2023 World Junior Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap


The fourth night of finals from the 2023 World Junior Swimming Championships will be another hectic one with 10 events on the docket, eight of which have medals on the line.

American Leah Hayes will be seeking the medley sweep on the girls’ side after winning the 400 IM on opening night, as the 2022 World Championship bronze medalist comes in as the top seed in the 200 IM after cruising to a time of 2:12.19 in the prelims.

Canadian Ella Jansen, the runner-up to Hayes in the 400 IM, will have a busy night as she races the final of the girls’ 400 free as the top seed before taking on Hayes in the 200 IM just 25 minutes later.

Australian Flynn Southam eyes his second individual title in the boys’ 50 free, seeded 1st by a few one-hundredths over Trinidad and Tobago’s Nikoli Blackman, while Ukrainian Oleksandr Zheltyakov will also be eyeing his second victory of the meet in the boys’ 50 back after claiming gold in the 100 earlier on.

Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova is the big favorite in the girls’ 100 breast after breaking the Championship Record in the semis, and the girls’ 50 fly promises to be exciting with the top four seeds separated by less than three-tenths of a second, led by Japan’s Mizuki Hirai and American Leah Shackley.

In the boys’ 200 breast, we’ve got U.S. swimmer Jordan Willis seeded 1st after he clocked a personal best of 2:13.41 in the prelims, with Hong Kong’s Sai Ting Adam Mak close behind in 2:13.74.

The night will conclude with the boys’ 4×200 free relay, where the U.S. will lead off with standout Maximus Williamson and the Aussies will anchor with 200 free champion Southam.

We’ve also got semi-final action in the girls’ 50 back, where Australian Iona Anderson paced the field this morning in 28.16, along with the boys’ 50 fly where 100-meter winner Casper Puggaard is the #1 seed after he was the only one sub-24 in the prelims at 23.73.

Day 4 Finals Schedule

  • Girls’ 50 Backstroke – Semifinals
  • Boys’ 200 Breaststroke – Final
  • Girls’ 50 Butterfly – Final
  • Boys’ 50 Backstroke – Final
  • Girls’ 100 Breaststroke – Final
  • Boys’ 50 Butterfly – Semifinals
  • Girls’ 400 Freestyle – Final
  • Boys’ 50 Freestyle – Final
  • Girls’ 200 IM – Final
  • Boys’ 4×200 Free Relay – Final




  • World Junior Record: 27.49 – Minna Atherton (AUS), 2016
  • Championship Record: 27.81 – Gabrielle Fa’amausili (NZL), 2015
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 29.59
  1. Erika Pelaez (USA), 28.24
  2. Iona Anderson (AUS), 28.26
  3. Jaclyn Barclay (AUS), 28.35
  4. Delia Lloyd (CAN), 28.50
  5. Teagan O’Dell (USA) / Miri Sasaki (JPN), 28.52
  6. Nika Sharafutdinova (UKR), 28.63
  7. Isabelle Gibson (NZL), 28.83

American Erika Pelaez paced the girls’ 50 back semis in a time of 28.24, winning the first heat to claim Lane 4 for tomorrow’s final as she undercuts her previous best time of 28.31 set last year.

Australians Iona Anderson (28.26) and Jaclyn Barclay (28.35) went 1-2 in the following heat to qualify 2nd and 3rd overall, making the top three seeds for the final the same trio we saw on the podium in the 100 back (where Barclay won gold).

Anderson owns a best time of 28.03 set at the Australian Trials in June, while Barclay broke 28 (27.94) back in April.

Canadian Delia Lloyd snagged the 4th seed in a PB of 28.50 to touch 2nd to Pelaez in the opening semi that saw five of the eight finals qualifiers come out of it.

The second U.S. entrant, Teagan O’Dell, positioned herself to take a run at a medal tomorrow by advancing tied for 5th overall in 28.52 alongside Japan’s Miri Sasaki.


  • World Junior Record: 2:08.04 – Dong Zhihao (CHN), 2023
  • Championship Record: 2:09.40 – Josh Matheny (USA), 2019
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 2:09.68
    • ‘B’ Standard: 2:10.33
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 2:18.99
  1. Sai Ting Adam Mak (HKG), 2:11.84
  2. Jordan Willis (USA), 2:12.07
  3. Riku Yamaguchi (JPN), 2:12.13
  4. Park Chanwook (KOR), 2:13.96
  5. Xavier Yamil Ruiz (PUR), 2:14.36
  6. Josh Bey (USA), 2:14.56
  7. Yamato Okadome (JPN), 2:14.90
  8. Finn Kemp (LUX), 2:17.16

Hong Kong’s Sai Ting Adam Mak and American Jordan Willis stormed home over the final 50 meters to run down race leader Riku Yamaguchi and finish 1-2 in the boys’ 200 breast, with Mak getting his hand on the wall first in a new best time of 2:11.84.

Mak and Willis sat 3rd and 4th at the 150-meter mark, but unleashed a pair of 33-mid closing splits to overtake Yamaguchi and American Josh Bey to claim the gold and silver medals.

Mak’s time dips under his previous PB of 2:11.89, set in April, and nears the Hong Kong National Record of 2:11.31.

Willis, who was back in 5th at the 100-meter mark and managed to close with 33.67/33.54 splits, drops more than a second from his best time in 2:12.07 for the silver medal, while Japan’s Yamaguchi, who made his move on the third 50, got out-touched and settles for bronze in 2:12.13.

Bey, who led early alongside Japan’s Yamato Okadome, faded to 6th in 2:14.56.


  • World Junior Record: 25.46 – Rikako Ikee (JPN), 2017
  • Championship Record: 25.46 – Rikako Ikee (JPN), 2017
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 27.41
  1. Leah Shackley (USA), 26.20
  2. Lana Pudar (BIH), 26.26
  3. Olivia Wunsch (AUS) / Mizuki Hirai (JPN), 26.53
  4. Isabella Boyd (AUS), 26.60
  5. Celine Bispo (BRA), 26.64
  6. Lillian Slusna (SVK), 26.74
  7. Bailey Hartman (USA), 26.90

Leah Shackley emerged in a tight race over Lana Pudar to claim gold in the girls’ 50 fly, as the American put up a personal best time of 26.20 to out-touch the 200 fly champion by six one-hundredths of a second.

Shackley, 17, set her previous PB of 26.43 in the semis, and wins her second gold medal of the competition after swimming fly on the victorious U.S. mixed 400 medley relay.

Pudar clocked 26.26 for silver, 16 one-hundredths shy of her Bosnian and Herzegovinian Record of 26.10 set at the European Juniors in July.

Australian Olivia Wunsch tied for the bronze medal alongside Japan’s Mizuki Hirai, as they jointly clocked 26.53, with Aussie Isabella Boyd (26.60) not far behind in 5th.


  • World Junior Record: 24.00 – Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 2018
  • Championship Record: 24.44 – Ksawery Masiuk (POL), 2022
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 26.14
  1. Miroslav Knedla (CZE), 24.80
  2. Oleksandr Zheltyakov (UKR), 24.91
  3. Ulises Saravia (ARG), 25.02
  4. Jiang Chenglin (CHN), 25.14
  5. Yoon Jihwan (KOR), 25.25
  6. Daniel Diehl (USA), 25.33
  7. Jakub Krischke (CZE), 25.39
  8. Christian Bacico (ITA), 25.52

Czech standout Miroslav Knedla continued his run of sub-25 swims to claim the World Junior title in the boys’ 50 backstroke, firing off a time of 24.80 to win gold by just over a tenth.

Knedla, who set a new PB of 24.64 in the semis, gets one back on Oleksandr Zheltyakov, as the Ukrainian won the 100 back over Knedla earlier in the competition.

Zheltyakov was the runner-up in 24.91, setting a new Ukrainian Record which previously stood at 25.09 from Bogdan Kasian in 2019. Zheltyakov’s previous PB stood at 25.10.

Rounding out the podium was Ulises Saravia, who followed up his Argentine Record of 24.95 from the semis by winning the country’s first-ever male medal at World Juniors with bronze in 25.02.

American Daniel Diehl placed 6th in 25.33, having set a lifetime best of 25.22 in the semis.


  • World Junior Record: 1:04.35 – Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), 2013
  • Championship Record: 1:06.23 – Eneli Jefimova (EST), 2023
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 1:06.79
    • ‘B’ Standard: 1:07.12
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 1:10.71
  1. Alexanne Lepage (CAN), 1:06.58
  2. Eneli Jefimova (EST), 1:06.84
  3. Jimena Ruiz (ESP), 1:07.25
  4. Piper Enge (USA), 1:07.29
  5. Francesca Zucca (ITA), 1:07.94
  6. Kotomi Kato (JPN), 1:08.14
  7. Nayara Pineda (ESP), 1:08.79
  8. Park Sieun (KOR), 1:08.88

Canada appears to have found their breaststroker.

In a stunning upset, Alexanne Lepage closed like an absolute freight train to overtake race favorite Eneli Jefimova and win gold in the girls’ 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:06.58, taking more than a second off her previous best time set in the semis (1:07.60).

Lepage, who will turn 18 next month, came into the competition with a lifetime best of 1:09.07, set just over a month ago at the Canadian Championships. She narrowly misses the Canadian 15-17 NAG Record of 1:06.53 set by Amanda Reason in 2009 (Reason swam that time one day after breaking the 50 breast world record).

Jefimova was the one to beat coming into the meet, and that expectation was only heightened after she broke a decade-old Championship Record in the semi-finals in a time of 1:06.23.

In the final, Jefimova led at the 50 in 30.60, 35 one-hundredths quicker than she was in the semis, but ended up faltering a bit down the stretch to touch in 1:06.84, closing in 36.24.

Lepage, on the other hand, turned in 31.66 and then stormed home in 34.92.

Spain’s Jimena Ruiz secured bronze in 1:07.25, having moved up from 5th at the turn with a scorching back-half of her own in 35.09. That marks a new best for the recently-turned 16-year-old who went 1:08.03 in the semis to take out her previous mark of 1:08.31.

American Piper Enge narrowly missed the medals in 4th, touching in 1:07.29 for a new personal best time.


  • World Junior Record: 22.96 – Diogo Ribeiro (POR), 2022
  • Championship Record: 22.96 – Diogo Ribeiro (POR), 2022
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 24.49
  1. Casper Puggaard (DEN), 23.47
  2. Enoch Robb (AUS), 23.87
  3. Lukas Edl (AUT), 23.95
  4. Maxim Skazobtsov (KAZ), 24.00
  5. Szymon Misiak (POL), 24.06
  6. Maro Miknic (CRO), 24.09
  7. Filip Senc-Samardzic (CAN), 24.15
  8. Thomas Pattison (AUS), 24.18

Casper Puggaard further established himself as the favorite for gold in the boys’ 50 fly as the 18-year-old Dane fired off a new personal best time of 23.47 to qualify 1st into the final by four-tenths.

Puggaard chops two-tenths off his previous PB of 23.67, a time he initially set at the 2022 Euro Juniors to win gold and then matched at the same meet this past July to repeat as champion.

Australian Enoch Robb got under the 24-second barrier for the first time to claim the 2nd seed and Lane 5 in the final in 23.87, taking down his old best of 24.17.

Austrian Lukas Edl joined Robb in cracking 24 for the first time in 23.95, qualifying 3rd, while Kazakhstan’s Maxim Skazobtsov will have to wait for the final to try and join the sub-24 club after he went 24.00 for the 4th seed.

Australia was the only nation to put two swimmers into the final, as Thomas Pattison snuck in by taking 8th place in 24.18. American Jacob Wimberly (24.61) was back in 16th.


  • World Junior Record: 3:56.08 – Summer McIntosh (CAN), 2023
  • Championship Record: 4:05.42 – Lani Pallister (AUS), 2019
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 4:07.90
    • ‘B’ Standard: 4:09.14
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 4:19.79
  1. Jamie Perkins (AUS), 4:05.72
  2. Madi Mintenko (USA), 4:08.06
  3. Addison Sauickie (USA), 4:08.94
  4. Ella Jansen (CAN), 4:09.55
  5. Ruka Takezawa (JPN), 4:11.21
  6. Agostina Hein (ARG), 4:11.26
  7. Amelia Weber (AUS), 4:13.29
  8. Julie Brousseau (CAN), 4:13.53

Ella Jansen took the race by the horns and it paid for it dearly coming home, as the Canadian grabbed the early lead in the girls’ 400 free and led through the 300-meter mark before fading off the podium.

It was Australian Jamie Perkins who paced the race perfectly, flipping 2nd to Jansen (2:00.26) at the halfway mark in 2:01.62 before eventually taking over the lead on the penultimate length with relatively consistent splitting.

Perkins, 18, finished things off with the fastest closing 50 in the field (30.33) to win gold in a time of 4:05.72, taking down her previous mark of 4:06.64 set at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacs (where she was the silver medalist).

Perkins also narrowly missed the Championship Record of 4:05.42 set by fellow Aussie Lani Pallister in 2019.

Jansen still had a second and a half on 3rd place at the final turn, but a disastrous 34-flat final 50 cost her a medal as Americans Madi Mintenko (4:08.06) and Addison Sauickie (4:08.94) moved up to grab silver and bronze.

Jansen touched 4th in 4:09.00. She is scheduled to have just 25 minutes before stepping on the blocks for the 200 IM final.

Mintenko and Sauickie set significant lifetime bests, both cracking 4:10 for the first time, while Jansen’s PB stands at 4:07.18 from the Fort Lauderdale Pro Swim in March.


  • World Junior Record: 21.75 – Michael Andrew (USA), 2017
  • Championship Record: 21.75 – Michael Andrew (USA), 2017
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 21.96
    • ‘B’ Standard: 22.07
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 23.07
  1. Nikoli Blackman (TTO), 22.35
  2. Flynn Southam (AUS), 22.43
  3. Lorenzo Ballarati (ITA), 22.47
  4. Mikhail Povaliaev (ISR), 22.59
  5. Davide Passafaro (ITA), 22.66
  6. Javier Nunez (DOM), 22.73
  7. Diggory Dillingham (USA), 22.75
  8. Paul Dardis (CAN), 22.87

The next great Trinidad and Tobago male sprinter appears to have arrived in the form of Nikoli Blackman, as the 18-year-old emerged with gold in the boys’ 50 free in a time of 22.35.

Blackman, who set a best time of 22.33 in the semis, joins the likes of George Bovell and Dylan Carter as TTO swimmers who have found international success in the 50 free, having also won gold at the 2023 Youth Commonwealth Games last month. He is set to join the University of Tennessee this fall.

Aussie Flynn Southam was the runner-up in what was a very tight race, clocking 22.43 after he led the way in the semi-finals in a best time of 22.29.

Italian Lorenzo Ballarati continues his country’s impressive meet by earning bronze in 22.47, as he, like Blackman and Southam, added a bit from the semis where he was 22.38.

Israeli’s Mikhail Povaliaev jumped up to 4th out of Lane 8 in 22.59, a significant swim for the 17-year-old given he came into the meet having never broken 23 seconds.

American Diggory Dillingham added just over two-tenths from the semis in 22.75 to place 7th.


  • World Junior Record: 2:06.89 – Summer McIntosh (CAN), 2023
  • Championship Record: 2:11.03 – Viktoria Gunes (TUR), 2015
  • 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 2:11.47
    • ‘B’ Standard: 2:12.13
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 2:23.74
  1. Leah Hayes (USA), 2:10.24 CR
  2. Haley McDonald (USA), 2:13.18
  3. Julie Brousseau (CAN), 2:13.74
  4. Giulia Vetrano (ITA), 2:14.36
  5. Chiara Della Corte (ITA), 2:14.67
  6. Kamonchanok Kwanmuang (THA), 2:15.43
  7. Ella Jansen (CAN), 2:16.68
  8. Jaimie de Lutiis (AUS), 2:17.95

Leah Hayes stamped her authority on the final of the girls’ 200 IM with a blistering backstroke leg, opening up a near two-second advantage at the halfway mark before coasting to victory in a time of 2:10.24.

Hayes takes down the 10-year-old Championship Record of 2:11.03 set by Viktoria Gunes in 2013, and nears her season-best of 2:10.03 set at the Westmont Pro Swim in March. Hayes was notably faster than U.S. Nationals, where she logged a time of 2:10.42.

Although Hayes was more than a second off her PB of 2:08.91 from the 2022 World Championships, she was only a tenth off of her pace from that swim through the 150 before falling off with a 32.01 closing freestyle split.

Haley McDonald made it a 1-2 for the Americans as the 16-year-old delivered a personal best performance of 2:13.18 to earn the silver medal, fending off a late push from Canadian Julie Brousseau in the process.

Brousseau, who was just 25 minutes out of the 400 free where she placed 8th, closed in 30.70 to claim bronze in 2:13.74, just shy of her 2:13.66 lifetime best set at the Canadian Trials in late March.

Her countrymate Ella Jansen didn’t fare quite as well, as after fading late in the 400 free final, Jansen didn’t have much gas left in the tank and added more than two seconds from the prelims in 2:16.68 to take 7th.

Italy’s Giulia Vetrano had the fastest free split in 30.40, as she progressively moved up over the course of the race after turning 8th at the 50 to take 4th in 2:14.36, having made up nearly two seconds on fifth-place finisher Chiara Della Corte (2:14.67).

Thailand’s Kamonchanok Kwanmuang also had an impressive closing split at 30.80, as she placed 6th in 2:15.43 to fall just shy of her Thai National Record of 2:15.06 set in December 2022.


  • World Junior Record: 7:08.37 – United States, 2019
  • Championship Record: 7:08.37 – United States, 2019
  • Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 7:34.70
  1. United States, 7:09.03
  2. China, 7:13.37
  3. Australia, 7:16.02
  4. Italy, 7:16.25
  5. Canada, 7:20.82
  6. Poland, 7:21.88
  7. Croatia, 7:23.74
  8. Brazil, 7:25.50

The United States cruised to gold in the boys’ 800 free relay as the team got the early advantage thanks to an impressive lead-off from Maximus Williamson and never looked back.

Williamson led off in 1:47.11, dipping under his personal best time of 1:47.29 to move into #8 all-time in the boys’ 17-18 age group, having only turned 17 at the beginning of the meet. The time also would’ve been good for silver in the individual 200 free, an event he didn’t race.

Williamson was followed by Cooper Lucas (1:47.75) and Jason Zhao (1:47.56), who were both much quicker than they were in the individual 200 free (both 1:48-mids), and then Daniel Diehl finished things off with a blistering 1:46.61 anchor, the fastest split in the field and the only under 1:47.

Diehl’s best time from a flat start is nearly three seconds slower at 1:49.53.

China, whose only individual entrant in the 200 free placed 25th, ran away with the silver medal in 7:13.37, thanks to Zhang Zhanshuo shutting the door on Australia’s Flynn Southam on the anchor leg.

Zhang brought the Chinese team home in 1:47.06, the 2nd-fastest split in the field, and he was joined by Wang Xizhe (1:48.05), Ji Yicun (1:49.76) and Liu Wudi (1:48.50).

Ji was the Chinese swimmer in the individual 200 free where he clocked 1:52.86.

The Aussies settled for bronze in 7:16.02, as Anders McAlpine (1:49.17), Edward Sommerville (1:47.91) and Marcus da Silva (1:49.68) had them within 45 one-hundredths of China at the final exchange but Southam (1:49.26) didn’t have it after racing the 50 free final earlier. Southam notably won the 200 free on Day 2 in 1:46.57.

Southam did hold off a hard-charging Filippo Bertoni, however, as the Italian dropped a 1:47.46 anchor split to bring the Italians within a few tenths of the Aussies at the end, ultimately placing 4th in 7:16.25.

The Italians also had a blistering opening leg from 200 free silver medalist Alessandro Ragaini, who was 1:47.24 to slice four one-hundredths off his PB set in the individual race.

Lorne Wigginton had the fastest split among teams in the bottom half of the finishing order, as he anchored in 1:48.28 to move Canada up from 7th at the 600 to 5th in 7:20.82.

Full Splits:


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23 days ago

Genuinely love seeing all these upcoming talent from around the world winning medals. I’m Aussie living in the US and I want to see even more competition from other countries!

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  AussieAussieAussie
23 days ago

Except that World Aquatics made it hard for people around the world to watch their events.

Compare how World Athletics made it free and easy to watch World Athletics Championships and how World Aquatics made it so difficult for most people to watch World Aquatics Championships.

No wonder swimming has never been popular outside Olympics.

Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
23 days ago

World Athletics Champs was only free if you’re country doesn’t have broadcasting rights or you use a VPN.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Troyy
23 days ago

Full free YouTube Livestream of every day.

That’s a million times better than World Aquatics who had ZERO.

World Aquatics has not even uploaded MOST finals to their channel, including some WORLD RECORD swims!

That’s how pathetic they are

World Aquatics is allergic to popularity.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Troyy
23 days ago

I dare you to find Women’s 4×100 free final that produced INCREDIBLE WORLD RECORD in their channel.


They didn’t upload it lmfao.

23 days ago

i don’t understand how china pulled that silver out fr

23 days ago

Id like to see Douglass approach the 2IM like that. She has a world class 100 fly, a fast enough 100 back and world class back end speed as we all know. Id like to see her experiment in that manner, if she hasn’t already in practice.

23 days ago

“Canada appears to have found their breaststroker.” We already found it at World Championships, Sophie Angus split a 1:06 mid in both prelims and finals I believe.

Reply to  phelpsfan
23 days ago

in a relay. she went 1:07 and placed 22nd in prelims at world champs. depending on alexanne’s relay performances later, she has the potential to overtake sophie.

Reply to  avery
23 days ago

Maybe we can have 2 ? 🤷🏻‍♂️

23 days ago

Daniel Diehl’s remark About ‘we’re here to win gold medals’ may have been a little bit too Frank but it certainly resonated well,
I suppose, with lots of people including me.

Fukuoka Gold
23 days ago

Eh I Iike it.

We need elite swimming to become mainstream.

Aloysius Monticello
23 days ago

If Michael Klim shrank in the wash…

23 days ago

Diehl’s backstroke looks off but everything else looks great. Huh.

Reply to  Caleb
23 days ago

His 200s have been great, his 50/100s have not. I wonder if it’s backstroke being off, or shorter distances (50/100) being off. He was well off his 100 free PB as well as 50/100 backs, but did great in 200 IM and 200 FR on the relay. I guess the 200 backstroke will give us that answer of which it is.

HOO love
23 days ago

Bailey Hartman is USA not CAN

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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