2023 LEN U23 Championships Day 2 Finals Live Recap



The second finals session of the inaugural LEN U23 Swimming Championships is upon us with a thrilling lineup of events on the agenda this evening in Dublin, Ireland.

Among the races, we’ll see the likes of Daniel Wiffen of Ireland battle it out with World Junior Record holder Petar Mitsin of Bulgaria in the men’s 400m free. Backstrokers Miroslav Knedla (CZE), Jonathon Adam (GBR) and Pieter Coetze (RSA) will duke it out in the men’s 50m back.

Americans Kaitlyn Dobler and Isabelle Stadden will be in the mix, racing in their respective events of the women’s 100m breast and 100m back events, while teammate Grace Cooper will try to grab gold in the 50m free.

The first rounds of the freestyle skins events will wrap up the evening, with the additional rounds taking place tomorrow on the final night of the competition.

As a reminder, only European athletes earn gold, silver and bronze. Non-European finishers receive commemorative medals and are not technically on the podium.


  • World Record – 1:04.13 Lilly King (USA) 2017
  • World Junior Record – 1:04.35 Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 2013
  • European Record – 1:04.35 Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 2013
  • European Junior Record – 1:04.35 Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 2013

GOLD – Mona McSharry (IRL) 1:06.69
SILVER – Kaitlyn Dobler (USA) 1:06.70
BRONZE – Anita Bottazzo (ITA) 1:07.17

Bronze went to Clara Rybak-Andersen (DEN) – 1:08.12

The first event of this evening’s final was a doozy, with the gold and silver medalists separated by just .01.

It was Ireland’s Mona McSharry who got her hands there first, hitting 1:06.69 while American Kaitlyn Dobler was right behind in 1:06.70.

McSharry opened in 31.11 to Dobler’s 31.16 while the former closed in 35.58 to the latter’s 35.54 to capture the gold. Italy’s Anita Bottazzo rounded out the top 3 in 1:07.17.

McSharry of the University of Tennessee already took home the 50m breast victory last night so tonight marks her 2nd individual gold of this inaugural competition. Dobler upgraded her 50m breast bronze from last night to silver while Bottazzo was last night’s 50m breast runner-up.

McSharry owns the Irish national record with her lifetime best of 1:06.04 from this year’s Irish National Championships while Dobler’s PB rests at the 1:05.48 notched at this year’s U.S. Nationals for third place at that meet.

“I knew it was going to be all in the last few meters,” McSharry said post-race.


  • World Record – 23.55 Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) 2023
  • World Junior Record – 24.00 Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) 2018
  • European Record – 23.55 Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) 2023
  • European Junior Record – 24.00 Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) 2018

GOLD – Pieter Coetze (RSA) 24.89
SILVER – Jonathon Adam (GBR) 25.12
BRONZE – Evangelos Makrygiannis (GRE) 25.13

Bronze went to Miroslav Knedla (CZE) & Adam Maraana (ISR) – 25.30

The men’s 50m back saw South Africa’s Pieter Coetze crush the sole sub-25 second time of the field, clocking a winning effort of 24.89 for the victory. That improved upon his 25.18 effort from this morning which gave him the 2nd seed behind Great Britain’s Jonathon Adam.

Adam reaped silver when all was said and done while Greek athlete Evangelos Makrygiannis also landed on the podium in 25.13 for bronze. That was a big leap for Makrygiannis who was just 6th from this morning’s racing.

Coetze owns a lifetime best of 24.36 in this 50m back event, a time he logged at the South African National Championships this past April to become his nation’s #2 man ever. He opted out of racing at this year’s World Championships.


  • World Record – 2:01.81 Liu Zige (CHN) 2009
  • World Junior Record – 2:04.06 Summer McIntosh (CAN) 2023
  • European Record – 2:04.27 Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2009
  • European Junior Record – 2:06.26 Lana Pudar (BIH) 2023

GOLD – Emma Sticklen (USA) 2:08.50
SILVER – Keanna MacInnes (GBR) 2:09.73
BRONZE – Anja Crevar (SRB) 2:10.02

Bronze went to Juliette Marchand (FRA) – 2:11.45

The United States snagged its first gold medal of the evening, courtesy of Emma Sticklen of the University of Texas.

Powered by impressive underwaters, Sticklen led the field wire-to-wire to ultimately turn in a time of 2:08.50. That gave her an over-one-second advantage ahead of Keanna MacInnes of Great Britain who overtook Serbian Anja Crevar for the silver tonight.

MacInnes put up 2:09.73 while Crevar posted 2:10.02 as the minor medal finishers.

Sticklen owns a lifetime best of 2:08.28 so tonight’s outing was within striking distance of that performance.

Sticklen said of her underwaters that crept up on 15m after each wall, “Something I’ve been working on for a really long time. I haven’t stopped training then since when I discovered I was good at them at the age of 14.”


  • World Record – 20.91 Cesar Cielo (BRA) 2009
  • World Junior Record – 21.75 Michael Andrew (USA) 2017
  • European Record – 20.94 Fred Bousquet (FRA) 2009
  • European Junior Record – 21.83 Artem Selin (GER) 2019

GOLD – Stergios-Marios Bilas (GRE) 21.83
SILVER – Nicholas Lia (NOR) 21.95
BRONZE – Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR) 21.96

Greek ace Stergios-Marios Bilas produced a monster performance to take the men’s 50m free gold, powering his way to a big-time personal best of 21.83.

After already hitting the first sub-22 second result of his career in 21.98 as the 2nd-seeded swimmer out of the heats, the 21-year-old dropped another .15 to grab the gold and dip under the World Aquatics ‘A’ time needed for Paris 2024 (21.96).

He now joins national record holder Kristian Gkolomeev as the only Greek swimmers ever to have delved under the 22-second barrier in this 50m free event.

Norwegian Nicholas Lia was next in 21.95, just .01 outside of his own national record of 21.94 logged at this year’s World Championships.

Ukraine’s Vladyslav Bukhov bagged the bronze in 21.96 as the only other swimmer under the 22-second threshold. He was 21.95 this morning as the #1 seed.

On deck after his performance, Bilas stated, “My goal was to qualify for Paris; the gold medal is just a bonus.”

These same racers will be back in the water at the end of the session to take on the first round of the 50m freestyle skins event.


  • World Record – 3:55.38 Ariarne Titmus (AUS) 2023
  • World Junior Record – 3:56.08 Summer McIntosh (CAN) 2023
  • European Record – 3:59.15 Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 2009
  • European Junior Record – 4:03.57 Ajna Kesely (HUN) 2018

GOLD – Isabel Gose (GER) 4:05.96
SILVER – Leonie Maertens (GER) 4:08.57
BRONZE – Francisca Soares Martins (POR) 4:08.92

Just as it was last night in the 800m free, the Germans clinched a 1-2 finish in this women’s 400m free.

Isabel Gose got it done handily, achieving a time of 4:05.96. She led the race from blocks to the final wall, hitting 2:00.63 at the halfway mark to improve upon her morning result of 4:08.51 this morning.

Gose owns a lifetime best of 4:03.02 in this event from the prelims of this year’s World Championships. There in Fukuoka, the German ultimately finished in 7th place in 4:05.27. However, she is the reigning European champion in this race.

Teammate Leonie Maertens snagged the silver in 4:08.57 while Portuguese athlete Francisca Soares Martins rounded out the podium in 4:08.92. Maertens has been as quick as 4:07.81 this year, her lifetime best, while Martins also put up her fastest time ever this year in 4:08.77 on the Mare Nostrum Tour.


  • World Record – 57.45 Kaylee McKeown (AUS) 2021
  • World Junior Record – 57.57 Regan Smith (USA) 2019
  • European Record – 58.08 Kathleen Dawson (GBR) 2021
  • European Junior Record – 59.08 Anastasiya Shkurdai (BLR) 2020

GOLD – Isabelle Stadden (USA) 59.27
SILVER – Adela Piskorska (POL) 1:00.31
BRONZE – Lotte Hosper (NED) 1:01.37

Bronze went to Bertille Cousson (FRA) – 1:02.01.

Producing the 5th-swiftest time of her career, Isabelle Stadden got the wall first in a blistering 59.27.

The American opened in 28.77 and closed in 30.50 to get the job done in the sole time of the field under 1:00.

Poland’s Adela Piskorska took home the silver in 1:00.31, fresh off her World University Games gold medal in the 50m back in China last week.

Dutch swimmer Lotte Hosper also landed on the podium in 1:01.37.

Both Stadden and Piskorska were on the 50m back podium last night behind winner Tessa Giele of the Netherlands. Stadden earned silver and Piskorska the bronze in that shorter sprint.


  • World Record – 2:05.48 Qin Haiyang (CHN) 2023
  • World Junior Record – 2:08.04 Dong Zhihao (CHN) 2023
  • European Record – 2:06.12 Anton Chupkov (RUS) 2019
  • European Junior Record – 2:09.64 Benchmark

GOLD – Lucien Vergnes (FRA) 2:10.04
SILVER – Luca Janssen (NED) 2:10.79
BRONZE – Maksym Ovchinnikov (UKR) 2:11.02

Although no man got under the 2:10 barrier, Frenchman Lucien Vergnes indeed got to the wall first in 2:10.04 in this USA-less race. That gave him a healthy advantage over runner-up Luca Janssen of the Netherlands who notched 2:10.79 for silver. Ukraine got on the board via Maksym Ovchinnikov who clocked 2:11.02.

Tonight’s performance for Vergnes knocked over a second off his previous personal best entering this competition, a time which stood at the 2:11.19 he logged at the French Championships. Although next year’s French Trials will determine Olympic swimmers, Vergnes’ time does get under the 2:10.33 needed to qualify for Paris 2024.


  • World Record – 23.61 Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 2023
  • World Junior Record – 24.17 Claire Curzan (USA) 2021
  • European Record – 23.61 Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 2023
  • European Junior Record – 24.87 Daria Tatarinova (RUS) 2021

GOLD – Neza Klancar (SLO) 24.76
SILVER – Grace Cooper (USA) 24.84
BRONZE – Kornelia Fiedkiewicz (POL) 25.06

Bronze went to Teresa Ivan (SVK) – 25.24

Slovenia’s Neza Klancar roared her way to the wall first in this feisty 50m free, stopping the clock in 24.76. That established a new national record en route to gold, slicing .04 off of the 24.80 she posted at this year’s World Championships.

USA’s Grace Cooper wrangled up the 2nd spot in 24.84 as the only other woman under 25 seconds. Poland’s Kornelia Fiedkiewicz touched in 25.06 as the 3rd-fastest athlete.

Cooper’s performance checks in as the 2nd best of her career, sitting only behind the 24.77 hit at this year’s Pro Swim Series.

As with the men, these competitors will be back later in the session for the 50m free skins round 1.


  • World Record – 1:50.34 Kristof Milak (HUN) 2022
  • World Junior Record – 1:53.79 Kristof Milak (HUN) 2017
  • European Record – 1:50.34 Kristof Milak (HUN) 2022
  • European Junior Record – 1:52.71 Kristof Milak (HUN) 2018

GOLD – Krzysztof Chmielewski (POL) 1:54.68
SILVER – Noyan Taylan (FRA) 1:56.42
BRONZE – Michal Chmielewski (POL) 1:56.72

Poland went 1 & 3 in this men’s 200m fly, as the Chmielewski twins both landed on the podium.

World Championships silver medalist Krzysztof Chmielewski turned in an impressive time of 1:54.68 as he was the clear leader throughout the race. The Pole opened in 54.51 and brought it home in 1:00.17 to top the podium.

In Fukuoka, Chmielewski notched a time of 1:53.62 to finish as runner-up behind Frenchman Leon Marchand.

Noyan Taylan did Marchand proud with a silver medal-worthy outing of 1:56.42, a new lifetime best by .10 and just his 2nd performance under 1:57.

Michal Chmielewski nabbed bronze in 1:56.72, the 3rd-swiftest result of his career.


  • World Record – 4:25.87 Summer McIntosh (CAN) 2023
  • World Junior Record – 4:25.87 Summer McIntosh (CAN) 2023
  • European Record – 4:26.36 Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2016
  • European Junior Record – 4:38.53 Alba Vazquez Ruiz (ESP) 2019

GOLD – Justina Kozan (USA) 4:40.97
SILVER – Ellen Walshe (IRL) 4:42.37
BRONZE – Anja Crevar (SRB) 4:46.86

Bronze went to Camille Tissandie (FRA) 4:49.96

Mission Viejo’s Justina Kozan punched a time of 4:40.97 to take this women’s 400m IM, a result which checks in as the American’s 2nd quickest performance.

Ireland’s Ellen Walshe produced the 3rd swiftest outing of her own career, logging 4:42.37 as the 2nd woman to the wall. Serbia’s Crevar followed up her 200m butterfly bronze medal with another top 3 finish here.


  • World Record – 4:02.50 Leon Marchand (FRA) 2023
  • World Junior Record – 4:10.02 Ilya Borodin (RUS) 2021
  • European Record – 4:02.50 Leon Marchand (FRA) 2023
  • European Junior Record 4:10.02 Ilya Borodin (RUS) 2021

GOLD – Matt Sates (RSA) 4:14.73
SILVER – Cedric Buessing (GER) 4:14.74
BRONZE – Gabor Zambori (HUN) 4:15.71

Bronze went to Emilien Mattenet (FRA) 4:15.91

South Africa nabbed its second gold medal of the night, as former Georgia Bulldog Matt Sates grabbed the 400m IM gold in 4:14.73.

That narrowly defeated a charging German in Cedric Buessing who settled for silver just .01 later in 4:14.74. Hungary’s Gabor Zambori earned bronze in 4:15.71.

Sates owns a career-best of 4:11.58 in this event, a time which renders him South Africa’s 2nd fastest man ever.

Sates did not race at this year’s World Championships.


  • World Record – 3:40.07 Paul Biedermann (GER) 2009
  • World Junior Record – 3:44.31 Petar Mitsin (BUL) 2023
  • European Record – 3:40.07 Paul Biedermann (GER) 2009
  • European Junior Record – 3:44.31 Petar Mitsin (BUL) 2023

GOLD – Petar Mitsin (BUL) 3:46.16
SILVER – Daniel Wiffen (IRL) 3:47.57
BRONZE – Rex Maurer (USA) 3:47.63

Bronze went to Dimitrios Markos (GRE) 3:50.42.

In one of the most highly-anticipated races of these championships, the men’s 400m free was a bitter trifecta among Petar Mitsin of Bulgaria, Daniel Wiffen of Ireland Rex Maurer of the United States.

Mitsin made his move at the 200m mark, stretching out in front of both Wiffen and Maurer to lead the remainder of the back half. He ultimately touched in 3:46.16 to beat out Wiffen by over a second, with the Irish national record holder snagging silver in 3:47.57.

Maurer was only .06 behind Wiffen in 3:47.63, a new lifetime best by about half a second.

As a reminder, Wiffen is contesting this event after rocking a monster 14:35.79 last night.

Mitsin hit a massive 3:44.31 lifetime best en route to becoming this year’s 400m free European Junior Championships gold medalist.

Of note, Germany’s Sven Schwarz was the 2nd-seeded swimmer out of the heats (3:49.38) but was not in tonight’s final.


Following advanced to round 2

  1. Remi Fabiani (LUX) 22.09
  2. Jere Hribar (CRO) 22.18
  3. Sean Niewold (NED) 22.27
  4. Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR) 22.46

Luxembourg’s Remi Fabiani clocked a time of 22.09 to ease into the top spot after the first round of the men’s 50m free skins. That’s a new national record, overtaking his own 22.47 from this year’s World Championships.

Of note, the 50m freestyle individual event winner here, Stergio-Marios Bilas was 6th in 22.59.


Following advanced to final round

  1. Jere Hribar (CRO) 23.56
  2. Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR) 283.6


  1. Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR) 24.49
  2. Jere Hribar (CRO) 25.18


Following advanced to round 2

  1. Teresa Ivan (SVK) 25.30
  2. Neza Klancar (SLO) 25.37
  3. Nina Sstanisavljevic (SRB) 25.59
  4. Julia Dennis (USA) 25.61


Following advanced to final round

  1. Neza Klancar (SLO) 25.85
  2. Julia Dennis (USA) 26.30


  1. Neza Klancar (SLO) 25.83
  2. Julia Dennis (USA) 26.66

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Ole 99
3 months ago

Does Maurer’s time move him to 4th all time 17-18 Boys LCM 400 Free, or has he aged up?

3 months ago

How come non Europeans can compete here? is this a world meet or euro meet just confused

Last edited 3 months ago by Gheko
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Reply to  Gheko
3 months ago

Last year usa Nationals allowed internationals. Not that unusual unless Trials meet!

Reply to  Lap Counter
3 months ago

Yes but it’s a European Championships, USA, South Africa are not Europe? So usually in that case they should not get medals or swim the finals, they get the medal but the 4th place finisher gets bronze? Just curious

Last edited 3 months ago by Gheko
Reply to  Gheko
3 months ago

Visitor medals. It is quite common

Reply to  Joel
3 months ago

It’s not common, how come the USA were not in the recent commonwealth yourh games or Commonwealth Games or European seniors?

Reply to  Gheko
3 months ago

Sorry. Common in Australia. Just not at selection meets.
It is not hurting anyone. They announced this a long time ago.

Reply to  Gheko
3 months ago

It has been listed in the meet information since it was announced at the beginning of the Fall (Autumn) of 2022. Think they wanted to make sure there were enough swimmers at the first installment of the U23 which in reality also turned into a 23U meet.

3 months ago

Seems that Dakota Tucker swam pb’s in both the IM events

3 months ago

World Cup Champ
NCAA Champ
World Jr Record Holder
World Champ (SCM)

Add U23 Champ to the list… The Matt Sates Swimming Speed Run continues.

Reply to  Coleman Hodges
3 months ago

Has he ever put up a time that would final at worlds

Reply to  Noah
3 months ago

He made the 200im lcm final in Budapest 2022.
He actually did much better at Sc World champs in Melbourne 2022.
Won 200im gold, close to the world record and 400im bronze (African Record)
Also has the African record in the 200 and 400 free scm

Reply to  Coleman Hodges
3 months ago

speed run? Dudes basically a bust at this point.

WV Swammer
Reply to  Coleman Hodges
3 months ago

Easily the most overrated swimmer in the world.

Reply to  Coleman Hodges
3 months ago

SwimSwam and overhyping Matt Sates, a tradition as old as time

Reply to  Coleman Hodges
3 months ago

As someone commented a while ago, he really is middle distance MA

Reply to  Mike
3 months ago

Shoulda stayed in Athens GA.

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Reply to  Pescatarian
3 months ago

He was on a roll before he got to Athens…don’t credit his 8 weeks there as defining his career, good or bad!

Reply to  Mike
3 months ago

MA has won medals at senior international meets, even that is too generous to Sates

Reply to  Coleman Hodges
3 months ago

Why didn’t he and Coetze swim at the world champs?

Reply to  peterpete
3 months ago

What has MS’ spelling ability got to do with his swimming ability? Better to look in your own closet before highlighting other people’s flaws online. A real “pet hate” of mine.

Certain aspects of all our lives that could be made “better” if we chose to do so.

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Reply to  Coleman Hodges
3 months ago

What would have his times done at Worlds?

3 months ago

USC swimming with 5 medals tonight so far, by far the best showing they’ve had in any meet for years. Need to carry this energy to the college season!

3 months ago

TEAM USA taking, I think, at least 5 medals over this evening’s competition is a delightful, solid performance for these younger American swimmers. As noted elsewhere, I like the format, the fairness in distributing medals, and, indeed, the idea of having the USA participate in this European competition! Bravi a Tutti!

3 months ago

Sates was definitely not ready for worlds this year. What a race it was though

3 months ago

Amazing news for Germany to see Büssing go 4:14. He was junior european champion in 2021 and then had a down year in 2022, but now he is better than ever (thanks to the american college system). Not unexpected to see him go a huge PB after already throwing down a huge PB in the 200 back yesterday. He is in a good position to qualify for the olympics next year (only 1 second away from the OQT). Maybe he can also go sub 2:00 in the 200 IM later on. Germany desperately needs some new talents in the IM.

Last edited 3 months ago by Sawdust

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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