2018 Swammy Awards: World Jr Male Swimmer of the Year Kliment Kolesnikov

To see all of our 2018 Swammy Awards presented by TYR, click here. 


We’re well past the half-way point between the 2016 Rio Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games, and as chatter grows about medal favorites, underdog chances, and so on, more eyes are trained on the future of the sport. A year and a half can make a world of a difference for a swimmer of any age, but it can really have an impact on elevating a young standout to a dominant champion.

For the junior boys, Russian Kliment Kolesnikov has had a stellar 2018.

The backstroke specialist, who turned 18 over the summer, started to see his junior international experience translate into world-class success this year. The highlight of his year was undoubtedly his 50 back gold medal at 2018 Euros, where his 24.00 took .04 off of the super-suited World Record set in 2009 by GBR’s Liam Tancock.  Kolesnikov’s talent was undeniable this summer, as he also won golds in the 100 back and 400 free relay (with a very strong 47.39 anchor) and garnered silvers in the mixed and men’s medley relays and a bronze in the mixed 400 free relay at Euros.

Just the other week in Hangzhou, at the 2018 World SC Champs, Kolesnikov took down the meet and World Junior record with a gold medal performance in the 100 IM, not far from the WR there, and he also secured a bronze medal in the 100 back. He was also on four Russian medal-winning relays, including the 4×100 free relay (with a very fast 45.36 anchor) and leading off their gold medal 4×50 medley relay (22.87).


In no particular order

  • Kristof Milak (Hungary): Milak only medaled in one event at Euros this summer, but he sure made it count. Clocking a time of 1:52.79 in the 200 fly, he won gold, breaking the meet record in the process. That time is seriously impressive, but just off of his performance at Hungarian Nationals in March, where he blasted a 1:52.71. That moved him to the 3rd-best performer ever, behind only Laszlo Cseh and Michael Phelps (both legends).
  • Elijah Winnington (Australia): One of a couple up-and-coming freestyle talents out of Australia, Winnington opted out of SC Worlds, but just recently swam a huge 1:46.13 in the 200 free to set a new WJR in long course. Additional highlights this year have been a new WJR in the 400 SCM free, from October, and producing the only sub-1:46 split on Australia’s gold medal 4×200 free relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April, where he split 1:45.97 as the Aussies broke the championship record.

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5 years ago

Don’t forget the YOG

Tammy Touchpad Error
5 years ago

No love for Minakov? I think he impressed me more than anyone but Kolesnikov with that 50m WR.

Coach Mike 1952
5 years ago

All great selections, glad to see KK get it, as he earned it & it takes nothing away from the accomplishments of the other two either. We will be watching these 3 very closely in years to come. They are all just getting going.

The Ready Room
5 years ago

Kolesnikov should get it because of the versatility factor, but wow did Milak have a heck of a year.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  The Ready Room
5 years ago

Agreed. They both had incredible years, but Kolesnikov’s WR in the 50 and 48.17 in 100 free time edges out milak.

Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
5 years ago

I like your name, always makes me blow a little air out of my nose when I see it

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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