7TH FINA WORLD JUNIOR SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019
- Duna Arena, Budapest (Hungary)
- Pool swimming: Tuesday, August 20 – Sunday, August 25, 2019
- Heats 9:30am GMT+2 (3:30 am EDT / 12:30 am PDT)/ Semifinals and Finals 5:30pm GMT+2 (11:30am EDT / 8:30am PDT)
- 50-meter (LCM) course
- Meet site
- Entries book
- FinaTV Live Stream (subscription required)
- Live results
A busy summer of 2019 essentially caps off this week with the last major international meet of the season: the World Junior Championships. Here are some quick headlines of the major stories to watch at the first prelims session, taking place Tuesday morning, Budapest time, or very early morning U.S. time:
14-Year-Old Pilato Seeks WJR in 50 Breast
One of the youngest swimmers in the entire competition could break a world junior record today: Italy’s Benedetta Pilato. Pilato turned 14 earlier this year and went on to win silver at the World Championships in the 50 breast, going 29.98 out of heats and 30.00 in finals. Though the fastest time ever done by a junior is 29.48 from Ruta Meilutyte in 2013, that was before FINA officially tracked world junior records. As such, the official record mark stands at 29.86, also from Meilutyte.
Pilato has only been eligible to break WJRs for about eight months, and has almost three and a half years left of eligibility. She could make her first crack at the record books this morning, especially if she goes after heats the way she did at senior Worlds.
Barn-burner in Boys 400 free
The boys 400 free should kick off the meet, and it’s about as close a field as you could hope for in a race so long. American Jake Mitchell is the top seed at 3:48.09 – he was the breakout star of U.S. Nationals earlier this month, but if he wants to win gold here, he’ll have to hold his taper and repeat a swim that was 4.7 seconds faster than anything he’d previously swum in his life.
Same goes for Russia’s Aleksandr Egorov, who cut 2.4 seconds from his lifetime-best to take silver at European Juniors last month in 3:48.28. Australia’s Thomas Neill has taken about six seconds from his time this season, coming in at 3:49.98. There are plenty of fast risers further back in the field, too, and this race should be one of the most fun to watch this week.
Vaskina Looking for Consistency in 100 Back
Russia’s Daria Vaskina has been up and down this year. The European Junior champ was just 1:00.17 in that final (seven tenths off a lifetime-best from April), but still won by a second and a half. Senior Worlds was a roller coaster. Vaskina first went 1:00.66 (more than a second off her best) to barely squeak into semis in 16th. Then in the semifinals, she matched her lifetime-best (59.46) to qualify for the final, where she faded back to 8th in 59.74. She then closed the meet leading off Russia’s medley relay in a disastrous 1:01.08, causing the Russian team to miss the final entirely.
She’ll need more consistency to hold off some young talents seeded behind her. Canada’s Jade Hannah is the returning bronze medalist from 2017 in this event, and sits #2 on the psych sheets, while versatile American 15-year-old Claire Curzan is one of the top young names to watch from the #3 seed.
A preview of 200 Free Slugfest Rematch in Girls Relay
Of the two relays this morning (boys 4×100 free and girls 4×200 free), the girls 4×200 is probably the more intriguing. While teams may have an alternate or two on their teams this morning, we should still see a lot of the top names competing. At some point on day 1, we should see a preview of a stellar individual 200 free rematch. The gold, silver and bronze medalists from 2018 Junior Pan Pacs are all in attendance in Budapest, and all three should lead their relays today.
Claire Tuggle won gold last summer as a 14-year-old, and is one of the top American age group talents with a real shot at a Tokyo Olympic berth. She was 1:58.58 last summer and already 1:58.21 this year. Australia’s Lani Pallister, 17, took silver last year by just 0.42 seconds, and hits the revenge tour in Budapest. She was 1:58.83 leading off a relay at Junior Pan Pacs last summer, and actually got her revenge on Tuggle by winning that very leg (Tuggle was 1:59.3 leading off). Then Japan’s Nagisa Ikemoto was the bronze medalist individually, only 0.02 behind Pallister. Ikemoto has already been almost a second faster this year (1:58.19) and might actually be the favorite this summer.