2019 European Junior Championships: Hear From The Champions

Retta Race
by Retta Race 0

July 07th, 2019 News


The 2019 European Junior Championships concluded tonight in Kazan, Russia, with the host nation coming away with the overall medal table and points trophy when all was said and done.

Over the course of the 5-day meet, we saw a total of 14 Championships Records go down, with 1 European Junior Record having been set by Artem Selin in the men’s 50m free to cap off the Championships.

Below, courtesy of LEN, hear from the champions of each night on what their wins meant to them, as well as what this stepping-stone-of-a-meet does to set the young stars up for future success.

  • Apostolos Papastamos (GRE), 200m IM & 400m IM
    • 200m IM – “To be honest, my big event is the 400m IM on the last day, that’s what I’m preparing for so it’s a kind of surprise for me. Until 150m I didn’t see the others then turning on the last leg I saw I’m ahead and I told myself, this is you have to win now. I’m happy that I could do just that.”
    • 400m IM – “I’m really happy, I’ve made the IM double but what really matters that I made the Olympic cut today. So from now on, I can live the Olympic dream. The race went as we planned with my coach. I can say, it was the perfect race.”
  • Daria Vaskina (RUS),  50m back & 100m back
    • “The time was not bad but it’s not that good. So I’m not really happy. Little smile, for the gold medal. But only a little.”
    • “It was a good race though it’s not a personal best for me. But I’m still satisfied to win here in Kazan.”
  • Aleksandr Zhigalov (RUS), 100m breast
    • “Even if it looked tight, I felt much better than over the 200m race. I felt more confident, more relaxed. During the first days of the championships we were too nervous, perhaps paid too much attention to the public. As we were approaching the end, we found the way to gain strength from their support. I think today the crowd was a factor in my victory.”
    • “It was a very hard race, I felt the pressure as everybody wanted to see me winning this event. It did not went that well, I think, I could have done better but I am happy now.”
  • Kayla van der Merwe (GBR), 100m breast
    • “It was really exciting, before and during the race. I didn’t expect this gold as our focus is not on this meet bur rather on the World Championships so this win is simply awesome.”
  • Robin Hanson (SWE), 200m free
    • “It was a great race with two great rivals. It was the last 50m I trusted the most that it could help me to be in front. Though I know I have to work and learn a lot to be better and more consistent, for example with my turns.”
  • Zoe Vogelman (GER), 200m IM
    • “It was an amazing swim, I felt so good during the whole race. During the breaststroke we were kind of in one line but over the freestyle I didn’t see the Israeli girls so I just swam as fast as I could. Then at the wall, after the touch I looked at the scoreboard, so my time, which was amazing… Then I saw the No 1. in front of my name… And I was like, hey, what’s going on?!
  • Andrei Minakov (RUS), 100m fly
    • “During the first days we felt a kind of pressure but now it’s all good to race in front of our people. It was a good swim, went according to the plans though the World Championships in July is the most important event of the summer. But my preparations is at the stage I expected earlier, so it’s all good.”
  • Anastasia Shkurdai (BLR), 50m fly & 100m fly
    • 50m fly : “It was kind of normal, I’m happy for my win but the time is not the one I really wished for. But the focus is on the World Championships and there I will achieve what I’m planning.”
    • 100m fly: “I’m not really happy with this result. It’s good to win this race but this result counts good only among the juniors. At senior level I need much better times. So I have to work really hard to achieve something big among the seniors.”
  • Jan Cejka (CZE), 200m back
    • “It’s amazing. I could never imagine that I am able to swim as fast like this. By far my best time ever. Well, when I qualified in the first place to the final I thought I could win but what was really amazing was the time. Everything really came together.”
  • Isabel Gose (GER), 200m free
    • “I’m absolutely satisfied with this day! I’ve never imagined I could beat the Championship Record in the 200m and you see, it’s there. So I’m really happy. The 50m was a bonus. And I’m second. No, I don’t mind that it was only 0.05 (between her and the winner). I’m really happy now!”
    • “I expected to win the 400m free, the gold in the 100m free was a kind of extra. In fact, this whole championships serve my preparations as my real test will be the World Championships in Gwangju. I just wanted to jump in and enjoy the atmosphere of the event, I’m quite happy that I came off with three gold medals.”
  • Ilia Sibirtsev (RUS), 800m free
    • “We’ve been swimming together with Sasha (Alexandr Egorov, silver medallist) for five years, finishing 1-2 every time. He is not my rival, but like my brother. Now it was my turn. There was no specific plan, just swim. Making every 100m harder and harder. It’s a great feeling to win this gold.”
  • Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 50m back & 100m back
    • “Since the 50m is not my main event I am happy with the gold. My PB is 25.1, so the time is OK after all. Too bad that the relay came right after the final.”
    • “I had good sensations during the race, it’s a very good pool so it was a great way to prepare for Gwangju. Yesterday I clocked great times in the 100m free, especially in the relay but now the ten-minute interval was too short to be ready for the semi-final. Anyway, I’m happy with my gold, I’m really waiting the 50m back and the medley relay on Sunday.”
  • Constanza Cocconelli (ITA), 50m free
    • “That’s such a great feeling to achieve this time. I did my personal best in the semi-final in the afternoon and I’ve never thought that I could do that much better in the final. When I looked at the scoreboard I couldn’t believe my time. That’s so important, it shows that it’s good to do the hard work in the trainings.”
  • Blanka Berecz (HUN), 200m fly
    • “I felt some pressure as I wanted to defend my title but at the end I managed to do what we had planned with my coach. This is my fourth junior Europeans so I have plenty of experience which I was able to use today as well. I know exactly what are my weaknesses, now I will work very hard to make further improvements until the junior Worlds in August as it will take place at home in Budapest.”
  • Erika Gaetani (ITA), 200m back
    • “I had a plan before the race and I could swim according to it. I wanted to push the second half very hard and managed to do that. I am really happy now as I didn’t expect this gold medal at all!”
  • Kirill Martynychev (RUS), 1500m free
    • “I didn’t expect to swim such a good race. I just wanted to swim out fast and then control the race. I think I just managed to achieve this. I’m really happy,
  • Alba Vazquez Ruiz (ESP), 400m IM
    • “Last year I was fourth in this event. Since then I gained a lot of experience and tried to build my race based on that. I’m happy that it worked.”
  • Antonio Djakovic (SUI), 400m free
    • “Amazing it was… No words… I mean, I though I might get a medal here. Perhaps silver. Gold only in my dreams. Then you saw it. It was a great race, neck-to-neck. I pushed the last 50m as hard as I could.”
  • Noe Ponti (SUI), 50m fly
    • “Men, that’s great. Two golds for Switzerland in one day, that never happened in history I guess. I didn’t think I could be that fast. I know these guys, Luca (Ambuster) and Andrei (Minakov), they were the favourites. But things happen sometimes. I have no words to describe my feelings!”
  • Benedetta Pilato (ITA), 50m breast
    • “It was a great race, everything went according to plans, I’m very happy now.”
  • Giulia Salin (ITA), 800m free & 1500m free
    • “It was a really emotional win for me. To swim in this fantastic pool in this great atmosphere was really special. The race was great, I swam well so I’m very-very happy now.”
    • “It was a good race, I knew the others are strong but I tried to focus on my swim. I’m happy with my time, and quite satisfied with the two gold and one silver medals. In fact, that’s much better then I expected before.”
  • Igor Troyanovskyy (UKR), 200m fly
    • “The final differed from the semis for only pushing even harder. I think it was a great race, my tactics worked, I really geared up for the last 50m, my arms were aching but managed to keep my speed.”
  • Evgeniia Chiunova (RUS), 200m breast
    • “I don’t have too many words to say. I think I did much better in the semi-finals. Now I was much slower. Still won.”
  • Matthew Richards (GBR), 100m free
    • “I’m quite happy, it all went well. I just wanted to keep up with the others till the turn as I knew my turn and my second 50m are good enough to be in a good position. It ended up gold, this a second best time for me so I’m really happy.”
  • Vladislav Gerasimenko (RUS), 50m breast
    • “I think it was a good race and a good swim. For me it’s not a problem to swim this event twice within one session and usually my second swim is always better, just as today. I’m really happy, though my speed and technique was so-so but the win matters.”

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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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