2020 SWAMMY AWARDS: WORLD JR MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR ANDREI MINAKOV
The 2020 Swammy Award for Male Junior Swimmer of the Year goes to Russia’s Andrei Minakov. Minakov, having won the award in 2019 as well, becomes the second straight 2-time winner of the award following Kliment Kolesnikov (2017/2018). Minakov had a record-breaking fall, downing a total of three world junior records, two in short course and one in long course.
Minakov’s first world junior record of the year came in the 50 fly when he hit a 23.05 at the long course Russian Championships in October. His swim knocked down Vladyslav Bukhov’s previous record of 23.14 from January 2020. The swim was the 4th fastest in the event this year worldwide:
Top 5 Long Course 50 Butterfly Performances (2020)
- Oleg Kostin – 22.82
- Nicholas Santos – 22.95
- Szebasztian Szabo – 22.96
- Andrei Minakov – 23.05
- Andrii Govorov – 23.07
Two days later, Minakov took out Kyle Chalmers’ 100 freestyle world junior record by just 0.01 seconds, lowering it from a 47.58 to a 47.57. In a year where long course racing was scarce, Minakov’s 100 freestyle was actually the top time worldwide and the only sub-48 swim in the event this year:
Top 5 Long Course 100 Freestyle Performances (2020)
- Andrei Minkov – 47.47
- Nandor Nemeth – 48.08
- Alessandro Miressi – 48.15
- Vlad Morozov – 48.32
- Vlad Grinev – 48.33
Minakov’s third WJR of the year was in the short course version of the 50 fly. At the 2020 Russian Short Course Championships, Minkov swam under the FINA-set benchmark of 22.43 to set the first-ever world junior record in the event at 22.34. That swim for Minakov ranked him as #6 in the world in 2020:
Top 5 Short Course 50 Butterfly Performances (2020)
- Nicholas Santos – 21.78
- Szebasztian Szabo – 21.86
- Caeleb Dressel – 22.04
- Takeshi Kawamoto – 22.19
- Tom Shields – 22.32
- Andrei Minakov – 22.34
- Nyls Korstanje – 22.35
- Hryhory Pekarski – 22.40
Minakov’s performance at the long course Russian Championships back in October also yielded him a #5 ranking worldwide in the 100 butterfly with a 51.37. As one of the world’s leading swimmers in the sprint free and fly, Minakov has just gotten started on the elite swimming scene. Having has a successful first crack at World Championships in 2019 including a silver medal in the 100 butterfly, Minakov will look to earn a spot on his first-ever Olympic squad come 2021.
After the Games, Minakov will see how his short course and long course prowess translates to yards as he plans to travel to California and swim for the Stanford men’s swim team.
In no particular order
- Eddie Wang – Eddie Wang was one of the Cali Condors’ key additions this year, helping the squad reach and win the 2020 ISL final. Throughout the season, Wang lowered the world junior record in the short course 200 fly three separate times. He first broke Daiya Seto’s mark of 1:51.30 with his swim of 1:50.76 in match 1. At match 10 he lowered it again to a 1:50.14 and then to a 1:49.89 at semi-final 2. Wang was 2020’s second-fastest performer in the event, second only to Tom Shields (1:49.02), and is now the 8th fastest performer of all time.
- Hwang Sun-Woo – Hwang Sun-Woo of South Korea had an impressive showing at the 2020 Korean National Team Trials. At that meet, he swam to a 1:45.92, faster than Elijah Winnington’s 2018 world junior record of 1:46.13, and became the 2nd fastest South Korean behind Park Taehwan’s 2010 swim of 1:44.80. Sun-Woo also swam the 100 freestyle at that meet, breaking the national record with a 48.25.
- Thomas Neill – Thomas Neill became the fastest junior to ever swim the short course 400 freestyle with his 3:38.00 at the 2020 Queensland Short Course Championships. That was more than a second faster than previous WJR holder Elijah Winnington’s 3:39.17 from 2018. The swim made Neill the 5th fastest performer in the world for 2020 and the 28th fastest of all time.