2023 European Junior Championships Day 3 Prelims: Dora Molnar Stakes Claim On 200 Back


We’re already into day three of the 2023 European Junior Swimming Championships with Hungary having captured three gold medals during last night’s finals.

The nation will try to continue its momentum, starting with the girls’ 200m backstroke. In this morning’s heats, it was 16-year-old Dora Molnar who captured the top seed, clocking an AM swim of 2:12.19. Spain’s Estella Tonrath was right behind with a 2nd-seeded effort of 2:12.72 to make it a potentially close race during tonight’s semi-final.

Tonrath owns a lifetime best of 2:10.97 in this 2back, a time she registered this past February while Molnar has been as quick as 2:09.34 from the 2022 Hungarian Nationals.

Molnar was the 200m backstroke gold medalist at the 2022 edition of this competition, topping the podium in Romania at 2:10.31. She also claimed gold in the 100m backstroke last year.

Denmark’s rising butterfly star Casper Puggaard staked his claim in the 100m fly, punching the sole time of the morning heats under the 53-second threshold.

One of our ‘top 5 boys to watch’ at this competition, 18-year-old Puggaard produced a time of 52.81 to land lane 4 for this evening’s semi-final. That holds a comfortable lead over Ukraine’s Ivan Harbarchuk who clocked 53.64 while Austria’s Lukas Edl put his hat in the ring with a heats swim of 53.68.

Puggaard claimed silver in this 1fly event last year in Romania while he has since lowered his lifetime best to a rapid 52.41 from April’s Danish Open.

Ireland’s national champion John Shortt, just 16 years of age, put up a strong showing in the 200m back this morning. The teen clocked a mark of 1:58.65 as the only competitor to get under 1:59.00.

Behind him was Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zheltyakov who notched 1:59.68 for a casual 2nd seed.

Zheltyakov already took silver in the 50m back last night and was the silver medalist in this 2back event last year in Romania so he’ll look to upgrade to gold this time around. Hungary’s Alex Kovats and Greece’s Apostolos Siskos lurk in the field as well.

Of note, Great Britain’s Matthew Wardlast night’s bronze medalist in the 50m back, was a no-show.

As a testament to how tightly packed the boys’ 50m freestyle field is, we saw two ties among the top 8 finishers out of the heats.

Italy’s Lorenzo Ballarati posted the swiftest mark of the morning, touching in 22.81. That got the edge over Poland’s Symon Misiak who notched 22.89 as the next swimmer under 23 seconds.

The first tie came for the 3rd seed where Frenchman Alexandre Chalendar and Italian Davide Passafaro both hit a time of 22.93. Then Boldizar Magda of Hungary and Patrick-Sebastian Dinu of Romania both posted 23.03 to identically make it into the sure-to-be-rapid semi-final this evening.

Additional Top Seeds

  • Belgium’s Grace Palmer led the girls’ 200m breast prelims in a time of 2:28.41, but Germany’s Lena Ludwig is immediately behind in 2:28.43. Estonia’s 50m breaststroke champion here and last year’s 200m breast gold medalist, Eneli Jefimova, lurks as the 3rd seed in 2:28.71 while the runner-up from Romania Justine Delmas of France hit 2:29.05 this morning.
  • The Dutch secured the top 2 spots in the boys’ 200m breaststroke through the prelims. Stejin Louter leads the way in 2:15.30 and his teammate Collin Van der Hoff snagged the 2nd seed in 2:16.61. It took at time of 2:13.02 to grab the told at the 2022 edition of this competition.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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