2023 LEN U23 Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The first finals session of the LEN U23 Championships is set to get underway from Dublin, with 12 events on the docket as the first-ever U23 European champions will be crowned in the event’s inaugural edition.

The competition features swimmers from the United States and South Africa in addition to the European nations, with the U.S. claiming six top seeds in this morning’s prelims, including in the mixed medley relay.

South Africa’s Matt Sates, who was the fourth-fastest swimmer this morning in the men’s 200 freestyle (1:47.98), is not in the final as only two non-Europeans are eligible in each final.

The American team saw Gabriel Jett pace the men’s 100 fly in a new lifetime best of 51.53, while Patrick Sammon (1:46.91) and Aaron Shackell (1:47.07) sit 1-2 in the men’s 200 free.

On the women’s side, Emma Sticklen (100 fly), Isabelle Stadden (50 back) and Justina Kozan (200 IM) will occupy Lane 4 in their respective events tonight, while the U.S. quartet of Stadden, Kaitlyn Dobler, Jett and Sammon earned them the top seed in the mixed medley relay after combining for a time of 3:46.39 in the heats.

Among the European swimmers, 19-year-old Italian Anita Bottazzo leads Ireland’s Mona McSharry and Dobler in the women’s 50 breast, while Slovenian Janja Segel heads up the women’s 200 free and Germany’s Isabel Gose is the top seed in the timed final of the 800 free.

The Dublin crowd will certainly pop in the men’s 1500 free, where Daniel Wiffen comes in as the top seed by 11 seconds, while Great Britain’s Charlie Brown (200 back) and the Netherlands’ Koen De Groot (50 breast) led their respective events this morning.

Another swimmer sure to get plenty of local support is Ellen Walshe, the Irish Olympian who had a standout freshman year at the University of Tennessee in 2021-22. Walshe will take on a double tonight, coming in as the #2 seed in both the women’s 100 fly and 200 IM.

The event will be streamed live on the LEN YouTube channel, which you can watch below:



  • World Record: 29.16, Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 2023
  • World Junior Record: 29.30, Benedetta Pilato (ITA) – 2021
  • European Record: 29.16, Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 2023
  • European Junior Record: 29.30, Benedetta Pilato (ITA) – 2021
  1. Mona McSharry (IRL), 30.37
  2. Anita Bottazzo (ITA), 30.59
  3. Kaitlyn Dobler (USA) / Silje Slyngstadli (NOR), 30.91

The first-ever U23 European champion is Mona McSharry, as the Irish native gave the home crowd an early thrill by claiming the women’s 50 breaststroke in a time of 30.37, just eight one-hundredths shy of her National Record.

McSharry set the National Record of 30.29 at the Irish Championships in April.

Italian Anita Bottazzo picked up the silver medal in 30.59 after nearing her lifetime best with a 30.08 showing in the prelims, while American Kaitlyn Dobler tied with Norwegian Silje Rongevær Slyngstadli for bronze in 30.91


  • World Record: 1:51.92, Aaron Peirsol (USA) – 2009
  • World Junior Record: 1:55.14, Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 2017
  • European Record: 1:53.23, Evgeny Rylov (RUS) – 2021
  • European Junior Record: 1:55.14, Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 2017
  1. Hunter Tapp (USA), 1:56.45
  2. Pieter Coetze (RSA), 1:57.05
  3. Kai Van Westering (NED), 1:57.86

Hunter Tapp picks up the first gold medal for the United States at the competition—though the non-European swimmers are receiving “commemorative” medals—as he won the men’s 200 backstroke in a time of 1:56.45.

The swim marks a new personal best for Tapp, who had previously been 1:56.76 at the 2021 Olympic Trials. His fastest swim this season came in at 1:57.00, which he clocked at U.S. Nationals in late June.

South Africa’s Pieter Coetze was the runner-up in 1:57.05, having been slightly out-split by Tapp on the final three 50s after he was the early leader at the opening wall.

Coetze owns a PB of 1:56.05, set at the 2022 World Junior Championships where he was the gold medalist.

Kai Van Westering, who appears to be representing the Netherlands for the first time having grown up in France and trained in the U.S., won bronze and the official European U23 title in 1:57.86, closing in 29.60 to run down Great Britain’s Charlie Brown (1:58.05).

Van Westering’s time lowers his previous best of 1:59.13 set in June.


  • World Record: 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 2016
  • World Junior Record: 56.43, Claire Curzan (USA) – 2021
  • European Record: 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 2016
  • European Junior Record: 56.46, Target Time
  1. Keanna MacInnes (GBR), 58.48
  2. Ellen Walshe (IRL), 58.70
  3. Emma Sticklen (USA), 58.76

Great Britain’s Keanna MacInnes used her early speed to ultimately claim gold in the women’s 100 fly, leading the field at the halfway mark in 27.40 before holding off Ireland’s Ellen Walshe down the stretch to touch first in 58.48.

MacInnes, who will turn 22 next week, owns a personal best of 57.97 set in April.

Walshe was seventh after 50 meters in 28.30, but charged home in 30.40 to nearly run down MacInnes and claim silver in 58.70. The 21-year-old Walshe set a new Irish Record of 57.96 in April.

American Emma Sticklen was the bronze medalist in 58.76, fending off Portugal’s Mariana Pacheco Cunha (58.87) and Poland’s Julia Maik (58.95) down the stretch.

Sticklen owns a PB of 58.17, set just two weeks ago at the U.S. Pro Championships, while Pacheco Cunha lowers her previous best of 59.36 (2022) and Maik slices .04 off her old PB set in June.


  • World Record: 1:42.00, Paul Biedermann (GER) – 2009
  • World Junior Record: 1:42.97, David Popovici (ROU) – 2022
  • European Record: 1:42.00, Paul Biedermann (GER) – 2009
  • European Junior Record: 1:42.97, David Popovici (ROU) – 2022
  1. Dimitrios Markos (GRE), 1:46.65
  2. Patrick Sammon (USA), 1:47.27
  3. Aaron Shackell (USA), 1:47.35

Greece’s Dimitrios Markos came home like a freight train to claim the U23 European title in the men’s 200 freestyle, splitting sub-27 on both 50s on the back half to finish in a time of 1:46.65, lowering the Greek Record of 1:46.94 set by Andreas Vazaios last year.

Markos turned seventh at the 100 in 52.97, but moved up to second at the final turn with a 26.99 third length, and then stormed home in 26.69 to solidify the victory. The 21-year-old’s previous best time stood at 1:47.12 from the 2022 European Championships.

The American duo of Patrick Sammon and Aaron Shackell sat 1-2 at the halfway mark, and Sammon maintained the lead through the final turn before he was overtaken by Markos.

Sammon held onto silver in 1:47.27, the second-fastest swim of his career behind his 1:46.83 PB set at U.S. Nationals, while Shackell picked up bronze in 1:47.35, just six one-hundredths shy of his best time.

France’s Yann Le Goff (1:47.85) and Israel’s Eytan Ben Shitrit (1:48.01) were the European silver and bronze medalists, placing fourth and fifth overall respectively.


  • World Record: 8:04.79, Katie Ledecky (USA) – 2016
  • World Junior Record: 8:11.00, Katie Ledecky (USA) – 2014
  • European Record: 8:14.10, Rebecca Adlington (GBR) – 2008
  • European Junior Record: 8:21.91, Merve Tuncel (TUR) – 2021
  1. Isabel Gose (GER), 8:20.80
  2. Leonie Maertens (GER), 8:29.66
  3. Paige McKenna (USA), 8:36.60

To no one’s surprise, reigning European Championship silver medalist Isabel Gose cruised to victory in the women’s 800 freestyle in a time of 8:20.80, leading a German 1-2 with teammate Leonie Maertens.

Gose’s time marks the third-fastest of her career, with all three having come this year, as she set a new PB of 8:17.95 last month at the World Championships where she finished fifth.

Maertens, 19, breaks 8:30 for the first time in her career, clocking 8:29.66 to undercut his previous best of 8:31.47 set last month in Berlin.

American Paige McKenna was third for the “ceremonial” bronze in 8:36.60, dipping under her personal best of 8:37.20 set at U.S. Nationals in June, while Great Britain’s Fleur Lewis (8:39.11) was fourth overall to earn the European bronze medal. Lewis’ swim marked her first sub-8:40, having clocked 8:40.14 in April at the British Championships.

Lewis’ time narrowly edged out the 8:39.16 produced by a third German, Celine Rieder, in the early heat this morning.


  • World Record: 26.98, Liu Xiang (CHN) – 2018
  • World Junior Record: 27.49, Minna Atherton (AUS) – 2016
  • European Record: 27.10, Kira Toussaint (NED) – 2021
  • European Junior Record: 27.51, Daria Vaskina (RUS) – 2019
  1. Tessa Giele (NED), 27.86
  2. Isabelle Stadden (USA), 27.98
  3. Adela Piskorska (POL), 28.25

Tessa Giele stunned the field by claiming gold in the women’s 50 backstroke from way out in Lane 7, firing off a time of 27.86 to match her lifetime best set last year.

Giele, 20, mentioned in her post-race interview that she doesn’t focus on backstroke in training, with her primary objectives typically lying with the 50/100 free and 100 fly.

In the prelims, she was more than a second slower in 29.07.

American Isabelle Stadden was the big favorite coming into the final after leading the prelims by more than four-tenths in 28.09, but she falls one spot to silver in 27.98, her sixth career swim sub-28. The 20-year-old recently set a PB of 27.64 in June.

Poland’s Adela Piskorska touched third in 28.25, shy of her PB (27.88) set in May, while France’s Bertille Cousson (28.82) wins the Euro bronze medal after taking fourth overall.


  • World Record: 25.95, Adam Peaty (GBR) – 2017
  • World Junior Record: 26.97, Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA) – 2017
  • European Record: 25.95, Adam Peaty (GBR) – 2017
  • European Junior Record: 26.97, Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA) – 2017
  1. Simone Cerasuolo (ITA), 26.94
  2. Koen De Groot (NED), 27.03
  3. Archie Goodburn (GBR), 27.44

Italian Simone Cerasuolo used his quick stroke rate to solidify victory in the men’s 50 breaststroke, getting under 27 seconds for the 11th time in his career in 26.94.

The 20-year-old owns a lifetime best of 26.76, set in June at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome.

Dutchman Koen De Groot, who was the top seed coming out of the heats, earned silver in 27.03 to set a new personal best after coming in with a 27.16 from April.

It was Great Britain’s Archie Goodburn rounding out the podium with bronze in 27.44, while American Mitch Mason was fourth in 27.54. Goodburn owns a PB of 27.19, while Mason’s stands at 27.38.


  • World Record: 1:52.85, Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS) – 2023
  • World Junior Record: 1:53.65, Summer McIntosh (CAN) – 2023
  • European Record: 1:52.98, Federica Pellegrini (ITA) – 2009
  • European Junior Record: 1:56.55, Nikoletta Padar (HUN) – 2023
  1. Lucie Tessariol (FRA), 1:58.42
  2. Francisca Soares Martins (POR), 1:58.60
  3. Janja Segel (SLO), 1:58.66

In a wild race that was anyone’s with 15 meters to go, France’s Lucie Tessariol emerged in the women’s 200 freestyle, earning gold after a blistering final 50.

Tessariol, 19, came home in 29.53 to move up from third at the 150 and touch first in 1:58.42, improving on her personal best of 1:58.93 set in June.

Portugal’s Francisca Soares Martins was the leader throughout the majority of the race but was edged out by Tessariol at the touch, earning silver in 1:58.60, just five one-hundredths shy of her PB set in June.

Slovenian Janja Segel, the big favorite after making the semis at the World Championships last month, made a charge on the last 50 alongside Tessariol with a 29.85 split, but ultimately settled for bronze in 1:58.66.

Segel owns a PB of 1:56.68 from the 2022 Mediterranean Games.


  • World Record: 49.45, Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 2021
  • World Junior Record: 50.62, Kristof Milak (HUN) – 2017
  • European Record: 49.68, Kristof Milak (HUN) – 2021
  • European Junior Record: 50.62, Kristof Milak (HUN) – 2017
  1. Gabriel Jett (USA), 51.65
  2. Simon Bucher (AUT), 51.69
  3. Jakub Majerski (POL), 51.70

In another razor-thin race, American Gabriel Jett comes away with the title in the men’s 100 fly as the top three swimmers were separated by just five one-hundredths of a second.

Jett, who set a PB of 51.53 in the prelims, had the second-fastest closing 50 (27.38) to edge out Austrian Simon Bucher (51.69) for gold in 51.65, with Bucher having led the way throughout after opening in 24.11.

Poland’s Jakub Majerski was the biggest mover over the last 50, as he turned in a tie for sixth in 24.48 but closed in 27.22 to earn bronze (and the European silver) in 51.70.

Bucher owns a best of 51.18, set last year’s World Championships, while Majerski has been as fast as 50.92, done at the Tokyo Olympics where he tied for fifth.

Great Britain’s Edward Mildred made it four swimmers sub-52 in the final, producing the second-fastest swim of his career at 51.93 for fourth.


  • World Record: 2:06.12, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2015
  • World Junior Record: 2:06.89, Summer McIntosh (CAN) – 2023
  • European Record: 2:06.12, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2015
  • European Junior Record: 2:11.03, Target Time
  1. Justina Kozan (USA), 2:12.98
  2. Ellen Walshe (IRL), 2:13.12
  3. Hanna Bergman (SWE), 2:15.12

After Ellen Walshe appeared to be firmly in control of the women’s 200 IM, American Justina Kozan absolutely rocketed home over the final 50 meters to touch first in 2:12.98, inching out Walshe by 15 one-hundredths.

Kozan, who closed more than two seconds faster than anyone else in the field in 29.38, swims the sixth-fastest time of her career and her fastest of the season, having been 2:13.23 at U.S. Nationals. Her PB stands at 2:11.55 from 2019 when she won the World Junior title.

Kozan was notably sixth at the final turn, though the top seven swimmers were all bunched up about 2-2.5 seconds behind Walshe.

Walshe, who was the runner-up in the 100 fly earlier, touched second in 2:13.12 for second overall and the official European U23 title, having set a new Irish Record of 2:10.92 last month at the World Championships.

Sweden’s Hanna Bergman rounded out the top three in 2:15.12, moving up from ninth at the halfway mark to inch out her previous best of 2:15.28.


  • World Record: 14:31.02, Sun Yang (CHN) – 2012
  • World Junior Record: 14:46.09, Franko Grgic (CRO) – 2019
  • European Record: 14:32.80, Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) – 2022
  • European Junior Record: 14:46.09, Franko Grgic (CRO) – 2019
  1. Daniel Wiffen (IRL), 14:35.79
  2. Sven Schwarz (GER), 14:43.53
  3. Luca de Tullio (ITA), 14:54.31

Daniel Wiffen set an absolutely torrid pace in the men’s 1500 free, sitting under world record pace early on and with about 300 meters to go, he was still under the pace he set en route to clocking one of the fastest swims in history, 14:34.91, back in April.

The Irishman slowed just a touch down the stretch, ultimately touching in a time of 14:35.79 to mark the second-fastest swim of his career and the 13th-fastest in history. It’s also more than seven seconds faster than he was at the World Championships last month, where he placed fourth in 14:43.01.

Wiffen, who said in his post-race interview that he didn’t know how fast he was going and that he actually felt slow, was out in a blistering 7:44.94 at the 800.

The runner-up was Germany’s Sven Schwarz, who didn’t let Wiffen get too far away and crushed his previous best time by nearly six seconds in 14:43.53, moving up to 18th all-time in the event.

Schwarz did not race the event at the World Championships due to the presence of Florian Wellbrock and Lukas Maertens.

Luca de Tullio, the younger brother of Marco de Tullio, rounded out the podium in 14:54.31 to give Italy a bronze medal, lowering his PB of 14:57.68 set in Fukuoka.

Germany’s Oliver Klemet was projected to be a factor coming in with an entry time of 14:45.89, but he was well off the pace and took fourth in 15:07.08.


  • World Record: 3:37.58, Great Britain – 2021
  • World Junior Record: 3:44.84, United States – 2019
  • European Record: 3:37.58, Great Britain – 2021
  • European Junior Record: 3:47.99, Russia – 2018
  1. United States, 3:45.99
  2. Poland, 3:46.68
  3. Great Britain, 3:47.15

The United States came away with the victory in the mixed 400 medley after a lengthy review, as both France and Hungary were disqualified for early takeoffs.

The Americans had strong splits across the board, though they trailed early after going with the W/M/M/W approach, compared to the majority of the teams leading off with two men.

Isabelle Stadden led off in 59.78 on backstroke, and she was followed by Mitch Mason (59.85), Gabriel Jett (51.64) and Grace Cooper (54.72). Jett dove in well back of the leaders but put the team in front before Cooper finished things off.

Poland (3:46.68) emerged ahead of Great Britain (3:47.15) in a tight race for second, having used the same strategy as the U.S. Jan Kalusowski (59.79) and Jakub Majerski (51.52) out-split Mason and Jett for Poland over the middle 200.

The British team had an impressive lead-off from Jonathon Adam (53.45), and had a quick fly leg from Keanna MacInnes (58.45), who won the individual event earlier in the session.

Another noteworthy split came from Dutch anchor Sean Niewold in 48.54, while Ron Polonsky was sub-1:00 on breast (59.89) for Israel, which finished fourth in 3:49.81.

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3 months ago

Seperate U23 swimming championships are total nonsense.
Cycling right now – Elite + U23 +juniors all in the same venue on the same week.

U23 swimming must be held together with U20s.

Same prelims, but just one finals (no semis) for the U23s.

Juniors continue as usual with semis and finals.

There is no call for this scattering of events, that ends up in loss of concerted public interests, and more costs.

Its ridiculous.

3 months ago

Off topic, Japanese Olympic champions Rie Kaneto and Kyoko Iwasaki visited A-bomb Cenotaph in Hiroshima and laid flowers. https://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/articles/-/346338

Former Big10
3 months ago

German distance training camps must be insane

3 months ago

Is Kozan the only american to drop from prelims?

3 months ago

I think having non-European teams like TEAM USA is really a win-win for the Europeans, too. On the one hand, the added level of competition serves everyone involved, USA and European swimmers in equal measure. YET, this is the U23 European Champions, so NO team is going to get denied a medal if they deserve it as a EU team.
I don’t know who came up with the idea, but it’s totally working. So many smiles from all competitors and LOADS of international experience.

Martin McEvoy
3 months ago

I reckon the slightly lo-key nature of the meet adds to that rather clever – dare I say it, rather Irish (nb I’m Irish) solution. It has a nice end-of-season hit out quality to it, the American guests seem to be thoroughly enjoying it – treating it (rightly) as a nice high level age grade invitational meet – the EuroOpen U23, if you like, and meddling accordingly, while meanwhile the EU23 continental champs element still plays out perfectly well.

3 months ago

Has Kozan been training with USC or Mission viejo this summer? looks much better than the NCAA season

Reply to  klorn8d
3 months ago

Trojan with Dobler

3 months ago

The USA brought a small team, but they’re performing quite well so far. Still not sure why LEN bothered to invite non-European countries if they can’t actually medal though

Reply to  chickenlamp
3 months ago

Yeah like, it’s stupid and kind of insulting (saying it as a European).

Reply to  snailSpace
3 months ago

In Australia we commonly have “visitor” medals and “National” medals. It adds competition.

Last edited 3 months ago by Joel
Martin McEvoy
Reply to  Joel
3 months ago

Exactly – lots of sports do it, and if everyone knows how it works, it actually suits everyone

Reply to  snailSpace
3 months ago

hopefully the athletes knew that going in. It is a great racing opportunity and a trip to Europe, so still plenty of benefits even if they can’t medal

3 months ago

Wiffen, wow

Lap Counter
Reply to  Caleb
3 months ago

1500 best event of the day!
What is going on with Sates?

Reply to  Caleb
3 months ago

on track for sub 15:30 next year in Olympics!

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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