2019 SWAMMY AWARDS: WORLD JR MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR ANDREI MINAKOV
The 2019 World Junior Male Swammy Award goes to Russia’s Andrei Minakov. Minakov had more sustained success across multiple meets than any other junior swimmer this year. That included a highlight of individual silver in the 100 fly at the World Championships to go with a 400 free relay silver and 400 medley relay bronze.
To be eligible for this award, athletes must still be 18-years old or younger by the end of the year.
Having broken the Russian national record in 2018, Minakov swam the 100 fly as his sole individual event at the senior World Championships in 2019. Hitting a 51.54 in the heats, Minakov advanced third to semis, where he swam a 50.94 to better his own Russian national record and qualify second into the final. Minakov’s semifinal performance had him swim right next to Caeleb Dressel as Dressel broke the World Record. In the final, Minakov managed to keep step with Dressel and claimed his first senior international medal with a 50.83 for silver and bettered his own national record for the second time that meet. The next day, Minakov swam the fly leg of the men’s 4×100 medley, hitting a 50.54 which was the second fastest split in the final, after Dressel. His split helped teammates Evgeny Rylov, Kirill Prigoda and Vlad Morozov to a 3:28.81 finish, setting a Russian national record on their way to a bronze medal finish behind Great Britain and the US.
Coming away from Gwangju with a silver, bronze and two new national records, Minakov rode that momentum all the way to Budapest for the World Junior Championships where he would have a rather busier lineup this time around. Minakov raced in 4 relays (2 men’s and 2 mixed) as well as the 50 fly, 100 fly and 100 fly individually and he earned medals in all 7 of the events.
Andrei Minakov 2019 World Junior Medals
- Gold: 100 freestyle (48.73), 100 butterfly (51.25), Men’s 4×100 medley relay (3:33.19)
- Silver: 50 butterfly (23.39), Men’s 4×100 freestyle (3:16.26), Mixed 4×100 medley record (3:48.06), Mixed 4×100 freestyle record (3:27.72)
Of note, the men’s 4×100 medley relay was fast enough to set both the world junior record and championship record with a 3:33.19. Joining Minakov on the relay was Nikolay Zuev, Vladislav Gerasimenko and Aleksandr. Minakov’s 7 medals contributed heavily to the Russian’s 22 total medal count, giving them a second place finish at the meet behind the American’s 37. His performance at World Juniors earned him the title of male swimmer of the meet.
As if that wasn’t enough, a few weeks before Worlds, he won 6 medals, including 4 gold, at the European Junior Championships
Earlier in the year, Minakov was signed to represent Energy Standard in the ISL but ultimately ended up withdrawing in order to preserve his NCAA eligibility. A few weeks after this announcement, he announced his verbal commitment to Stanford via Instagram.
Ending the summer with 16 international medals, two national records and a world junior record, Minakov’s success as a teenager places him among the best swimmers already of the highly competitive Russian swimming scene.
In no particular order
- Carson Foster (USA): Foster qualified for 2019 World Junior Championships in all four events that he swam at 2019 US National Championships; 200 free, 200 back, 200 IM and 400 IM. Voted as one of 5 captains for the meet, Foster came away with 3 gold medals and 3 championship records, doing so in the 200 IM and the men’s 4×100 free and 4×200 free relays. Both relays also set new world junior records. Foster picked up another two medals; silver in the 200 back and gold for swimming in the mixed 4×100 free prelims. Foster closed out the year with a pair of silver medals in the 200 and 400 IM at the 2019 U.S Open, and also cleared the National High School Record in the 200 yard free.
- Luca Urlando (USA): Luca Urlando made waves in 2019 when he broke Michael Phelps’ 2003 17-18 National Age Group Record in the 200 fly, swimming a 1:53.84. Urlando won his first ever long course national title at 2019 US National Championships, touching in a 1:54.92 in the 200 fly. He swam the event again, along with the 100 fly and 200 free at 2019 World Juniors and took home gold in both the 200 fly and free. Adding to his medal tally, he contributed to the men’s 4×100 free, men’s 4×200 free and mixed 4×100 free gold medal and world junior record performances.
- Franko Grgic (CRO): Franko Grgic certainly made a name for himself this year, becoming the first ever Croatian under 15 minutes in the LCM 1500 freestyle back in March at the 2019 Croatian Team Championships, doing so at just 16-years old. Moving into the summer, he destroyed the field in the men’s 1500 at the 2019 World Junior Championships with a 14:46.09 for a world junior record, 13 seconds ahead of Australian Thomas Neil’s 14:59.19 for silver. Grgic also took gold in the 800 free with a huge personal best and national record of 7:45.92, threatening Mack Horton’s 7:45.67 world junior record form 2013. We didn’t get to see him at the World Championships, but he might skip a step and find himself straight on an Olympic podium next season.