2021 European Junior Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap


Ben Dornan contributed to this report.

We’ve got another action-packed finals session from the 2021 European Junior Championships at the Foro Italico in Rome on the docket tonight, with medals on the line in six events along with five rounds of semi-finals.

Among the highlights of Day 4 will be the men’s 100 butterfly, where Bulgarian Josif Miladinov leads the field into the final after clocking 51.86 in the semis. Miladinov is one of just six men who have cracked the 51-second barrier this year, having gone 50.93 at the European Championships in May.

We’ll also see the women’s 200 breast final, where France’s Justine Delmas comes in riding high after breaking the 12-year-old French National Record of 2:25.19 in the semi-finals (2:25.12).

We’ll also get another look at Romanian stud David Popovici tonight, as the newly-minted world #1 in the men’s 100 freestyle will take on the 200 free semis after qualifying third in this morning’s prelims in 1:50.01. Popovici was notably out in a blazing-fast 24.39 at the 50 in the heats before cruising the rest of the race. The 16-year-old holds the Romanian Record of 1:46.15 set just two and a half weeks ago in Bucharest.

Italian Lorenzo Galossi holds the top seed in that event after putting up a sizable best time of 1:49.27 this morning.

Note: Both France and Croatia both reportedly have had one swimmer test positive for COVID-19 and are in quarantine. As of now, French and Croatian swimmers remain on the heat sheets for tonight’s finals.


  • World Junior Record: 26.97 – Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA (2017)
  • European Junior Record: 26.97 – Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA (2017)
  • European Junior Championship Record: 27.23 – Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA (2017)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Vladislav Gerasimenko (RUS)
  1. Simone Cerasuolo (ITA), 27.29
  2. Rostyslav Kryzhanivs’kyy (UKR), 27.75
  3. Volodymyr Lisovets (UKR) / Bartosz Skora (POL), 27.94

18-year-old Italian Simone Cerasuolo soared to victory in the men’s 50 breaststroke on his home turf, putting up a time of 27.29 to chop more than two tenths off his previous best of 27.50 set in April. Cerasuolo was the bronze medalist in the 100 breast.

Rostyslav Kryzhanivs’kyy was .01 off his PB set in the semis for silver in 27.74, and his Ukrainian teammate Volodymyr Lisovets tied with Poland’s Bartosz Skora for bronze in 27.94. Lisovets won the 100 breast and set a best of 27.81 in the 50 breast semis. Skora’s swim marks his first time sub-28, having set his previous best of 28.19 in the heats.


  • World Junior Record: 1:44.96 – Hwang Sunwoo, KOR (2021)
  • European Junior Record: 1:46.13 – Target Time
  • European Junior Championship Record: 1:46.58 – Yannick Agnel, FRA (2010)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Robin Hanson (SWE)
  1. David Popovici (ROU), 1:45.26
  2. Timo Sorgius (GER), 1:49.14
  3. Jovan Lekic (BIH), 1:49.40
  4. Mateusz Chowaniec (POL), 1:49.87
  5. Daniil Kosenkov (RUS), 1:49.96
  6. Batuhan Filiz (TUR), 1:49.98
  7. Luis Dominguez Calonge (ESP), 1:50.18
  8. Matteo Oppioli (ITA), 1:50.27

David Popovici was at it again in the men’s 200 free semis, roaring to a new Romanian and European Junior Record of 1:45.26 to qualify first for tomorrow’s final by almost four seconds.

The 16-year-old’s previous best time and National Record stood at 1:46.15, set just two and a half weeks ago, and with this swim he crushes the European Junior Record Target Time of 1:46.13.

South Korea’s Hwang Sun-Woo set a new World Junior Record of 1:44.96 earlier this year, but that mark has not yet been ratified by FINA, so Popovici’s swim is under the current WJR on paper (1:45.92 from Hwang in 2020), though it ultimately won’t stand.

After lowering the WJR and becoming the #1 swimmer in the world this season in the 100 free, Popovici now ranks seventh in the 200 free for 2020-21.

He was notably out sub-24 at the 50 (23.94) before rattling off subsequent splits of 26.76/27.64/26.92.

Qualifying second from Popovici’s heat was Germany’s Timo Sorgius, who recorded a time of 1:49.14. Sorgius owns a best of 1:48.75 set last month.

In the first semi it was Bosnian and Herzegovina’s Jovan Lekic leading the way in 1:49.40, ultimately qualifying him third overall. Lekic set a new National Record of 1:49.28 in the heats.

Lorenzo Galossi, the top seed out of the heats in 1:49.27, added two seconds and finishes 12th overall in 1:51.32.


  • World Junior Record: 2:09.64 – Yu Yiting, CHN (2021)
  • European Junior Record: 2:11.03 – Target Time
  • European Junior Championship Record: 2:13.03 – Ilaria Cusinato, ITA (2016)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Zoe Vogelmann (GER)
  1. Katie Shanahan (GBR), 2:14.06
  2. Emma Carrasco Cadens (ESP), 2:15.34
  3. Viktoriia Starostina (RUS), 2:15.38
  4. Anastasiia Sorokina (RUS), 2:15.47
  5. Lisa Nystrand (SWE), 2:15.60
  6. Panna Ugrai (HUN), 2:15.89
  7. Lilla Minna Abraham (HUN), 2:16.78
  8. Dana Caterina Radwan (ITA), 2:17.09

Katie Shanahan got a bit closer to winning her second IM gold medal of the meet with her 2:14.06 200 IM t0 lead the women’s semi-finals. Shanahan was a bit quicker than she was during prelims where she was a 2:16.77.

Viktoriia Starostina was also a bit faster during the semis with a 2:15.38 compared to her 2:16.96 in the heats. While she improved time-wise, Starostina fell from 2nd seed in the prelims to 3rd here as Spain’s Emma Carrasco Cadens notched a 2:15.34 for 2nd seed. That was a solid drop from Cadens’ 2:17.27 morning swim.

Starostina’s fellow Russian Anastasiia Sorokina was right behind her with a 2:15.47 for 4th overall and Sweden’s Lisa Nystrand moved into the 5th place position with a 2:15.60.


  • World Junior Record: 50.62 – Kristof Milak, HUN (2017)
  • European Junior Record: 50.62 – Kristof Milak, HUN (2017)
  • European Junior Championship Record: 51.35 – Egor Kuimov, RUS (2017)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Andrei Minakov (RUS)
  1. Josif Miladinov (BUL), 52.00
  2. Diogo Matos Ribeiro (POR), 52.54
  3. Edward Mildred (GBR), 52.72

Josif Miladinov managed to pull off the win in the men’s 100 butterfly but didn’t quite reach full form hitting a 52.00 to take gold. That swim for him was faster than the 53.29 he hit in the prelims but was a bit off the 51.86 he hit on day 3 in the semi-finals.

Miladinov also trailed his own PB and Bulgarian record in the event of 50.93 which he swam at the 2021 European Swimming Championships. There, he delivered a national record-breaking swim to take silver behind Kristof Milak’s winning 50.18.

Miladinov has now collected his second gold medal of the meet, adding to his 50 fly victory earlier on where he hit a 23.59 to just miss his 2019 Bulgarian record of 23.48.

Diogo Matos Ribeiro hit a 52.54 for the silver medal here which got him within striking distance of the 52.42 Portuguese record set by Diogo Carvalho back in 2009. 100 freestyle silver medalist Edward Mildred of Great Britain won another medal here with a 52.72 for bronze.


  • World Junior Record: 2:19.64 – Viktoria Gunes, TUR (2015)
  • European Junior Record: 2:19.64 – Viktoria Gunes, TUR (2015)
  • European Junior Championship Record: 2:21.07 – Evgeniia Chikunova, RUS (2019)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Evgeniia Chikunova (RUS)
  1. Justine Delmas (FRA), 2:25.54
  2. Eneli Jefimova (EST), 2:28.01
  3. Elena Bogomolova (RUS), 2:28.24

While we weren’t sure if Justine Delmas would be racing after a positive COVID-19 test among the French swimmers earlier today, she was present in the final and swam her way to a Euro Jrs title. Delmas won the women’s 200 breaststroke here with a 2:25.54.

The swim for Delmas was a little slower than what she swam in the semi-finals when she lowered the French record to a 2:25.12. That record by Delmas took out Sophie De Ronchi’s 2:25.19 mark from back in 2009.

Joining Delmas on the podium was Estonian record holder Eneli Jefimova who notched a 2:28.01 for the silver medal. Jefimova’s swim was also a bit slower than her semi-finals swim where she swam a 2:27.57. Her PB in the event and the Estonian record sits at a 2:26.88 which she hit in April 2021.

Continuing the trend of swimming slower in the finals than in the semis, Russia’s Elena Bogomolova was a 2:28.24 for bronze compared to the 2:27.57 she hit a day before.

The German duo of Nele Schulze and Kellie Messel engaged in a solid raced for 4th place with Schulze coming out on top in a 2:29.72 while Messel was a 2:30.10 for 5th.


  • World Junior Record: 24.00 – Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS (2018)
  • European Junior Record: 24.00 – Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS (2018)
  • European Junior Championship Record: 24.52 – Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS (2018)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Thomas Ceccon (ITA)
  1. Aleksei Tkachev (RUS), 25.14
  2. Ksawery Masiuk (POL), 25.28
  3. Anastasios Kougkoulos (GRE), 25.63

Russian Aleksei Tkachev took another tenth off his best time set in the semis to win the men’s 50 backstroke in 25.14, edging out Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk. This is Tkachev’s third medal of the meet after claiming bronze in the 100 back and adding a relay gold in the mixed 4×100 medley.

Masiuk, the 100 back champion, touched in 25.28 for silver, slightly off of both his best time (25.05) and his semi-final performance (25.21).

Greece’s Anastasios Kougkoulos downed his personal best for a third straight time here in Rome to take the bronze, clocking 25.63. Kougkoulos entered the meet having never broken 26 seconds, but has now done so three times (25.95 prelims, 25.72 semis).


  • World Junior Record: 25.46 – Rikako Ikee, JPN (2017)
  • European Junior Record: 25.66 – Target Time
  • European Junior Championship Record: 26.21 – Naele Portecop, FRA (2019)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Anastasiya Shkurdai (BLR)
  1. Daria Klepikova (RUS), 26.27
  2. Lana Pudar (BIH), 26.46
  3. Roos Vanotterdijk (BEL), 26.57
  4. Daria Tatarinova (RUS), 26.58
  5. Julia Ullmann (SUI), 27.01
  6. Isabelle Goodwin (GBR), 27.05
  7. Mariana Pacheco Cunha (POR), 27.10
  8. Maryam Sheikhalizadehjhanghah (AZE), 27.12

16-year-old Russian Daria Klepikova topped the second semi of the women’s 50 fly to qualify first for the final in a time of 26.27, improving on her 26.60 from the prelims while falling just shy of the Championship Record (26.21) set in 2019.

Klepikova owns a best of 25.98 set at the Russian Championships in April.

Lana Pudar breaks the Bosnian and Herzegovinian National Record for the second time today, winning Semi 1 in 26.46 to erase her 26.70 from the heats. Pudar, 15, entered the meet with a best of 27.05.


  • World Junior Record: 1:55.43 – Junxuan Yang, CHN (2019)
  • European Junior Record: 1:56.78 – Target Time
  • European Junior Championship Record: 1:57.51 – Isabel Gose, GER (2019)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Isabel Gose (GER)
  1. Nikoletta Padar (HUN), 1:59.38
  2. Tamryn Van Selm (GBR), 1:59.50
  3. Beril Boecekler (TUR), 1:59.73

In a hotly-contested four-way battle, 15-year-old Hungarian Nikoletta Padar had the finishing kick to get the job done and win the women’s 200 freestyle in a time of 1:59.38.

Padar, who set a best time of 1:59.22 in May, sat back in fourth at the 150, almost a half-second back of leader Tamryn Van Selm, but roared home in 29.67 to book the win in 1:59.38.

Great Britain’s Van Selm was just over a tenth back for silver in 1:59.50, slicing one one-hundredth off her best time set at the British Olympic Trials in April.

Turkey’s Beril Boecekler came home in 30.05 to edge out another 15-year-old Hungarian, Laura Veres, for the bronze in 1:59.73. Veres was 1:59.96 for fourth, having led the semis in a best time of 1:59.03.

800 free champion Merve Tuncel, Boecekler’s Turkish teammate, joined Padar with a sub-30 last 50 (29.97) to move up from seventh to fifth in 2:00.11.


  • World Junior Record: 27.49 – Minna Atherton, AUS (2016)
  • European Junior Record: 27.51 – Daria Vaskina, RUS (2019)
  • European Junior Championship Record: 27.82 – Daria Vaskina, RUS (2019)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Daria Vaskina (RUS)
  1. Nina Stanisavljevic (SRB), 28.54
  2. Aleksandra Kurilkina (RUS), 28.68
  3. Carmen Weiler Sastre (ESP), 28.70
  4. Malika Gobet (SUI), 28.79
  5. Erika Gaetani (ITA), 28.86
  6. Lina Kroeger (GER), 28.90
  7. Elizaveta Chmykhova (RUS), 28.92
  8. Nika Sharafutdinova (UKR), 29.07

Serbia’s Nina Stanisavljevic paced the women’s 50 back semis in a time of 28.54, lowering her best time for the second time today after going 28.66 in the heats. Stanisavljevic, 17, came in with a PB of 28.78.

Ultimately seven swimmers broke 29 seconds in the semis, with Russia’s Aleksandra Kurilkina sitting second overall in 28.68. Kurilkina owns the fastest PB in the field at 28.44.

Italy’s Erika Gaetani, the gold medalist in the 100 back who owns a best time of 28.50 from the 2019 Euro Juniors, qualified fifth in 28.86.


  • World Junior Record: 2:09.39 – Qin Haiyang, CHN (2017)
  • European Junior Record: 2:09.64 – Target Time
  • European Junior Championship Record: 2:10.69 – Anton Chupkov, RUS (2015)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Aleksandr Zhigalov (RUS)
  1. Luka Mladenovic (AUT), 2:13.31
  2. Aleksas Savickas (LTU), 2:14.29
  3. Dmitrii Askhabov (RUS), 2:14.33
  4. Maksym Ovchinnikov (UKR), 2:15.04
  5. Maksym Tkachuk (UKR), 2:15.12
  6. Ivo Kroes (NED), 2:15.53
  7. Harvey Freeman (GBR), 2:15.70
  8. Simon Vavrin (CZE), 2:16.93

After squeaking into the semis with the 15th-fastest time in the prelims, Austrian Luka Mladenovic stepped things up in a big way in the men’s 200 breast, throwing down a 2:13.31 to qualify first for the final from out in Lane 8 in Semi-Final 2.

Mladenovic, 17, chops more than a second off his previous best of 2:14.55, set in April, after having gone 2:18.66 this morning.

The second semi produced the top-three times of the evening, with Lithuania’s 100 breast silver medalist Aleksas Savickas (2:14.29) and Russia’s Dmitrii Askhabov (2:14.33) qualifying second and third.

The other five swimmers advancing to the final came from the first semi-final, led by a pair of Makysms from Ukraine: Ovchinnikov (2:15.04) and Tkachuk (2:15.12).

The Ukrainians have won three medals in the men’s breaststroke events so far, Ovchinnikov and Tkachuk giving them an opportunity to add two more.


  • World Junior Record: 7:08.37 – United States (2019)
  • European Junior Record: 7:10.95 – Hungary (2017)
  • European Junior Championship Record: 7:15.46 – Hungary (2017)
  • 2019 European Junior Champion: Russia
  1. Russia, 7:21.06
  2. Germany, 7:21.63
  3. Italy, 7:22.40

In an exciting back-and-forth battle that saw lead changes after every exchange, the Russians ultimately managed to defend their title in the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay in a time of 7:21.06.

Poland’s Mateusz Chowaniec blew the doors off the swimmers on the lead-off leg, clocking 1:48.84 to mark the only swimmer sub-1:50 in the field (from a flat start).

The Italians, who sat second after a 1:50.32 opening split from Lorenzo Galossi, moved into the lead at the halfway mark thanks to a 1:50.36 leg from Davide Dalla Costa. However, Poland took the lead back heading into the anchor leg, but Russia made up a ton of ground and were less than a tenth back, with Italy, Germany and Turkey all within striking distance as well.

The top-four teams all had sub-1:50 closing splits, with Russia’s Vladislav Reznichenko (1:48.48) holding off Germany’s Timo Sorgius (1:48.20) for the victory by just over half a second.

Germany was 7:21.63 for silver, while Matteo Oppioli anchored in 1:49.20 to earn Italy the bronze (7:22.40) over Turkey (7:22.66). The Turks received a 1:49.33 anchor from Batuhan Filiz.

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2 years ago

Honestly I hope he doesn’t blast it out in sub 24 tomorrow. Control the first 50, slower than WR pace, maybe 50.5 at the 100 and see what he can bring it home in, can’t wait.

2 years ago

Hwang went 1:44

Last edited 2 years ago by Landen
2 years ago

You might have heard that Thorpe and Agnel recently said that today’s 200 freestylers are too conservative in their strategy (except Rapsys).
Well, this kid swam the first 100 in 50.70.

Reply to  Luigi
2 years ago

I just can’t see how that’s the case when Agnel went out in 50.64 to go 143.1, meaning he came home in 52.5. In all honesty my opinion is that the people swimming the 200free today don’t have enough left for the back half when everyone’s going out 51 low 50. High and coming home in 54. That’s a much larger fade than Thorpe, agnel, Phelps, beiderman, Pvdh, etc ever had.

2 years ago

Am surprised he went this fast in the semi instead of saving it all for the final but I guess he’s getting practice doing rounds for the big one in Tokyo.

2 years ago

Not an expert on 17 year old’s tapers, what does a 52.00 for Miladinov mean for his chances of a new PB in Tokyo in 3 weeks?

Scotty P
2 years ago

Maybe now that Biederman suit record has hopes of going down in the future. Nothing against Paul but………the whole suit thing.

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
2 years ago

1’43 in tokyo

Bobo Gigi
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
2 years ago

It’s not easy to go 1.43. 😆
And if he’s olympic champion in 1.44 mid I think he takes it.
At olympics times don’t matter. It’s all about winning medals and if possible winning gold medals.
Records are icing on the cake.
We rarely remember the times of the gold medal winners. But years or decades later we still remember the names of the winners and in certain cases the scenario of the races. Take the men’s 4X100 free relay in 2008. I don’t care about the world record that day. And I’m sure very few people cared about the time that day. What mattered was the amazing scenario and the fact that the US win… Read more »

Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Popovici can be the guy revitalizing the men’s 200 free. Since Agnel swimming 1.43.14 in 2012 it’s pretty boring. We’ll see if he can go under 1.43 in the next years.
1.42.00? I don’t believe it. Only a human genetically modified can break that crazy magical suit record.

Too bad 15-year-old MAM was not able to swim the 50 back prelims this morning. She would be the huge favorite for the gold at these championships. She swam 27.76 last month at French nationals.
France can still be happy with the gold of one of the Delmas twin sisters, Justine, in the women’s 200 breast. A French girl winning a breaststroke final at the international level, I think I… Read more »

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Sub 50 opening split is needed to break that 1.42.00

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

These youngsters are rising fast , who would have thought that Popivici will already go 47.3 a week ago at 16??

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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