2019 European Junior Championships Day 1 Finals Live Recap



The top 8 women were all under 32 seconds in tonight’s 50m breast semi-final, led by favorite Benedetta Pilato, the 14-year-old Italian who will already be competing at the Senior World Championships. She nailed a time tonight of 30.33, slightly off her 30.22 Meet Record from this morning, but still good enough to take lane 4 for tonight’s final just several events away.

Anastasia Marakova was 31.47 in the prelims this morning and nailed 31.50 to take the 1st of 2 semi-finals. British up-and-comer Kayla Van Der Merwe produced her quickest time ever in 31.61 to take 2nd in a close finish behind Marakova. That blasts .38 off of her previous PB of 31.99 from this year’s British Championships.

Lithuania’s Kotryna Teterevkova also just put up the best time of her career, snagging the 2nd spot in 31.41. That blasts away her previous PB of 31.63 from just this past March.


  • Euro Jr Record – 23.28 (target time)
  • Championships Record – 23.51, Andriy Khiloptsov (RUS), 2016
  • Top 8:
    1. Luca Armbruster, GER 23.59
    2. Andrei Minakov, RUS 23.69
    3. Aleksandr Shchegolev, RUS 23.73
    4. Vladyslav Bukhov, UKR 23.83
    5. Noe Ponti, SUI 23.85
    6. Arseni Barzhakou, BLR 23.97
    7. Josif Miladinov, BUL 24.01
    8. Nicholas Lia, NOR 24.21

Germany’s Luca Armbruster already staked his claim on the men’s 50m fly event with his morning swim of 23.71, but he lowered his newly-minted Age Record for 18-year-olds even further with his 23.59 outing tonight. That held off a charging Russian in Andrei Minakov, who lurks as the 2nd seeded swimmer just .10 behind now in 23.69.

Minakov owns a PB of 23.47 from last year’s Youth Olympic Games, so look for him to make his move in the final just a few events from now.

Also trying to hit the podium will be Swiss ace Noe Ponti in 5th who slashed .10 off of his own previous PB of 23.95 from just this past March. His time in this semi-final falls just .02 shy of the Swiss Senior National Record.

Both Dutchman Kenzo Simons and British sprinter Matt Richards missed out on tonight’s final.


  • Euro Jr Record – 4:36.17 (target time)
  • Championships Record – 4:40.88, Grainne Murphy (IRL), 2009
  • GOLD – Alba Vazquez (ESP), 4:40.64 *Championships Record
  • SILVER – Viktoria Mihalyvari Farkas (HUN), 4:41.32
  • BRONZE – Katie Shanahan (GBR), 4:43.36

Setting our second Meet Record of the day was Alba Vazquez of Spain, the woman who cranked out a winning time of 4:40.64 to take the 400m IM European Junior Championships title here in Kazan. After establishing herself as the top seed of the morning by over 3 seconds in an AM effort of 4:44.47, Vazques took things to a new level to pump out a huge personal best and overtake the previous record of 4:40.88 that’s been on the books since 2009.

Vazquez’s previous PB entering this meet was her 4:45.79 outing in Castellon and she carries on the great IM tradition for her nation founded by Olympian Mireia Belmonte.

Runner-up tonight was Hungary’s Viktoria Mihalyvari Farkas, who clinched silver in 4:41.32, while British budding star Katie Shanahan made it happen for bronze in 4:43.36. Farkas’ time is a big-time PB, surpassing her previous mark of 4:44.02 from May.

Shanahan’s performance hacks the 14-year-old’s Scottish National Age Record of 4:46.62 this year to bits. She is now the 10th fastest British performer in history with her bronze medal swim.


The plot thickens in this men’s 200m breaststroke race as Russia’s Aleksandr Zhigalov announced his entrance by claiming the top seed for tomorrow night’s final in a time of 2:11.87. He was 3rd out of the heats in 2:13.24, but already surged up the rankings to the top dog with a strong 2:11.87 showing, the only sub-2:12 of the field. That’s within range of his 2:10.36 PB, which he may need to replicate to hold off the likes of the next 2 competitors.

Frenchman Leon Marchand and Dutchman Caspar Corbeau both put up 2:12’s already this morning and doubled down on the effort with the 2nd and 3rd seeded swims tonight. Marchand leads in 2:12.21, whose previous personal best was 2:14.45 this morning, while Corbeau’s previous PB was 2:14.07. The University of Texas-bound Corbeau holds fast as the 3rd seed in 2:12.28.

British athlete Kyle Booth lurks as the 6th seed, already beating his 2:14.21 PB with a shiny new lifetime best of 2:14.15. Ireland also sneaked into the final courtesy of Eoin Corby, the man who has been knocking down age records in his nation left and right.


  • Euro Jr Record – 2:06.71 (target time)
  • Championships Record – 2:08.55, Emese Kovacs (HUN), 2007
  • Top 8:
    1. Blanka Berecz (HUN), 2:10.96
    2. Fanni Fabian (HUN), 2:11.41
    3. Laura Lahtinen (FIN), 2:12.12
    4. Defne Tacyildiz (TUR), 2:12.30
    5. Lotte Hosper (NED), 2:12.80
    6. Zehra-Duru Bilgin (TUR), 2:12.95
    7. Daria Zielinksa (POL), 2:13.09
    8. Sophie Freeman (GBR), 2:14.27

Reigning 200m fly European Junior Champion Blanka Berecz of Hungary put the women’s 200m fly field on notice with her 2:09.75 morning swim and snagged the top spot for tomorrow night’s final as well. She produced a time of 2:10.96 to clear the field by almost half a second, with teammate Fanni Fabian flanking her tomorrow night in 2:11.41.

Finnish swimmer Laura Lahtinen will also be chasing Bercz tomorrow on the other side with a semi-final time of 2:12.12.

Berecz carries a season-best 2fly time of 2:09.90 into Kazan, the fastest of any 18&U woman in the world at this point. That already beats out the 2:10.37 it took the Hungarian to top the podium in Buenos Aires last year at the Youth Olympic Games.


  • Euro Jr Record – 3:46.17 (target time)
  • Championships Record – 3:46.26, Yannick Agnel (FRA), 2010
  • GOLD – Antonio Djakovic (SUI), 3:47.89 *National Record
  • SILVER – Aleksandr Egorov (RUS), 3:48.28
  • BRONZE – Robin Hanson (SWE), 3:50.53

The men’s 400m free saw a stunning duel between Swiss ace Antonio Djakovic and Russian gunner Aleksandr Egorov. 16-year-old Djakovic got his hand on the wall first in 3:47.89, blowing apart his own previous PB of 3:49.27, as well as the Swiss National Record of 3:49.11 held by Dominik Meichtry. Djakovic is now 18th in the world in this event, with a lot more room to grow.

For Egorov, he took silver in 3:48.28, while Swedish freestyler Robin Hanson collected bronze in 3:50.53. Look for him to do more damage in the 100m and 200m free later in the competition.


  • Euro Jr Record – 53.61, Freya Anderson (GBR), 2018
  • Championships Record – 53.97, Marrit Steenbergen (NED), 2015
  • Top 8:
    1. Ekaterina Nikonova (RUS), 55.02
    2. Isabel Gose (GER), 55.08
    3. Maya Tobehn (GER), 55.12
    4. Ieva Maluka (LAT), 55.57
    5. Oceane Carnez (FRA), 55.79
    6. Carmen Weiler Sastre (ESP), 55.84
    7. Aleksandra Sabitova (RUS), 55.87
    8. Tamryn Van Selm (GBR), 55.92

The top 8 women all represented the sub-56 freestylers of the 100m free event, led by Russian Ekaterina Nikonova and her time of 55.02. Her outing tonight lays waste to her previous personal best of 55.96 logged just this past April in Moscow.

Behind her was this morning’s top-seeded swimmer of Isabel GoseThe German teen was only .06 behind in 55.08. Gose will be representing Germany at the Senior World Championships later this month. Gose and Maya Tobehn have a chance to make it a 1-2 German punch, with Tobehn also logging a solid effort of 55.12 to land 3rd seed.

Latvia enters its first final for women tonight, with Ieva Maluka producing her best-ever time of 55.57. That establishes a new National Record and inserts her into the conversation for a minor medal come tomorrow night’s final.


  • Euro Jr Record – 52.53, Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 2018
  • Championships Record – 53.52, Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 2018
  • Top 8:
    1. Nikolai Zuev (RUS), 54.03
    2. Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 54.46
    3. Mewen Tomac (FRA), 54.83
    4. Pavel Samusenko (RUS), 54.89
    5. Charlie Brown (GBR), 55.11
    6. Jan Cejka (CZE), 55.12
    7. Costa Joao (POR), 55.58
    8. Gabor Zombori (HUN), 55.60

Russia landed yet another top seed, this time in the men’s 100m back with Nikolai Zuev snagging the pole position. Hitting the wall in 54.03, Zuev destroyed his own previous lifetime best mark of 54.81 produced just last May. He was already under that threshold with his top-seeded swim of the morning in 54.73, 1 of just 2 swimmers to dive under 55.

Joining him in the 54-second territory in tonight’s semi-finals was Italy’s Thomas Ceccon, the multi-Youth Olympic Games medalist who has proven dangerous across several different events. He dropped his 55.02 morning swim to 54.46 to take the 2nd seed here. He owns a PB of 53.60 in this event, the only sub-54 of the entire incoming field.


  • Euro Jr Record – 2:06.62 (target time)
  • Championships Record – 2:08.97, Polina Egorova (RUS), 2017
  • Top 8:
    1. Zuzanna Herasimowicz (POL), 2:11.38
    2. Honey Osrin (GBR) 2:11.57
    3. Erika Gaetani (ITA), 2:11.72*
    4. Eszter Szabo (HUN), 2:11.72*
    5. Lena Grabowski (AUT), 2:11.99
    6. Anastasiya Shkurdai (BLR), 2:12.08
    7. Aviv Barzelay (ISR), 2:13.16
    8. Ana Herceg (ISR), 2:13.33

The women’s 200m back was overall on the sluggish side, with just a 2:11.38 needed to take the top seed. Hitting that time was Polish teen Zuzanna Herasimowicz, who bettered her 2:13.26 from this morning to zoom from 3rd to 1st seed. For perspective, the meet record stands at a stellar 2:08.97.

Moving up the ranks big-time, however, was British swimmer Honey OsrinOsrin, who trains with Plymouth Leander, fired off a nice personal best of 2:11.57 to sit 2nd entering tomorrow night’s final, a big improvement from her 2:14.38 swim that ranked her 6th after heats.

Osrin took 4th in the senior final in this women’s 200m back event at the 2019 British Championships, producing a time there of 2:12.53, so the promising star is already well on her way to making her mark on this meet. Her time tonight now ranks her among the top 25 British 200m backstrokers of all-time.

Austrian National Record holder Lena Grabowski lurks as the 5th seeded swimmer in 2:11.99, but she holds a PB of 2:10.92 from this year, so she may be waiting to pounce in tomorrow night’s final.


  • Euro Jr Record – 23.28 (target time)
  • Championships Record – 23.51, Andriy Khiloptsov (RUS), 2016
  • GOLD – Noe Ponti (SUI), 23.48* Championships Record
  • SILVER – Luca Armbruster (GER), 23.49
  • BRONZE – Andrei Minakov (RUS), 23.66

We were treated to another Championships Record-breaking moment with tonight’s 50m fly, as Swiss swimmer Noe Ponti powering his way to the top of the podium in 23.48. That narrowly defeated Germany’s Luca Armbruster, who touched just .01 behind in 23.49 after having led the field after both prelims and semi-finals.

Armbruster had sealed the top seed after prelims in 23.71, then lowered that to 23.59 in the semi-finals, both of which set the German Record for 18-year-olds. His silver medal-garnering swim tonight dropped it even further to sub-23.50 territory.

For Ponti, however, his time cleared the Swiss Senior National Record, a time he was already within .02 of with his semi-final of 23.85. He obliterated that time tonight in 23.48 to write his name into the history books for his nation. The old Meet Record was held by Andriy Khiloptsov at 23.51 from 2016.


The top 3 women from the 50m breast semi-finals maintained their positions, but simply got faster as they soared to the wall with medals on the line. The strong favorite of Benedetta Pilato got the job done in record-breaking style, with her 30.16 lowering her own 30.22 meet mark from this morning’s heats.

Her outing came within .13 of her own 30.13 Italian Senior National Record broken at the Sette Colli Trophy, making her the 3rd fastest swimmer in the world this year.

Pilato will take on the likes of Russia’s Yuliya Efimova and America’s Lilly King in Gwangju in this event.

Lithuania’s Kotryna Teterevkova is carrying on the strong breaststroking tradition of Lithuania, nailing a silver in 31.20. That sliced another .21 off of her PB logged in the semi-finals, which blew away her previous career quickest of 31.63 from this past March.

Marakova was just .06 out of bronze, finishing in 31.26 to add another medal to Russia’s column.


  • Euro Jr Record – 8:22.01, Ajna Kesely (HUN), 2018
  • Championships Record – 8:30.43, Ajna Kesely (HUN), 2018
  • GOLD – Giulia Salin (ITA), 8:29.19* Championships Record
  • SILVER – Beril Boecekler (TUR), 8:34.56* National Record
  • BRONZE – Yana Yurtseva (RUS), 8:39.82

The final individual event of the first finals session here in Kazan ended with yet another Meet Record biting the dust. Italy’s Giulia Salin improved upon her bronze medal in this same event at the 2018 edition of the European Junior Championships, clobbering her past time of 8:34.50 from Helsinki.

Tonight, she punched the wall in 8:29,19 to produce a huge personal best and further cement herself as the fastest swimmer in the world for 18&U in this race.

Behind her was Turkish standout Beril Boecekler, as the 16-year-old surged to the silver medal position in 8:34.56. That blasts away her own Turkish Senior National Record of 8:45.11 she logged just this past April while competing at the Turkish Championships.

Russia snared bronze by way of Yana Yurtseva, who touched in 8:39.82. The women’s 400m IM champion here, Viktoria Mihalyvari Farkas was also in the race, touching in a time of 8:46.47 for 4th place.


**Note this event has been updated based on revised results.

  • Euro Jr Record – 3:16.58 (target time)
  • Championships Record – 3:16.58, Italy, 2009
  • GOLD – Russia, 3:18.48
  • SILVER – Italy, 3:18.54
  • BRONZE, GBR, 3:19.88

Despite original results listing Italy as the winner, it was actually Russia who took the top prize in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay. The foursome of Andrei Minakov, Arseniy Chivilev, Aleksandr Shchegolev and Egor Pavlov combined to clock a winning effort of 3:18.48, just beating out runners-up Italy, who touched in 3:18.54 for a very close, nailbiter finish.

Splits for the Russians include 49.35 for Minakov, 50.51 for Chivilev, 49.37 for Shchegolev and 49.25 for Pavlov.

As for Italy, the squad included Stefano Nicetto, Thomas Ceccon, Giovanni Caserta and Mario Nicorta. Splits for the team included 49.82 lead-off for Nicetto and a smoking hot 48.17 2nd leg by 18-year-old Ceccon. Ceccon is ranked 2nd in the men’s 100m back after tonight’s semi-final.

Additional notable splits among the field were as follows: Richards 49.14 and Whittle 49.93 for GBR, Piotrowski 49.63 and Orlicz 49.13 anchor; Hanson 49.57 lead-off for Sweden; Miroslaw 49.60 for Germany.


  • Euro Jr Record – 3:39.91 (target time)
  • Championships Record – 3:42.19, Russia, 2014
  • GOLD – Germany, 3:41.24* Championships Record
  • SILVER – Russia, 3:42.81
  • BRONZE – France, 3:43.50

Germany concluded the lengthy night’s session with a new Meet Record in the women’s edition of the 4x100m freestyle relay. Led-off by Zoe Vogelmann‘s 55.73, Lena Riedemann kept the momentum going with a split of 55.84, before Gose took over with a monster 54.51 leg. That represented just 1 of 2 sub-55 second legs in the entire field. Tobehn finished the job in 55.15 to have the squad collectively earn gold in 3:41.24.

Runners-up Russia was over a second behind, with the quickest split coming in anchor Ekaterina Nikonova‘s mark of 54.57.

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Sports fan
4 years ago

Italy was first in the ralays.russia was second!

4 years ago

If Ceccon doesn’t win the 1 back I will eat my shoe. You heard it here first

4 years ago

How can Boecekeler from Turkey be 16 when the official results list her year of birth as 2004?

4 years ago

Lani Pallister from Australia is age 17 and did an 8.25 recently . Faster than the 8.29 here . So not sure about the rankings.

4 years ago

In the past 10 years; GBR, HUN or ESP have won the women’s 400IM at Euro Juniors 7 times. At least one nation has been on the podium every year for the past 10. Culture goes such a long way in sport.

Vazquez Ruiz was massively impressive; Her breast leg was like a hot knife through butter. She ages up now but Farkas (2003), Shanahan (2004), Colbert (2004) and Sanchez (2003) should keep the tradition going next year. Both Brits well under our NAG record too – Talents.

4 years ago

Wow. Forgot Shanahan was only 14. She has so much potential for the future.

Reply to  Jeff
4 years ago

Shanahan just turned 15 and agree so much potential!

50 free
4 years ago

The spilts listed in the article for Great Britain and up to a time faster then the time listed

50 free
Reply to  50 free
4 years ago

Nvm missed a comma

4 years ago

I saw Italy clearly first. The usual Russia.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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