2023 World Junior Championships: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


The first session of the 2023 World Junior Championships in Netanya, Israel kicks off this morning. The action this morning features a nice mix of events, including prelims of the boys 400 free, girls 50 breast, boys 100 back, girls 400 IM, boys 100 breast, girls 100 back, boys 4×100 free relay, and girls 4×200 free relay.

Day 1 Prelims Schedule

  • Boys 400 freestyle – Prelims
  • Girls 50 breaststroke – Prelims
  • Boys 100 backstroke – Prelims
  • Girls 400 Individual Medley – Prelims
  • Boys 100 breaststroke – Prelims
  • Girls 100 backstroke – Prelims
  • Boys 4×100 freestyle relay – Prelims
  • Girls 4×200 freestyle relay – Prelims


Keep your eyes on the top seeds in this morning’s events. We could see some fantastic swims out of this group, particularly in the finals session tonight. Bulgaria’s Petar Mitsin, who burst onto the scene this year, comes in as the top seed in the boys 400 free. The Bulgarian Record holder in the event, Mitsin popped a 3:44.31 at the European Junior Championships back in July. He enters the meet this morning as the top seed by nearly 3 full seconds.

Similarly, American Leah Hayes comes in as the top seed in the girls 400 IM. Hayes is entered at 4:38.45, making her the only swimmer in the field entered under 4:40.

Another American, Daniel Diehl, comes in as the top seed by a huge margin in the boys 100 back. Diehl is entered at 53.07, marking the fastest seed time in the event by more than a second.

Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova comes in as the top seed in the girls 50 breast this morning. Jefimova was notably a finalist in the women’s 50 breast at the World Championships in Fukuoka a little over a month ago. She enters as the top seed by roughly half-a-second.


  • 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


  1. Petar Mitsin (Bulgaria) – 3:50.52
  2. Alessandro Ragaini (Italy) – 3:50.65
  3. Lorne Wigginton (Canada) – 3:50.72
  4. Vlad Stancu (Romania) – 3:51.14
  5. Filippo Bertoni (Italy) – 3:51.63
  6. Norvin Clontz (United States) – 3:52.06
  7. Junwoo Kim (South Korea) – 3:52.18
  8. Luke Whitlock (United States) – 3:52.33

Prelims of the boys 400 free marked the first event of the 2023 World Junior Championships, and it turned into a tight one. 1st through 8th were separated by just 1.81 seconds this morning, setting up what ought be a great race in tonight’s final.

That being said, Bulgaria’s Petar Mitsin was the top performer of the morning, clocking a 3:50.52. While the field looks tight right now, Mitsin holds the top time in terms of personal bests in this field by a wide margin. His World Junior Record of 3:44.31, which he set earlier this summer, stood as one of the top times in the world this year for a while. Mitsin was controlled this morning, only splitting 1:53.64 on the opening 200m of the race. We can reasonably expect he’ll be somewhere around 2 seconds faster on the front half of the race in finals tonight.

Italian Alessandro Ragaini was just off Mitsin’s time this morning, touching with the second overall swim in 3:50.65. Just having turned 17 years old a month ago, Ragaini could’ve beaten Mitsin’s time this morning, if not for a 29.90 on the 6th 50 of the race, which sticks out as his slowest 50 split of the morning by a considerable margin.

Canadian Lorne Wigginton also posted a 3:50-point this morning, coming in 3rd overall at 3:50.72. Winnington was out the slowest of the top 3 this morning, however, he put up a speedy last 100m, splitting 57.51, which was quite a bit faster than both Mitsin and Ragaini. If that tells us anything it’s that we should keep an eye on him towards the end of the race tonight in the final.


  • World Junior Record: 29.30 – Benedetta Pilato, Italy (2021)
  • Championship Record: 30.60 – Benedetta Pilato, italy (2019)
  • Time for 16th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 33.47


  1. Eneli Jefimova (Estonia) – 30.19 (Championship Record)
  2. Alexanne Lepage (Canada) – 30.82
  3. Monique Wieruszowski (New Zealand) – 31.06
  4. Piper Enge (United States) – 31.18
  5. Halle West (Canada) – 31.38
  6. Jimena Ruiz (Spain) – 31.44
  7. Morgan Cope (South Africa) – 31.63
  8. Irene Mati (Italy) – 31.77
  9. Kiia Metsakonkola (Finland) – 31.86
  10. Simone Moll (South Africa) – 31.91
  11. Sieun Park (South Korea) – 31.93
  12. Kotomi Kato (Japan) – 31.95 (TIE)
  13. Molly Sweeney (United States) – 31.95 (TIE)
  14. Maria Ramos (Spain) – 32.02
  15. Julia Christen (Argentina) – 32.04
  16. Chiara Della (Italy) – 32.08

It didn’t take long for us to see the first Championship Record performance of the meet. Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova was dominant in the girls 50 breast this morning, throwing down a 30.19 to lead the field by well over half a second. Not only did Jefimova blow away the field this morning, she shattered the Championship Record of 30.60, which Benedetta Pilato set in 2019.

Jefimova is capping off a successful summer. At the World Championships in Fukuoka a little over a month ago, the youngster qualified for the final of the women’s 50 breast. She holds the Estonian Record at 30.08 from the 2022 World Champs last summer.

Impressively, the top 6 swimmers this morning were all under the time it took to win gold in the event last year (31.55). Canadian Alexanne Lepage was the only other swimmer in the field to dip under 31 seconds, swimming a 30.82 for the 2nd overall time. Though Lepage was the only other 30-point in the field, New Zealand’s Monique Wieruszowski was right behind, swimming a 31.06.

American Piper Enge was 31.18 this morning, also putting her under the CR.


  • 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) – 54.17
  2. Oleksandr Zheltiakov (Ukraine) – 54.46
  3. Christian Bacico (Italy) – 54.57
  4. Aiden Norman (Canada) – 55.08
  5. Enoch Robb (Australia) – 55.17
  6. Daniel Diehl (United States) – 55.21
  7. Samuel Lopes (Brazil) – 55.30
  8. Ulises Saravia (Argentina) – 55.44
  9. Ivan Martinez (Spain) – 55.57
  10. Jiang Chenglin (China) – 55.61
  11. Caleb Maldari (United States) – 55.67
  12. Mahiro Kohigashi (Japan) – 55.78
  13. Daniele del Signore (Italy) – 55.95
  14. Jihwan Yoon (South Korea) – 55.99
  15. Jakub Krischke (Czech Republic) – 56.13
  16. Aukan Goldin (Israel) – 56.23

Czech Republic’s Miroslav Knedla led the way in the boys 100 back this morning, speeding to a 54.17. It was a phenomenal performance for Knedla, coming in under his seed time of 54.32. He was out quick this morning, posting a 26.13 on the opening 50m, which put him in the lead by a significant margin going into and out of the turn.

Ukrainian Oleksandr Zheltiakov wasn’t too far off Knedla’s time this morning, clocking the 2nd overall time with a 54.46. He swam the race quite differently from Knedla, however, as Zheltiakov was out slower than Knedla, but posted the top split in the field this morning on the 2nd 50 (27.68).

Italian Christian Bacico was also under 55 seconds this morning, swimming a 54.57 for 3rd overall.

American Daniel Diehl, the top seed coming into the morning, came in 6th with a 55.21. Don’t let that swim fool you, Diehl has the fastest personal best in this field by a very wide margin. We’ll be looking for him to be considerably faster tonight in semifinals.

Also of note, host country Israel had its first swimmer of the meet advance past prelims, as Aukan Goldin came in 16th this morning with a 56.23.


  • 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


  1. Leah Hayes (United States) – 4:41.49
  2. Ella Jansen (Canada) – 4:44.26
  3. Lilla Bognar (United States) – 4:44.90
  4. Julie Brousseau (Canada) – 4:45.66
  5. Mao Yihan (China) – 4:48.19
  6. Louna Kasvio (Finland) – 4:49.08
  7. Kamonchanok Kwanmuang (Thailand) – 4:50.58
  8. Tamaki Noi (Japan) – 4:50.73

The United States and Canada shone in prelims of the girls 400 IM this morning. Coming into the meet as the top seed in the event, American Leah Hayes clocked the top time of the morning, speeding to a 4:41.49. It was a very solid prelims swim for Hayes, who has a personal best of 4:38.45, which she swam at the U.S. World Champs Trials back at the end of June. Hayes, who in many ways is a pure IM’er, swam a well-rounded race this morning. She was out in 1:02.05 on fly, then split 1:11.44 on back, 1:21.20 on breast, and 1:06.90 on free.

Hayes heads into tonight’s final as the top seed by a comfortable margin. Canadian Ella Jansen was 2nd this morning in 4;44.26. Jansen was within a second of Hayes’ time on the first 200m this morning, however, she really fell behind on breaststroke, where she split 1:23.00 to Hayes’ 1:21.20. Breaststroke will be critical tonight in the final. There is a case to be made it’s Hayes’ best stroke, so it will be incumbent on the other swimmers to mitigate her ability to pull ahead on that 100.

Coming in 3rd this morning was American Lilla Bognar, who swam a 4:44.90. Bognar, a great backstroker, had the fastest back split in the field this morning, clocking a 1:11.21.

Canadian Julie Brousseau was 4th this morning in 4:45.66. She was particularly strong on breaststroke, where she split 1:22.60.


  • 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) – 1:01.60
  2. Xavier Ruiz (Puerto Rico) – 1:01.73
  3. Arsen Kozhakhmetov (Kazakhstan) – 1:01.84
  4. Yamato Okadome (Japan) – 1:01.89
  5. Josh Chen (United States) – 1:02.02
  6. Christian Mantegazza (Italy) – 1:02.07
  7. Jonas Gaur (Denmark) – 1:02.10
  8. Gideon Burnes (Australia) – 1:02.21
  9. Thomas Truter (South Africa) – 1:02.29
  10. Sai Mak (Hong Kong) – 1:02.75
  11. Nil Cadevall (Spain) – 1:02.96
  12. Jorge Garcia (Spain) – 1:03.05
  13. Emilian Hollank (Germany) – 1:03.10
  14. Kian Keylock (South Africa) – 1:03.15
  15. Gal Saharov (Israel) – 1:03.35
  16. Finn Kemp (Luxembourg) – 1:03.48

American Watson Nguyen clocked a new personal best en route to posting the top time of the morning in the boys 100 breast. Nguyen swam a 1:01.60, taking 0.1 seconds off his previous personal best of 1:01.70, which he swam at the U.S. Trials about 2 months ago. Of note, Nguyen will turn 18 years old on Thursday.

Xavier Ruiz, one of Puerto Rico’s few swimmers at these World Junior Champs, had a great swim this morning, as well, taking 2nd overall in 1:01.73. That was also a huge swim for Ruiz, clearing his personal best of 1:02.43, which he swam at the end of April.

Kazakhstan’s Arsen Kozhakhmetov and Japan’s Yamato Okadome were also under 1:02 this morning, setting themselves up well for the semifinals tonight.


  • 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. Erika Pelaez (United States) – 1:00.06
  2. Teagan O’Dell (United States) – 1:00.24
  3. Iona Anderson (Australia) – 1:00.26
  4. Jaclyn Barclay (Australia) – 1:00.73
  5. Delia Lloyd (Canada) – 1:01.36
  6. Miri Sasaki (Japan) – 1:01.83
  7. Milia Drakopoulos (South Africa) – 1:01.92
  8. Giada Gorlier (Italy) – 1:01.97
  9. Jaeyun Song (South Korea) – 1:02.10
  10. Levenia Sim (Singapore) – 1:02.21
  11. Jordan Greber (Canada) – 1:02.53
  12. Isabelle Gibson (New Zealand) – 1:02.60
  13. Sum Cheung (Hong Kong) – 1:02.66 (TIE)
  14. Nahia Garrido (Spain) – 1:02.66 (TIE)
  15. Xeniya Ignatova (Kazakhstan) – 1:02.87
  16. Wang Xinyi (China) – 1:02.92

The American duo of Erika Pelaez and Teagan O’Dell led prelims of the girls 100 back this morning. Pelaez posted a new personal best of 1:00.06 to post the top time of the morning. Her previous best was a 1:00.12, which she swam in March of this year.

Meanwhile, O’Dell, who was the top seed coming into the morning, swam a 1:00.24 for 2nd overall. O’Dell was only half a second off her personal best this morning, setting her up well for the next phases.

Australia’s Jaclyn Barclay was the only swimmer other than O’Dell who was seeded under 1:00 coming into the morning. This morning, Barclay swam a 1:00.73, which was good for the 4th overall time. Fellow Aussie Iona Anderson was 3rd this morning with a 1:00.26.


  • 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


  1. Italy – 3:18.57
  2. United States – 3:19.04
  3. Australia – 3:20.01
  4. Canada – 3:20.06
  5. China – 3:21.00
  6. Brazil – 3:21.95
  7. Croatia – 3:22.50
  8. Poland – 3:22.92

Italy clocked the top time of the morning in the boys 4×100 free relay, putting together a speedy 3:18.57. The Italian squad was well balanced this morning, with Mirko Chiaversoli leading off in 50.04, then Gianluca Messina splitting 49.31 on the 2nd leg, Carlos D’Ambrosio splitting 49.75 on the 3rd leg, and Lorenzo Ballarati anchoring in 49.47.

The U.S. came in 2nd this morning with a 3:19.04, making them the only team other than Italy under 3:20. The Americans had the fastest lead-off split in the field this morning, with nJason Zhao swimming a 49.87. Hudson Williams was also moving for the U.S. team, clocking a 49.08 on the anchor.

Australia’s Edward Sommerville was flying on the anchor of his relay, throwing down a 48.69. That was the fastest split in the field this morning, which was fueled by a sizzling 23.10 on the first 50m.


  • 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


  1. Australia – 7:59.36
  2. United States – 7:59.97
  3. Canada – 8:02.21
  4. Italy – 8:09.61
  5. Israel – 8:14.58
  6. Brazil – 8:15.63
  7. Greece – 8:16.61
  8. Lithuania – 8:19.47

Both Australia and the USA wasted not time this morning, each putting up sub-8:00 times in prelims of the girls 4×200 free relay. The Australians got off to a roaring start thanks to Jamie Perkins clocking a sizzling 1:58.23 on the lead-off leg for her relay. Hannah Casey then followed that up with a 1:59.99 on the 2nd leg, while Bella Grant split 2:01.13 and Jaimie de Lutiis anchored in 2:00.01.

The Americans had their own speedy leg, as Addison Sauickie anchored the U.S. relay in 1:58.38, marking the 2nd-fastest split in the field. The other American legs were pretty consistent, with Anna Moesch swimming a 2:00.93 on the lead-off, Bailey Hartman clocking a 2:00.37 on the 2nd leg, and Lynsey Bowen splitting 2:00.29 on the 3rd leg.

Canada came in 3rd with an 8:02.21. They were fueled by a 1:59.62 from Mia West on the 2nd leg.

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27 days ago

Is there a recast for dummies? I can’t figure out how to watch this? I keep buying credits and it keeps asking me to buy more. Sheeeeesh

Nick the biased Aussie
27 days ago

As always the girls 100 back looking to be a great race.

27 days ago

Time check that bogner split on 4IM. 1:11 100bk? Not sure that’s correct


Reply to  Flutterfly
27 days ago


35.70 + 35.51 = 71.21 = 1:11.21.

Hayes split 1:11 too.

27 days ago

There were a couple swims by Canadians that would have won Canadian Trials (Wigginton 400 Free, Lepage 50 Breast).
That makes me pretty excited about this new crop. Several other PBs as well.

Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
27 days ago

Oh, and a NAG for Wigginton!
(No NAGs for 50 strokes)

Bo Swims
Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
27 days ago

Lepage is Calgary bound after this.

Reply to  Bo Swims
27 days ago

For university?

Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
27 days ago


Colin edwards
27 days ago

I believe the second swimmer for Canada with 1.59 was Sienna Angove

27 days ago

Love you Sommerville ❤️❤️

27 days ago

Perkins swam faster than the top entry time and she’s not even entered individually in the 200. Real shame she was injured earlier in the year

Reply to  Sub13
27 days ago

Possibly why she got the lead-off leg of relay, to at least post a cracking swim under pressure. Good on her.

Reply to  Sub13
27 days ago

Like the breast…..Toohey is clearly the fastest Junior now…But she’s only came on lately.
It’s all about progression rather than gold.
Perkins does look like she’s on another level. Come next year, she may be looking at a relay spot for a small swimming meet in Paris.

Anything but 50 BR
Reply to  Sub13
27 days ago

Isn’t the top entry time 1:58.09?

Reply to  Anything but 50 BR
27 days ago

Perkins pb 1:57:34 from Pan Pacs. Was still injured when she raced the selection trials & unfortunately missed an individual spot in the 200 free

Reply to  Sluggos
27 days ago

I don’t think she was still injured was she? She was just not long back in full training.

Reply to  Anything but 50 BR
27 days ago

It is. She would’ve been 2nd.

27 days ago

just FYI hte championship record is 30.35. the time Pilato set in the heats in 2019 at world juniors

Reply to  dave
27 days ago

sorry in 2013 in Dubai Ruta Meilutyte clocked 29.86 which is the actual championship record )