2019 World Junior Championships: Day 1 Prelims Preview


  • 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 PilatoPilato 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 Egorovwho 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 Pallister17, 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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Fastest splits from the relay heats look to have been:

48.35 Minakov RUS
48.61 Urlando USA
49.55 Armstrong USA

1-59.38 Pallister AUS
1-59.40 Gemmell USA
1-59.97 Nordmann USA

Reply to  Oceanian
4 years ago

1:58.91 Tobehn GER

4 years ago

New NAG 15-16 100br LCM:
Josh Matheny 1:00:66 (prelims)
Old NAG:
Michael Andrew 1:00:68

4 years ago

lol – commentator has forgotten about the women’s 4×2 free heats…

Reply to  Oceanian
4 years ago

yep so funny

4 years ago

1/2 second pb by Aussie O’Callaghan in that one but Bronte Job in this one is the fastest Aussie.

Reply to  Oceanian
4 years ago

Hopefully it bodes well for a 100 free pb later this week.

Reply to  Troyy
4 years ago

Guessing Pallister will join them in the 4x1free if she’s not too buggered from her 1500 earlier that night.

4 years ago

Good morning for the British ladies. Two swims, one half second PB in the 50 breast and one 4.5s PB in the 400IM.

Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Goodburn another big PB. Excited to see him swimming 200IM this week – Only 2.03 on paper, but with 27s 50br, 2.00 200fl and a sub 50s 100fr split to his name he should be capable of something decent.

4 years ago

More interested to see how Pilato does in the 100 later this week. But she should be gold-medal certainty in this event.

4 years ago

Lol … the hungarian guy just dropped more than 6 seconds on his entry time to set a new CR in men’s 400 free. I knew that Hungary was desperate to get good results on home turf, but i didn’t think that they would be this desperate.

Reply to  AnEn
4 years ago

What do you mean by ‘this’ ?

4 years ago

New 400 free CR to Zombori of Hungary: 3:46.97

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »