2023 European Junior Championships: Day 3 Finals Live Recap


The day three finals session of the 2023 European Junior Championships in Belgrade is set to begin shortly. Tonight’s finals session will feature a heavy load of semifinals, including the girls 200 back, boys 50 free, girls 200 breast, boys 200 breast, boys 200 back, and boys 100 fly. As far as actual finals go for tonight, we have the boys 200 IM, girls 50 free, girls 100 fly, boys 1500 free, and girls 4×200 free relay.

In the boys 1500 free, keep an eye on Turkey’s Kuzey Tuncelli, who led prelims of the event yesterday morning with a 15:04.04. It was a strong prelims swim for the rising distance star, as his personal best stands at 14:56.67 from April of this year. He stands an excellent chance of taking down the European Junior Championship Record of 15:01.59 tonight.

Having won gold in the boys 50 back last night, Czechia’s Miroslav Knedla comes into tonight as the top seed in the boys 200 IM. He clocked the top time of the night in semifinals last night by a wide margin, speeding to a 2:00.57, which notably came shortly after his 50 back victory. With the boys 200 IM being the first boys event of the session tonight, Knedla will be fresher than he was yesterday, giving him a great shot at dipping under 2:00.

In the girls 100 fly final tonight, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Lana Pudar comes in as the top seed and the favorite. An elite 200 flyer at the senior level, Pudar clocked a 58.26 in semis of the 100 fly last night, leading the field by over a second. She likely still has more in the tank, as her career best stands at 57.27 in the event.

The girls 50 free final ought to be a great race tonight as well. Italy’s Sara Curtis led the pack through prelims and semifinals yesterday, posting a 25.22 in semis last night. Great Britain’s Skye Carter wasn’t far behind in semis, however, roaring to a 25.37 to grab the second seed for tonight’s final. It’s an incredible tight field, as first through eighth were separated by just 0.45 seconds last night.


  • World Junior Record: 2:03.35, Regan Smith (2019)
  • European Junior Record: 2:06.62
  • European Record: 2:04.94, Anastasia Fesikova (2009)
  • Championship Record: 2:08.97, Polina Egorova (2017)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Dora Molnar (Hungary), 2:10.31


  1. Dora Molnar (Hungary) – 2:11.40
  2. Holly McGill (Great Britain) – 2:12.79
  3. Estella Tonrath (Spain) – 2:12.88
  4. Lise Seidel (Germany) – 2:13.07
  5. Evie Dilley (Great Britain) – 2:13.14
  6. Kristine Nilsson Norby (Denmark) – 2:13.49
  7. Sudem Denizli (Turkey) – 2:13.59
  8. Manon Domingeon (France) – 2:13.77

Dora Molnar appears well-positioned to defend her title in this event tomorrow night as she was more than a second ahead of the field in tonight’s semifinals with a 2:11.40. The recently-turned-17-year-old Hungarian was about two seconds off her lifetime best of 2:09.34 from the Hungarian National Championships last April. Last year, Molnar captured the Euro Junior crown in the 200 back with a 2:10.31 while also claiming gold in the 100 back.

Great Britain’s Holly McGill (2:12.79) edged Spain’s Estella Tonrath (2:12.88) by less than a tenth of a second for the second qualifying spot for Friday’s final. At last year’s Euro Juniors, McGill posted a personal-best 2:12.67 in the semifinals before adding time in the final (2:13.77) en route to a fourth-place finish. Tonrath likely has more left in the tank as she was slightly slower than her 2:12.19 from this morning’s heats and a couple seconds off her personal-best 2:10.97 from February.


  • World Junior Record: 1:56.99, Hubert Kos (2021)
  • European Junior Record: 1:56.99, Hubert Kos (2021)
  • European Record: 1:55.18, Laszlo Cseh (2009)
  • Championship Record: 1:59.17, Tom Dean (2018)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Sanberk Yigit Oktar (Turkey), 2:00.68


Miroslav Knedla just missed breaking the two-minute barrier but took down his own Czech national record in the process, clocking a personal-best 2:00.26 to secure the boys’ 200 IM title. Coming into this meet, his lifetime best was a 2:01.28 from April, which he lowered to 2:00.57 in the semifinals last night on the back half of a 50 back double.

Italy’s Christian Mantegazza was about a second behind Knedla with a 2:01.10, four-tenths off his best time (2:00.70) from April. Great Britain’s Matthew Ward also set a new lifetime best with third-place finish in 2:01.17, taking almost a second off his previous-best 2:01.94 from the British World Championship Trials in April.


  • World Junior Record: 24.17, Claire Curzan (2021)
  • European Junior Record: 24.87, Daria Tatarinova (2021)
  • European Record: 23.67, Sarah Sjostrom (2017)
  • Championship Record: 24.87, Daria Tatarinova (2021)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Nina Jazy (Germany), 25.22


Sara Curtis separated from an extremely tight field in the semifinals with a 25.14, matching her lifetime best from the Italian National Championships in April, which earned her gold and a new 16-18 national age group record.

The 16-year-old Italian reached the wall more than two tenths ahead of Germany’s Nina Jazy (25.38), who won the Euro Junior title last year with a personal-best 25.22. Great Britain’s Skye Carter was just .03 seconds behind Sandrine for the silver medal with a 25.41.


  • World Junior Record: 21.75, Michael Andrew (2017)
  • European Junior Record: 21.83, Artem Selin (2019)
  • European Record: 20.94, Frederick Bousquet (2009)
  • Championship Record: 21.83, Artem Selin (2019)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: David Popovici (Romania), 22.16


  1. Lorenzo Ballarati (Italy) – 22.65
  2. Leo Verschooten (Belgium) – 22.79
  3. Davide Passafaro (Italy) – 22.84
  4. Szymon Misiak (Poland) – 22.87
  5. Petar Popovic (Serbia) – 22.91
  6. Patrick-Sebastian Dinu (Romania) – 23.09
  7. Jakub Jan Krischke (Czech Republic) – 23.12
  8. Falemana Lopez (France) – 23.14

This morning’s top qualifier, Italy’s Lorenzo Ballarati, remained the top seed heading into tomorrow night’s final with a personal-best 22.65. He shaved .07 seconds off his previous-best 22.72 from April.

Belgium’s Leo Verschooten also swam a new lifetime best in the semifinals, touching in 22.79 to take .03 seconds off his previous best from April.

Italy’s Davide Passafaro qualified third with a 22.84, less than a tenth off his personal-best 22.78 from April’s Italian National Championships. Poland’s Szymon Misiak was a tenth off his best time from last year’s Euro Juniors, where he placed sixth (22.77).


  • World Junior Record: 2:19.64, Viktoria Gunes (2015)
  • European Junior Record: 2:19.64, Viktoria Gunes (2015)
  • European Record: 2:17.55, Evgeniia Chikunova (2023)
  • Championship Record: 2:21.07, Evgeniia Chikunova (2019)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Eneli Jefimova (Estonia), 2:26.85


  1. Grace Palmer (Belgium) – 2:25.53
  2. Justine Delmas (France) – 2:26.91
  3. Eneli Jefimova (Estonia) – 2:27.39
  4. Olivia Ipsa Klint (Sweden) – 2:27.56
  5. Lena Ludwig (Germany) – 2:27.68
  6. Nayara Pineda Lopez (Spain) – 2:28.26
  7. Lisa Nystrand (Sweden) – 2:29.25
  8. Ellie McCartney (Ireland) – 2:29.43

Belgium’s Grace Palmer dropped nearly three seconds off her previous-best 2:28.41 from this morning’s prelims, tallying a winning time of 2:25.53 to beat the field by more than a second. The 17-year-old is just a couple seconds off the Belgian national record of 2:23.30 set by Fanny Lecluyse in 2021.

18-year-old Frenchwoman Justine Delmas earned the runner-up finish in 2:26.91, more than a second off her national-record 2:25.12 from the 2021 Euro Junior Championships. After winning this event last year in 2:26.85, Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova reached the wall third in 2:27.39.


  • World Junior Record: 2:08.83, Zhihao Dong (2023)
  • European Junior Record: 2:09.64
  • European Record: 2:06.12, Anton Chupkov (2019)
  • Championship Record: 2:10.69, Anton Chupkov (2015)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Lucien Vergnes (France), 2:13.02


  1. Steijn Louter (Netherlands) – 2:15.20
  2. Collin Van der Hoff (Netherlands) – 2:15.52
  3. Kenneth Bock (Germany) – 2:16.85
  4. Emilian Hollank (Germany) – 2:17.22
  5. Tommaso Grandini (Italy) – 2:17.33
  6. Rafael Miguel Mimoso (Portugal) – 2:17.43
  7. Lars Sebastian Antoniak (Estonia) – 2:17.49
  8. Finn Kemp (Luxembourg) – 2:17.87

Steijn Louter of the Netherlands will be the top seed in tomorrow night’s 200 breast finals after leading the semifinals with a 2:15.20 tonight. He was less than a second off his personal-best 2:14.43 from April.

His countryman, Collin Van der Hoff, continued dropping time to take the second qualifying spot in 2:15.52, just a few tenths behind Louter. Van der Hoff came into the meet with a best time of 2:17.29 that he lowered to 2:16.61 in this morning’s heats.

Germany snagged the next two qualifying spots courtesy of Kenneth Bock (2:16.85) and Emilian Hollank (2:17.22).


  • World Junior Record: 1:55.14, Kliment Kolesnikov (2017)
  • European Junior Record: 1:55.14, Kliment Kolesnikov (2017)
  • European Record: 1:53.23, Evgeny Rylov (2021)
  • Championship Record: 1:55.83, Kliment Kolesnikov (2018)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Ksawery Masiuk (Poland), 1:56.62


  1. Oleksandr Zheltyakov (Ukraine) – 1:56.49
  2. Merlin Ficher (France) – 1:58.45
  3. Apostolos Siskos (Greece) – 1:58.81
  4. John Shortt (Ireland) – 1:59.08
  5. Christian Bacico (Italy) – 1:59.28
  6. Daniele del Signore (Italy) – 1:59.74
  7. Alex Kovats (Hungary) – 1:59.86
  8. Aukan Nahuel Goldin (Israel) – 2:00.20

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zheltyakov registered a new national record with his top-seeded semifinal swim of 1:56.49, sneaking under the 1:57 mark for the first time. His previous best was a 1:57.18, which the 17-year-old recorded at both this year’s Stockholm Open and last year’s Hungarian Championships. Notably, Zheltyakov’s time tonight was faster than the winning time last year by rising Polish star Ksawery Masiuk (1:56.62).

France’s Merlin Ficher (1:58.45) and Greece’s Apostolos Siskos (1:58.81) also broke 1:59, but Ireland’s John Shortt couldn’t replicate his national-record 1:58.65 from prelims. That time reset the previous Irish record of 1:58.80 that Conor Ferguson notched in 2017.


  • World Junior Record: 56.43, Claire Curzan (2021)
  • European Junior Record: 56.46
  • European Record: 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom (2016)
  • Championship Record: 57.39, Anastasiya Shkurdai (2019)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Roos Vanotterdijk (Belgium), 57.85


  • GOLD: Lana Pudar (Bosnia-Herzegovina) – 56.95
  • SILVER: Martine Damborg (Denmark) – 58.35
  • BRONZE: Emmy Hallkvist (Sweden) – 59.50

Lana Pudar threw down a personal-best 56.95 to win the girls’ 100 fly final, dropping a few tenths off her previous-best 57.27 from the European Championships last August. In the process, the 17-year-old lowered her own Bosnian standard and, for context, would rank third in U.S. girls’ 17-18 national age group (NAG) rankings behind only Claire Curzan (56.35) and Torri Huske (55.66). Pudar also took nearly half a second off the previous Championship record of 57.39 posted by Anastasiya Shkurdai in 2019. Only eight women in the world have broken 57 seconds so far this season.

Denmark’s Martine Damborg (58.35) and Sweden’s Emmy Hallkvist (59.50) rounded out the podium.


  • World Junior Record: 50.62, Kristof Milak (2017)
  • European Junior Record: 50.62, Kristof Milak (2017)
  • European Record: 49.68, Kristof Milak (2021)
  • Championship Record: 51.35, Egor Kuimov (2017)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Dnaiel Gracik (Czech Republic), 52.69


  1. Casper Puggaard (Denmark) – 52.70
  2. Lukas Edl (Austria) – 53.36
  3. Ethan Dumesnil (France) – 53.54
  4. Daniele Momoni (Italy) – 53.66
  5. Ivan Harbarchuk (Ukraine) – 53.72
  6. Maro Miknic (Croatia) – 54.17
  7. Viktor Hristov (Bulgaria) – 54.22
  8. Zoltan Bagi (Hungary) – 54.31

The top-ranked sprint butterfly specialist at this meet, Casper Puggaard dominated the semifinals by more than half a second with a 52.70. The 18-year-old Dane likely has more left in the tank, too, as his personal-best time stands at 52.41 from Danish Open in April. He’s not far from the Danish record of 52.09, a super-suited mark set by Auburn grad Jakob Andkjaer back in April of 2009.

Austria’s Lukas Edl, France’s Ethan Dumesnil (53.54), Italy’s Daniele Momoni (53.66), and Ukraine’s Ivan Harbarchuk also broke 54 seconds in the semifinals to establish themselves as podium contenders for tomorrow night’s final.


  • World Junior Record: 14:46.09, Franko Grgic (2019)
  • European Junior Record: 14:46.09, Franko Grgic (2019)
  • European Record: 14:32.80, Gregorio Paltrinieri (2022)
  • Championship Record: 15:01.59, Kirill Martynychev (2019)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Vlad Stancu (Romania), 15:05.47


  • GOLD: Kuzey Tuncelli (Turkey) – 14:58.89
  • SILVER: Vlad Stancu (Romania) – 15:00.51
  • BRONZE: Emir Batur Albayrak (Turkey) – 15:00.57

The boys’ 1500 free final produced some blazing fast times, with the top three finishers all reaching the wall under the previous Championship record (15:01.59) and Paris 2024 Olympic ‘A’ cut (15:00.99).

Kuzey Tuncelli was the only swimmer to break 15 minutes, touching just a couple seconds behind his personal best with a 14:58.89. The rising Turkish star became the fastest 15-and-under swimmer ever in the 1500 free by nearly 10 seconds with a national-record 14:56.67 in April.

Romania’s Vlad Stancu clocked a personal-best 15:00.51, shaving nearly five seconds off his winning time from last year, but it wasn’t enough to earn him back-to-back titles in this event. In the process, though, he did lower his own Romanian national record of 15:05.47 from last July. Stancu edged Turkey’s Emir Batur Elbayrak by just .06 seconds in the battle for silver. Elbayrak’s time of 15:00.57 shaved nearly nine seconds off his previous-best 15:09.40 from prelims.


  • World Junior Record: 7:51.47, Canada (2017)
  • European Junior Record: 7:57.33, Russia (2017)
  • European Record: 7:45.51, Great Britain (2009)
  • Championship Record: 7:58.99, Hungary (2017)
  • 2022 European Junior Champion: Hungary, 7:59.04


  • GOLD: Hungary – 8:00.25
  • SILVER: Italy – 8:03.22
  • BRONZE: France – 8:05.62

Nikolett Padar led off Hungary’s victorious quartet with a 1:58.95 — the fastest split in the field, flat-start or swinging — to set the tone for the squad’s win in 8:00.25. Padar came in with a best time of 1:57.80, with the Olympic ‘A’ cut not far away at 1:57.26. Lili Gyurinovics (2:00.91), Dora Molnar (2:00.90), and Lilla Minna Abraham (1:59.49) rounded out Hungary’s gold-medal-winning quartet.

Hungary finished almost a full three seconds ahead of Italy (8:03.22), which had Matilde Biagiotti (2:00.63), Emma Vittoria Giannelli (2:01.42), Giulia Zambelli (2:01.90), Giulia Vetrano (1:59.27).

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4 months ago

It is Czech national record for Miroslav Knedla too. Great time.

Swimmy Jimmy
4 months ago

Interesting but no DQ’s during any of the breaststroke events at this meet.

4 months ago

This may be a dumb question but where do the Ukrainians train? Is there a pool that is on the extreme western border that is considered safe? They surely are not safe in Kyiv. Can Zheltyakov train in another country out of an abundance of caution?

Reply to  Chris
4 months ago

I don’t have a specific answer for any one athlete, but most Ukrainian athletes are being hosted abroad right now.

4 months ago

Pudar & Padar.

Lots of potential and lots of confusion incoming.

4 months ago

Queen Emmy Hällkvist 🙌🔱

4 months ago

Looks like you missed Patrick Dinu, Princeton commit, who finished 6th in the 50 with a 23.09.

4 months ago

Passafaro has a PB of 22.78 from April nationals

4 months ago

Looking forward to Pudar’s 200 fly.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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