2023 World Junior Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The first finals session of the 2023 World Junior Championships in Netanya, Israel is about to be underway. We have an even split within tonight’s session, featuring 4 semifinals and 4 finals.

Day 1 Finals Schedule

  • Boys 400 freestyle – Final
  • Girls 50 breaststroke – Semifinals
  • Boys 100 backstroke – Semifinals
  • Girls 400 individual medley – Final
  • Boys 100 breaststroke – Semifinals
  • Girls 100 backstroke – Semifinals
  • Boys 4×100 freestyle relay – Final
  • Girls 4×200 freestyle relay – Final


As far as the finals go, Bulgaria’s Petar Mitsin will be looking to lower his World Junior Record in the boys 400 free tonight. Mitsin led the field this morning with a 3:50.52, which comes in 6 seconds off his personal best. The 400 free final is incredibly tight based on this morning’s times, however, we can expect Mitsin to break away from the field based on his PB.

American Leah Hayes was the top performer of the morning in the girls’ 400 IM, swimming a 4:41.49. She gave herself a comfortable cushion heading into tonight’s final, but fellow American Lilla Bognar and Canadians Ella Jansen and Julie Brousseau could push Hayes pretty hard tonight.

Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova cracked the Championship Record in prelims of the girls’ 50 breast this morning. Though tonight’s race will only be a semifinal, it appears Jefimova could finally break the 30-second barrier, so keep a close eye on her.


  • World Junior Record: 3:44.31 – Petar Mitsin, Bulgaria (2023)
  • Championship Record: 3:46.06 – Gabor Zambori, Hungary (2019)
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 3:46.78
    • ‘B’ Standard: 3:47.91
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 3:55.59


As expected, Bulgaria’s Petar Mitsin won gold in the boys’ 400 free tonight. However, Mitsin’s path wasn’t as clear as it appeared to be coming into the met. He was pushed hard by Italy’s Alessandro Ragaini and Mitsin was just able to hold Ragaini off at the end of the race.

It played out the way I was expecting for the first half of the race. Mitsin was out much faster than this morning, splitting a speedy 1:50.98 on the first 200m. That put him well ahead of Ragaini, who clocked a 1:52.05 on the first 200m. Mitsin then very slightly expanded his lead over Ragaini on the 3rd 100, but Ragaini had something left in the tank. Ragaini came home in a blistering 56.92 on the final 100 tonight, rapidly closing the gap on Mitsin. He just ran out of room at the end. Had the race been another 10m, it seems likely Ragaini would have gotten his hand on the wall first.

Either way, it was an exceptional swim for Ragaini, marking a new personal best for him. Meanwhile, it was another strong swim for Mitsin, who has been as fast as 3:44.31.

Italy showed off their freestyle prowess, with Filippo Bertoni earning a medal as well with a 3:48.73 for 3rd.


  • World Junior Record: 29.30 – Benedetta Pilato, Italy (2021)
  • Championship Record: 30.19 – Eneli Jefimova, Estonia (2023)
  • Time for 16th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 33.47


  1. Eneli Jefimova (Estonia) – 30.48
  2. Monique Wieruszowski (New Zealand) – 30.81
  3. Alexanne Lepage (Canada) – 31.04
  4. Piper Enge (United States) – 31.15
  5. Jimena Ruiz (Spain) – 31.39
  6. Irene Mati (Italy) – 31.48
  7. Kotomi Kato (Japan) – 31.51
  8. Kiia Metsakonkola (Finland) – 31.58

Eneli Jefimova once again led the field by a comfortable margin, though she was a bit off her time from this morning. After setting a new Championship Record with her 30.19 this morning, the 16-year-old clocked a 30.48 tonight. Her time was still good for the top seed heading into tomorrow night’s final.

Jefimova has been as fast as 30.08, a time which she swam at the 2022 World Championships.

New Zealand’s Monique Wieruszowski was once again under 31 seconds tonight, posting a 30.81 for 2nd.


  • World Junior Record: 52.53 – Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia (2018)
  • Championship Record: 52.91 – Ksawery Masiuk, Poland (2022)
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 53.74
    • ‘B’ Standard: 54.01
  • Time for 16th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 59.28


  1. Miroslav Knedla (Czech Republic) – 53.28
  2. Ulises Saravia (Argentina) – 53.95
  3. Oleksandr Zheltiakov (Ukraine) – 54.16
  4. Daniel Diehl (United States) – 54.27 (TIE)
  5. Christian Bacico (Italy) – 54.27 (TIE)
  6. Enoch Robb (Australia) – 54.38
  7. Aiden Norman (Canada) – 54.77
  8. Daniele del Signore (Italy) – 55.17

Czech 18-year-old Miroslav Knedla put on a show tonight in the semifinals of the boys’ 100 back, swimming a speedy 53.28. The swim was plenty fast enough for Knedla to earn the top seed for tomorrow night’s final. Argentina’s Ulises Saravia was the only other swimmer to go under 54 seconds tonight, clocking a 53.95 for 2nd.

Knedla was out fast tonight, splitting 25.73 on the opening 50m. American Daniel Diehl made it through as well, swimming a 54.27 to tie for 4th. Diehl was the top seed coming into the meet.


  • World Junior Record: 4:25.87 – Summer McIntosh, Canada (2023)
  • Championship Record: 4:37.78 – Mio Narita, Japan (2022)
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 4:38.53
    • ‘B’ Standard: 4:39.92
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 4:59.20


The girls’ 400 IM final was a fantastic race, seeing the top 3 really break away from the rest of the field. Both American Leah Hayes and Canadian Ella Jansen came in under the Championship Record of 4:37.78, which Mio Narita set at last year’s meet. Hayes and Jansen were essentially tied at the 200m mark after posting nearly identical fly and back splits. Hayes then broke the race open on breaststroke, throwing down a sizzling 1:18.95, which was the fastest breast split in the field by a big margin.

While Hayes was incredible on the breast split, Jansen was equally awesome on freestyle, splitting a 1:03.36 coming home. To her credit, Jansen put up a very solid 1:20.62 breast split as well.

The 4:36.84 marks a new personal best for Hayes, while Jansen’s time is a new best for her as well.

Fellow Canadian Julie Brousseau had a phenomenal swim, throwing down a 4:38.45. That was also a huge personal best for Brousseau.


  • World Junior Record: 59.01 – Nicolo Martinenghi, Italy (2017)
  • Championship Record: 59.01 – Nicolo Martinenghi, Italy (2017)
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 59.49
    • ‘B’ Standard: 59.79
  • Time for 16th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 1:05.00


  1. Watson Nguyen (United States) – 1:01.34
  2. Joshua Chen (United States) – 1:01.49
  3. Gideon Burnes (Australia) – 1:01.59
  4. Arsen Kozhakhmetov (Kazakhstan) – 1:01.70
  5. Yamato Okadome (Japan) – 1:01.74
  6. Xavier Ruiz (Puerto Rico) – 1:02.06
  7. Thomas Truter (South Africa) – 1:02.10
  8. Christian Mantegazza (Italy) – 1:02.25

For the second time today, American Watson Nguyen posted a new personal best en route to clocking the top time in the boys’ 100 breast. After swimming a new PB of 1:01.60 this morning, Nguyen swam a 1:01.34 tonight, earning the top seed for tomorrow night’s final.

Meanwhile, American teammate Joshua Chen was right behind Nguyen tonight, swimming a 1:01.49 for 2nd. Nguyen had the fastest first 50 split in the field tonight, swimming a 28.77 going out, while Chen posted the fastest 2nd 50 split in the field, roaring home in 32.13.

Australian Gideon Burnes had a big swim as well, clocking a 1:01.59 for 3rd.


  • World Junior Record: 57.57 – Regan Smith, United States (2019)
  • Championship Record: 59.11 – Regan Smith, United States (2017)
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 59.99
    • ‘B’ Standard: 1:00.29
  • Time for 16th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 1:04.28


  1. Teagan O’Dell (United States) – 59.83
  2. Erika Pelaez (United States) – 59.94
  3. Jaclyn Barclay (Australia) – 1:00.28
  4. Iona Anderson (Australia) – 1:00.52
  5. Delia Lloyd (Canada) – 1:01.15
  6. Milla Drakopoulos (South Africa) – 1:01.28
  7. Miri Sasaki (Japan) – 1:01.32
  8. Giada Gorlier (Italy) – 1:01.69

As was the case in the boys’ 100 breast, the Americans led the way in the girl’s 100 back tonight. Teagan O’Dell and Erika Pelaez both dipped under 1:00 tonight, finishing as the only swimmers in the field to do so. O’Dell was the fastest, stopping the clock in 59.83, while Pelaez was right behind in 59.94.

It was a huge swim for Pelaez, marking her first time under 1:00 in the event. While Pelaez is an exceptional sprinter, it was actually the back half of the race where she excelled tonight. Pelaez posted the fastest 2nd 50 split in the field, coming home in 30.41.

The Australian duo of Jaclyn Barclay and Iona Anderson were 3rd and 4th tonight, swimming 1:00.28 and 1:00.52 respectively.


  • World Junior Record: 3:15.79, United States (2022)
  • Championship Record: 3:15.80, United States (2019)
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 3:28.07


  • GOLD: United States – 3:15.49 (World Junior Record) (Championship Record)
  • SILVER: Australia – 3:16.69
  • BRONZE: Canada – 3:17.34

The Americans are continuing to have a great first day of the meet, seeing their boys’ 4×100 free relay break the World Junior Record en route to a gold medal tonight. The team of Daniel Diehl (49.93), Maximus Williamson (47.78), Hudson Williams (49.14), and Jason Zhao (48.64) teamed up for a 3:15.49, clipping the previous WJR of 3:15.79.

Williamson’s split was massive, marking the fastest split in the field by a huge margin, as well as the only sub-48 in the field. He was incredible on the back half, splitting a sizzling 24.77 on the 2nd 50.

Of note, the U.S. held the World Junior Record of 3:15.79 from the Junior Pan Pacs last summer in Hawaii. Interestingly, Diehl is the only member who was on both relays.

Australia had a great swim for 2nd tonight, seeing Edward Sommerville lead their team off in a very strong 49.24. Flynn Southam was also terrific on the Aussie relay, splitting 48.47 on the anchor.


  • World Junior Record: 7:51.47, Canada (2017)
  • Championship Record: 7:51.47, Canada (2017)
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 8:58.50


  • GOLD: United States – 7:52.48
  • SILVER: Australia – 7:52.68
  • BRONZE: Canada – 7:53.09

The podium in the girls’ 4×200 free relay tonight mirrored that of the boys’ 4×100 free relay: The U.S. won gold, while Australia earned the silver medal and Canada grabbed bronze. The 3 medalists were in a league of their own, as Italy came in 4th tonight with an 8:03.49, more than 10 seconds behind Canada.

The race between the 3 teams was awesome. Australia jumped out to a slim early lead thanks to a 1:57.85 lead-off by Jamie Perkins. American Addison Sauickie was right behind with a 1:58.17, while Canada’s Julie Brousseau was 1:59.07 on their lead-off. Fresh off her CR in the 400 IM, American Leah Hayes then took control of the race, splitting 1:57.86 on the 2nd leg. Australia’s Hannah Casey put up a strong swim with a 1:58.93, but Hayes still overtook the Aussies with her swim.

Things evened back out between the U.S. and Australia on the 3rd leg, where Jaimie de Lutiis delivered a 1:58.27 for Australia, while Lynsey Bowen swam a 1:59.00 for the U.S. That put the U.S. in the final relay exchange just 0.02 seconds ahead of Australia. Madi Mintenko got the job done for the Americans, roaring to a 1:57.45, while Amelia Weber clocked a 1:57.63 for the Aussies.

The fastest split in the field went to Canada’s Ella Jansen, however. Jansen, who earned silver in the 400 IM earlier in the session, anchored her relay in a speedy 1:56.94, closing the gap between Canada, Australia, and the U.S. to about half a second. While she wasn’t quite able to catch Mintenko or Weber, Jansen’s time was terrific, and it bodes well for her as we begin to look forward to Paris 2024, Canada’s selection which will take place in the spring.

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26 days ago

The Aussie girls might’ve won gold in the 4×2 with better exchanges.

Total exchange add up:
AUS 0.46 + 0.46 + 0.45 = 1.37
USA 0.32 + 0.24 + 0.32 = 0.88

Winning margin: 0.20

Reply to  Troyy
26 days ago

The Canadians might have won gold in the 4×2 with Summer Macintosh…but they didn’t and neither did Australia.

26 days ago

I notice that this post only has 44 comments which I think is largely to do with the fact the meet is not readily available to watch by the general public. Theyre forcing you to watch a bunch of kids swim, instead of promoting the sport of swimming to their peers.

Reply to  Verram
26 days ago

Well, Monday was also a holiday in the US, and finals are pretty late in Australia.

26 days ago

Female 200 freestylers appear to be growing on trees in the US at the moment.

Reply to  Troyy
26 days ago

Yes amazing, their college system is unsurpassed.

Reply to  Robbos
26 days ago

They aren’t at college yet.

Reply to  Troyy
26 days ago

Yep that’s right.

Reply to  Troyy
26 days ago

I’ll start again, yes they have amazing depth in the 200 free for females at the moment.

26 days ago

Hannah Casey seems to be an enigma. On the other hand, great to see Jamie Perkins bouncing back well. I believe she has moved into Boxall’s squad now from the junior group.

Reply to  Bernie
26 days ago

Yeah we seem to be having a little inconsistency with some of the juniors. Casey was solid, but still slower than her flat start from over a year ago. Girls definitely could have won that if she just matched her flat start.

Flynn is also slower than expected, but even if he swam at his absolute best I think the gap was too much to close.

I really hope to see at least a few of our juniors here really explode out and set some solid PBs. My money is on Wunsch at this stage.

Reply to  Bernie
26 days ago

It’s a shame they didn’t make use of Wunsch and Jansen in the heats so we could see where their 200 is at. I guess it makes sense to rest Wunsch because her program is pretty heavy but Jansen has only on individual.

Reply to  Troyy
26 days ago

*Only one individual.

(Can we have the edit feature back please Swimswam?)

Reply to  Bernie
26 days ago

I sometimes wonder if Hannah Casey would benefit by changing programs (maybe Rackley to train with Meg could be interesting?)

26 days ago

Williamson is such a beast, I think he’ll make Paris next year

26 days ago

is there like any race video out there if you missed the livestream??

Reply to  bubbles
26 days ago

There’s a little bit on the WorldAquatics instagram page

Reply to  bubbles
26 days ago

The replay is up on Recast.

Reply to  bubbles
26 days ago

thanks guys! sorry for the late reply but i’ll look at those

26 days ago

A bit frustrated that WA stated that Australia, US, and Canada could watch on YouTube and then proceed to not stream it on YouTube. Why blatantly lie? Now most people had to scramble over to pay on Recast. I’m not even upset about having to pay, I just would’ve preferred to have known earlier to have it all set-up instead of being mislead until the last minute.

Reply to  Bernie
26 days ago

And now I’ve paid I can’t watch day 1 finals !

Reply to  Joel
26 days ago

Exactly! They were very quick to post prelims immediately after the session ended, but now for the finals upload…nothing 🙁

26 days ago

It is crazy that the Sandpipers women’s 800 free relay, based on this year’s times, would be five seconds faster than any team today and four seconds faster than the world junior record.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  NCSwimFan
26 days ago

In fairness, that relies on Sims who would not be considered a junior before this year because of the changed junior rules. Ruck’s flat start was 2.5 faster than her split in the WJR the following year, so arguably if the junior rules were the same previously Canada’s record could have been 3+ seconds faster.