: 47.58, Kyle Chalmers (AUS), 2016
  • CR: 48.47, Kyle Chalmers (AUS), 2015
  • Start list

Top 8:

  1. Ivan Girev, RUS, 48.83
  2. Nandor Nemeth, HUN, 49.14
  3. Breno Correia, BRA, 49.33
  4. Matthew Willenbring, USA, 49.36
  5. Daniel Krueger, USA, 49.44
  6. Maxime Grousset, FRA, 49.77
  7. Lucas Peixoto, BRA, 49.79
  8. Jordan Brunt, AUS, 49.85

Russia’s Ivan Girev had a big swim in semifinal 1, posting the only sub-49 of the night in 48.83. That’s a full second faster than his 49.84 from the European Juniors earlier this year and just shy of his personal best 48.64 from the mixed 4×100 free relay leadoff. In tomorrow night’s final, he’ll be challenged by Hungary’s Nandor Nemeth, who cruised to the 2nd seed with a 49.14 to win semifinal 2. The Americans got 2 in with Matthew Willenbring (49.36) and Daniel Krueger (49.44), as did Brazil with Breno Correia (49.33) and Lucas Peixoto (49.79).


Top 8:

  1. Rikako Ikee, JPN, 58.11
  2. Rebecca Smith, CAN, 58.79
  3. Suzaka Hasegawa, JPN, 59.19
  4. Emily Large, GBR, 59.25
  5. (T-5) Polina Egorova, RUS, 59.26
  6. (T-5) Sara Junevik, SWE, 59.26
  7. Regan Smith, USA, 59.30
  8. Mabel Zavaros, CAN, 59.36

Japan’s Rikako Ikee clipped her own Meet Record to lead the semifinals, turning in a quick 58.11. The only other woman to break 59 tonight was Canada’s Rebecca Smith. Ikee’s teammate Suzaka Hasegawa (59.19) and Smith’s teammate Mabel Zavaros (59.36) will swim alongside them tomorrow after qualifying 3rd and 8th respectively.

The USA’s Regan Smith got off to a rocky start, but she turned on the gas through the back half to qualify 7th overall in 59.30.


  1. GOLD: Michael Andrew, USA, 23.22
  2. SILVER: Andrei Minakov, RUS, 23.53
  3. BRONZE: Kristof Milak, HUN, 23.72

Team USA’s Michael Andrew did it again, winning his 3rd stroke 50 of the meet in Junior World Record time. Andrew’s 23.22 clipped .05 off his own record from last night’s semis. He’s now the 5th fastest American performer ever in this event.

Fastest Americans Ever: Men’s 50 Fly

1 Caeleb Dressel 22.76
2 Bryan Lundquist 22.91
3 Eugene Godsoe 23.05
4 Ian Crocker 23.12
5 Michael Andrew 23.22
6 Tim Phillips 23.25
7 Cullen Jones 23.26
8 Matt Grevers 23.29
9 Giles Smith 23.30
10 Chris Brady 23.38

Russia’s Andrei Minakov and Hungary’s 100 fly champ Kristof Milak battled it out for the silver. Minakov had the better finish, touching in 23.53 for the silver while Milak hit the wall in 23.72 for bronze.Also breaking 24 tonight were Kazakhstan’s Adilbek Mussin (23.83) and  Turkey’s Umitcan Gures (23.90).


Top 8:

  1. Rikako Ikee, JPN, 24.77
  2. Grace Ariola, USA, 24.87
  3. Sayuki Ouchi, JPN, 25.14
  4. Julie Jensen, DEN, 25.31
  5. Barbora Seemanova, CZE, 25.34
  6. Kayla Sanchez, CAN, 25.35
  7. Angelina Kohler, GER, 25.45
  8. Freya Anderson, GBR, 25.51

Shortly after topping the 100 fly semis, Japan’s Rikako Ikee led a 1-2 charge for the Japanese in semifinal 1. Ikee touched in a new Meet Record time of 24.77 to take the top spot for finals, while teammate Sayuki Ouchi came in behind her in 25.14. Ouchi will be the 3rd seed for finals, however, as the USA’s Grace Ariola broke 25 for the first time in semifinal 2, taking the 2nd seed for finals in a quick 24.87.


  • WJR: 26.97, Nicolò Martinenghi (ITA), 2017
  • CR: 27.21, Nicolò Martinenghi (ITA), 2017
  • Start list

Top 8:

  1. Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA, 27.02
  2. Michael Andrew, USA, 27.51
  3. Alessandro Pinzuti, ITA, 27.65
  4. Vladislav Gerasimenko, RUS, 27.87
  5. Reece Whitley, USA, 28.02
  6. Michael Houlie, RSA, 28.11
  7. Philipp Brandt, GER, 28.15
  8. Gabe Mastromatteo, CAN, 28.30

Nicolo Martinenghi was a half second ahead of Michael Andrew as they went head-to-head in semifinal 2. Martinenghi hit the wall in a new Meet Record time of 27.02, just missing his own World Junior Record by .05. Andrew followed with a 27.51 to take 2nd seed for finals, once again showing off his consistency in the 50s by tying his time from prelims. That’s the 3rd time Andrew has tied his time from an earlier round at this meet. Teammate Reece Whitley hit the wall 3rd in the heat to take 5th seed overall with a personal best 28.02.

In semifinal 1, Italy’s Alessandro Pinzuti was 2 tenths faster than the field despite jamming his finish. Pinzuti nearly hit his head on the wall at the touch, taking an extra short stroke into the wall, but still managed a quick 27.65 to pick up 3rd seed for the final.


  • WJR: 27.49, Minna Atherton (AUS), 2016
  • CR: 27.81, Gabrielle Fa’amausili (NZL), 2015
  • Start list
  1. T-GOLD: Jade Hannah, CAN, 27.93
  2. T-GOLD: Natsumi Sakai, JPN, 27.93
  3. BRONZE: Grace Ariola, USA, 28.11

Canada’s Jade Hannah and Japan’s Natsumi Sakai bolted to the wall, swimming neck-and-neck into the finish. They touched simultaneously in 27.93 to share the gold and the title. The Americans, Grace Ariola and Regan Smith, were separated by just a hundredth in the race for bronze, but Ariola got her hand to the wall first in 28.11 to Smith’s 28.12. Great Britain teammates Anna Maine and Cassie Wild also battled closely for the 5th spot, with Maine rounding out the top 5 in 28.40 to Wild’s 28.42.


  • WJR: 4:14.00, Sean Grieshop (USA), 2016
  • CR: 4:14.97, Gunnar Bentz (USA), 2013
  • Start list
  1. GOLD: Hugo Gonzalez, ESP, 4:14.65
  2. SILVER: Marton Barta, HUN, 4:15.65
  3. BRONZE: Balazs Hollo, HUN, 4:16.78

Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez established a huge lead early on and swam ahead of Junior World Record pace through the first 300 meters. He wasn’t able to keep up with the pace on the freestyle leg, as the field closed on him, but he was still within a second of the Junior World Record to win it in 4:14.65, setting a new Meet Record in the process. That was a big swim for Gonzalez, taking almost 3 seconds off his former lifetime best 4:17.27 from 2016 European Juniors.

Great Britain’s Brodie Williams (4:20.64) and the USA’s Kieran Smith (4:17.63) were in position to battle for podium spots through the halfway mark, but the Hungarians came home strong. Marton Barta went by them on the breaststroke leg, holding onto 2nd down the stretch in 4:15.65. Smith had a slight advantage over Balazs Hollo until the freestyle leg, with Hollo overtaking him for the bronze in 4:16.78.


  • WJR: 3:39.87, Australia, 2015
  • CR: 3:39.87, Australia, 2015
  • Start list
  1. GOLD: Canada- 3:36.19
  2. SILVER: United States- 3:39.69
  3. BRONZE: Japan- 3:40.59

The Canadians demolished the Junior World Record by over 3.5 seconds. Taylor Ruck led them off in 53.63, followed by teammates Penny Oleksiak (53.70), Rebecca Smith (54.65), and Kayla Sanchez (54.21). The USA and Japan battled closely for the silver. Japan led by hundredths after Rikako Ikee‘s 53.35 split on the 3rd leg, but Team USA’s Grace Ariola (54.28) outsplit Natsumi Sakai (55.26) by a second to help the USA to silver.

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6 years ago

Ikee was the star of the night, as far as I’m concerned. Surprised nobody mentioned her so far. Unlike Michael Andrew she is relevant at 50s and also upward. Tremendous relay split, given what she had already accomplished during the night.

That relay split accomplished a medal for Japan.

Otherwise that Russian freestyler in the 100 really looked smooth, like he had plenty left. He could become a star. We already knew about Regan Smith. She’s a potential star but nobody else from the United States has really moved forward, IMO, unlike some athletes from other countries. The American male who won the distance races seems like a nice guy but somewhat limited. Those events weren’t particularly strong.

As a… Read more »

6 years ago

Everyone in the mixed freestyle relay (including the two men who produced their fastest ever splits) went for it because they knew it would be their toughest one to win, there just wasn’t the same urgency in this race

6 years ago

Wow you are tough to please. Lol…

Grace Ariola did a triple tonight in 2 different strokes and she got 1 individual bronze, relay silver and was 2nd place in the semis of the 50 free. She deserves a mention.

Most Americans will not peak at this age. Most will progress when they get to college or beyond. And there is no guarantee the juniors from other countries will continue progressing.

6 years ago

erica sullivan is on (at least) her 3rd taper in a month… not gonna be pretty for a distance swimmer. Not a decision I’d have made as an athlete or coach, either, but hey…

6 years ago

Can we all agree MA is 3rd fastest American of all time in 50 fly due to tech suit advantages from previous swims?

Reply to  Swimmer?
6 years ago

Hard to quantify. Don’t believe Crocker or Lundquist had the wedge for their start when they swam those times, which is a disadvantage that at least partially counteracts the suit advantage. With how important the start is for the long course 50s, it’s hard to say what MA would have gone if you took away the wedge but gave him an X-Glide. The reason the 50 free record is so absurd was you had Cesar in his prime with a Dressel-esque start, a supersuit, and the then-new wedges. The guy literally had every advantage but a current.

Anyway, fifth fastest American of all time is a good place to be for an 18 year old male, and being on that… Read more »

Reply to  sven
6 years ago

He had EVERY advantage except a current 😉

6 years ago

I’m one of the MA critics here on SwimSwam, but let’s give credit where credit is due here: 3 different stroke 50 m gold medals and 3 WJR all within the top 11 World Ranking times for the year is pretty impressive! It’s too bad his breast timing seems to be a bit off and his times a bit slower than last year or he might have a better chance to win the fourth 50 m gold and get the last WJR in the set. I’d love to see him improve his 100 m times to the same level, but there’s still hope; he wouldn’t be the first athlete to start as a 50 specialist and then improve his 100… Read more »

Reply to  Danjohnrob
6 years ago

To make the Worlds or Olympic team, he’s going to have to dislodge one of the established stars on the USA team.

He has the #2 time in the USA this year in the 50 free, but there are several USA swimmers currently swimming that have faster PBs.

He competed at the WC Trials this year and didn’t qualify. He was in the finals of all four of the 50s though.

There’s still another level for him to reach.

Justin Thompson
6 years ago

Two swimmers who swam the 100 fly in the Olympics are on that top 5 50m fly list, so MA not in bad company.

6 years ago

Also while most talk about Canadian swimming is focused on the HPC-ONT girls, give big credit to the program at NextGen in Victoria for producing Jade Hannah and Faith Knelson, both double individual medallists this week

6 years ago

I’ll take Willenbring over Andrew for next 4 years as for value to USA…just watch

Drama King
Reply to  Tarheel26
6 years ago

I’ll take Carson Foster

Reply to  Drama King
6 years ago

They don’t all develop to the next level see Rooney or Seliskar.

Reply to  Tarheel26
6 years ago

For somebody so tall, Willenbring swims “short” and his strokes are dreadful.

6 years ago

And the unstoppable Canadian Women’s relay train keeps on rolling.

Reply to  Ben
6 years ago

Unstoppable JUNIOR relay train…

Reply to  Ben
6 years ago

Somehow the relays at Jr. Worlds don’t seem as important at the regular WCs.

Taylor Ruck had a great lead-off leg at 53.63. Just shows that Stanford is loaded to the gills in the freestyle.

With Ruck at her best, Canada might get a bronze at the next WCs instead of 4th.

Reply to  marklewis
6 years ago

Oleksiak hasn’t been going as fast here as in Budapest, but she’s still a major reason why Canada’s won 4 relay golds so far. Perhaps its hard to hit full taper twice within two months. As a complete non-athlete, I wouldn’t know.

Reply to  marklewis
6 years ago

W4X100 looks likely to be one very competitive event over the next 3 years.

USA broke the AUS unbeaten run (albeit an under-manned AUS). Maybe still a slight vulnerability with its lower seeds but the sense that they can now beat AUS may well see people lift their perforances as they want to get a piece of the action. As a younger team, this momentum is likely to continue post Tokyo unlike some others who will almost certainly fall-away.

AUS should be back to full strength in 2019 with C1 back (C2 may be missing for at least part of 2018 getting shoulders fixed). A full strength AUS team still probably has the edge on USA but whether this… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
6 years ago

It’s hard to predict how all of this will play out so far in the future though… it often only takes a season for mid-level swimmers to become world class or stars to come out of nowhere.

Reply to  swimz14
6 years ago

Agreed, injuries/illnessses and other life factors can either derail or end a career …. which may impact national relays.

However, on the evidence currently “at hand”, CAN realistically should be seen as being in a far stronger longer term position in this relay than AUS. Putting Oleksiak and Ruck to one side, CAN has other young swimmers capable of splitting sub54 or at least 54lows who at minimum have the distinct potential of pushing out the current experienced hands.

Measure than against AUS, where by Tokyo their 3 current fastest splitters will be in the 26-28 age range as will all bar one of their sub54 splitters (the other is 18). There are a couple in early 20s who seem… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
6 years ago

Anything can happen in junior swimming! Jade Hannah came into Indianapolis with PB’s of 28.60, 1:01.08, and 2:12.05. She leaves Indianapolis with PB’s of 27.93, 59.62, and 2:10.44. I’m sure some talent in Australia will emerge again

Reply to  commonwombat
6 years ago

Making predictions three years out is pretty foolish. And how on earth would you know at which point in their careers these swimmers are going to call it quits? The conventional wisdom after the Rio Olympics was that Ranomi Kromowidojo who was 26 at thee time was a spent force who would not be around for too much longer. We now know what she did in Budapest and in the subsequent World Cup meets.

6 years ago

loved the handshake between Ruck and Oleksiak before the race

Reply to  CanSwim13
6 years ago

Looked like all four of them were goofing off during the medal ceremony. Shows how close the quad really is.

Reply to  Ben
6 years ago

They must be in the pre boy phase of life . BTW this is a good reason to put girls into a socially , restrictive demanding sport so that the boy mad stage is deferred . ( if it was ever likely is another subject & leads to similar problems anyways) .

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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