2023 WORLD JUNIOR SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- September 4 – 9, 2023
- Netanya, Israel
- Wingate Institute
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- How To Watch
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
- Day 1 Prelims Live Recap | Day 1 Finals Live Recap
- Day 2 Prelims Live Recap| Day 2 Finals Live Recap
- Day 3 Prelims Live Recap | Day 3 Finals Live Recap
- Day 4 Prelims Live Recap | Day 4 Finals Live Recap
- Day 5 Prelims Live Recap | Day 5 Finals Live Recap
- Day 6 Prelims Live Recap
- Day 6 Finals Heat Sheet (Start List)
Can you believe it? The final session of the 2023 World Junior Championships in Netanya, Israel is here. It’s been a great week of racing by many of the top junior swimmers from around the world, and tonight’s session will surely be no different. Tonight’s session is a busy one, so be prepared, because we have finals of 11 events tonight.
DAY 6 FINALS EVENT SCHEDULE
- Boys 100 Freestyle – Final
- Girls 200 Breaststroke – Final
- Boys 200 Backstroke – Final
- Girls 100 Butterfly – Final
- Boys 1500 Freestyle – Fastest Heat (Timed Final)
- Girls 50 Freestyle – Final
- Boys 200 Butterfly – Final
- Boys 50 Breaststroke – Final
- Girls 200 Freestyle – Final
- Boys 4×100 Medley Relay – Final
- Girls 4×100 Medley Relay – Final
Kicking things off is the boys 100 free final, where American Maximus Williamson comes in as the top seed. Williamson swam a 49.38 in last night’s semifinals to earn that top seed for tonight. Of note, he led off the American mixed 4×100 free relay in 48.38 the other day, so be sure to keep an eye on him. Another interesting thread: Williamson’s 48.38 on the relay made him the fastest American 18-and-under of all-time, however, because it came on a mixed relay, it can’t count as a NAG Record for 17-18 boys. We’ll see if Williamson can officially break the NAG tonight.
After a great swim in the 800 free a few days ago, Turkey’s Kuzey Tuncelli comes in as the top seed in the boys 1500 free timed final tonight. The Championship Record in the event stands at 14:46.09, a little more than 8 seconds under Tuncelli’s seed time of 14:54.16.
Australian Olivia Wunsch is the top seed in the girls 50 free by a nice margin tonight. After winning the 100 free earlier in the meet, and throwing down a blistering 52.61 split on the 4×100 medley relay anchor last night, we’ll see what Wunsch has in the tank for a pure sprint like the 50. She was just 0.01 seconds off the Championship Record with her 24.60 in semifinals last night, so keep a very close eye on that.
BOYS 100 FREESTYLE – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 46.86 – David Popovici (ROU), 2022
- Championship Record: 47.07 – David Popovici (ROU), 2022
- 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 48.34
- ‘B’ Standard: 48.58
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 50.40
- Maximus Williamson (USA) — 48.45
- Lorenzo Ballarati (ITA) — 49.05
- Edward Sommerville (AUS) — 49.16
- Davide Passafaro (ITA) — 49.42
- Vlaho Nenadic (CRO) — 49.50
- Nikoli Matthew Harold Blackman (TTO) — 49.54
- Pedro Sansone (BRA) — 49.67
- Filip Senc-Samardzic (CAN) — 50.09
Maximus Williamson got things started in the last session of the meet by winning the boys’ 100 freestyle. Williamson has been on fire for the United States this week, and he took gold here in 48.45. That’s just off the 48.38 he swam leading off the mixed freestyle relay earlier in the week, but since that was on a mixed relay, it’s this swim that will stand as the boys’ 17-18 NAG. Williamson got under Jonny Kulow‘s mark from earlier this year by two-hundredths.
Williamson won the race by more than a half second and was the only swimmer sub-49. Italy’s Lorenzo Ballarati swam a big personal best for silver, dropping seven-tenths from the 49.75 he swam at European Juniors.
Edward Sommerville, who helped Australia to a world junior record in the mixed 4×100 free relay, made it 3-for-3 best times on the podium. Sommerville clocked 49.16 to easily snag the final spot on the podium. That undercuts the 49.53 he swam in semifinals for a new PB.
GIRLS 200 BREASTSTROKE – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 2:19.64 – Viktoria Gunes, Turkey (2015)
- Championship Record: 2:19.64 – Viktoria Gunes, Turkey (2015)
- 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 2:23.91
- ‘B’ Standard: 2:24.63
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 2:37.28
- Alexanne Lepage (CAN) — 2:24.70
- Mina Nakazawa (JPN) — 2:25.57
- Eneli Jefimova (EST) — 2:26.29
- Nayara Pineda (ESP) — 2:26.50
- Sieun Park (KOR) — 2:26.64
- Francesca Zucca (ITA) — 2:28.86
- Amaris Peng (CAN) — 2:29.38
- Brigitta Vass (ROU) — 2:31.40
After pulling off the upset in the 100 breaststroke, Alexanne Lepage doubled down by taking the win in the 200. Lepage’s final 50 was what won her the 100 breast title and it did the same here; Lepage was second to Mina Nakazawa after the final turn, but split 36.88 to come from behind for the win.
Lepage’s 2:24.70 is a huge personal best for her and also a new 15-17 Canadian NAG, lowering Mary-Sophie Harvey‘s mark from 2017. She broke 2:30 for the first time with her 2:27.24 in prelims, but before that her best stood at 2:30.74 from June’s Mel Zajac Invitational. Over the course of the meet, she’s dropped 6.04 seconds, continuing to show that her improvement trajectory is no joke. We said after her 100 breaststroke win it seemed that Canada had found their female breaststroker, and Lepage’s win here only reinforces that idea.
Nakazawa, who led the race through the middle 100, held on for silver in 2:25.57, taking over two seconds off her prelims time. Rounding out the podium was Eneli Jefimova. By earning bronze, Jefimova has made the podium in all three breaststroke events. This week, she won the 50 breaststroke and took silver in the 100 after setting championship records earlier in the rounds of both events.
BOYS 200 BACKSTROKE – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 1:55.14 – Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia (2017)
- Championship Record: 1:56.05 – Pieter Coetze, South Africa (2022)
- 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 1:57.50
- ‘B’ Standard: 1:58.09
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 2:05.71
- Oleksandr Zheltiakov (UKR) — 1:56.13
- Daniel Diehl (USA) — 1:58.93
- Christian Bacico (ITA) — 1:59.33
- Aiden Norman (CAN) — 2:00.75
- Ivan Martinez Sota (ESP) — 2:00.89
- Caleb Maldari (USA) — 2:01.44
- Daniele de Signore (ITA) — 2:02.14
- Alexander John Foreman (AUS) — 2:02.16
Oleksandr Zheltiakov won his second gold of the meet in the boys’ 200 backstroke. Zheltiakov has had a strong week; collecting gold in the 100/200 back, silver in the 50 back, and breaking three Ukranian records. He led this race from start to finish, opening in a 56.44 before coming home in 59.69 for a final time of 1:56.13. That’s just off the Ukrainian record 1:55.79 he swam at this summer’s European Juniors.
The podium picture actually stayed the same through the race, as Daniel Diehl and Christian Bacico stayed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, for the duration of the race. On the American national scene, Diehl is mostly known for his backstroke prowess. But, this is his first backstroke podium of the meet, as he’s had an up and down meet with his biggest successes coming on the relays.
Christian Bacico continued a strong meet for Italy, backing up his 100 back bronze by earning the same here in the 200. He clocked 1:59.33 for third and was the only one besides Zheltiakov and Diehl to break 2:00. The time is just off his 1:59.18 best from earlier this year.
GIRLS 100 BUTTERFLY – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 56.43 – Claire Curzan (USA), 2021
- Championship Record: 57.25 – Rikako Ikee (JPN), 2017
- 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 57.92
- ‘B’ Standard: 58.21
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 1:02.10
- Lana Pudar (BIH) — 57.77
- Leah Shackley (USA) — 58.29
- Mizuki Hirai (JPN) — 58.35
- Bailey Hartman (USA) — 58.44
- Doyeon Kim (KOR) — 58.94
- Ella Jansen (CAN) — 59.23
- Isabella Boyd (AUS) — 59.62
- Victoria Raymond (CAN) — 59.73
Lana Pudar led the girls’ 100 butterfly from start to finish to claim her second individual gold of the meet. Like Jefimova and Zheltiakov, she’s now three-for-three in podiums for the week in her respective stroke. Pudar clocked 26.51 on the first 50, opening a .35 second gap over the field.
She extended that lead on the back half of the race, splitting 31.26 on the way home to stop the clock at 57.77. The time’s about a second off her personal best (56.95), but it was more than enough for her to win the race as she was the only swimmer sub-58.
Leah Shackley made her move on the second 50, splitting 31.31 to pass Mizuki Hirai and earn silver. Shackley was off her personal best as well, but she was faster than semifinals and was able to get her hands on the wall six-hundredths ahead of Hirai. Hirai rounded out the podium in 58.35, keeping herself ahead of 4th place Bailey Hartman and breaking up another podium with two U.S. swimmers. 58.35 also appears to be a new personal best for Hirai.
Hartman also swam a personal best for 4th in 58.44, taking five-hundredths off the mark she set in semifinals.
BOYS 1500 FREESTYLE – FASTEST HEAT (TIMED FINAL)
- World Junior Record: 14:46.09 – Franko Grgic, Croatia (2019)
- Championship Record: 14:46.09 – Franko Grgic, Croatia (2019)
- 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 15:00.99
- ‘B’ Standard: 15:05.49
- Kuzey Tuncelli (TUR) — 14:59.80
- Junwoo Kim (KOR) — 15:01.94
- Zhang Zhanshou (CHN) — 15:11.94
- Ryo Nakamitsu (JPN) — 15:13.00
- Vlad Stancu (ROU) — 15:16.04
- Luke Ellis (USA) — 15:18.94
- Emir Batur Albayrak (TUR) — 15:21.96
- Timothe Barbeau (CAN) — 15:23.50
Kuzey Tuncelli sweeps the distance events at 2023 World Juniors, adding 1500 freestyle gold to the 800 free title he earned this week. It was Junwoo Kim who took the race out first, though. Kim, who turned 15-years-old yesterday, had a gap as big as about two seconds on Tuncelli during the first 500m of the race.
Tuncelli began to slowly close the gap, and made his move at the 800, coming level with Kim and then passing him over the next 100 meters. Kim didn’t let Tuncelli get completely out of sight, but he never got close enough to challenge him for gold again. Tuncelli clocked 14:59.80 to take the win, while Kim dropped a lifetime best 15:01.94 for silver.
Behind those two, the race was for bronze, as Zhang Zhanshou used a stronger closing 500 to pass Ryo Nakamitsu. and take the final spot on the podium un 15:11.94. Nakamitsu finished fourth in 15:13.00, dropping over 10 seconds from the 15:24.30 personal best he swam at Mare Nostrum.
GIRLS 50 FREESTYLE – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 24.17 – Claire Curzan (USA), 2021
- Championship Record: 24.59 – Rikako Ikee (JPN), 2017
- 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 24.70
- ‘B’ Standard: 24.82
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 26.44
- Olivia Wunsch (AUS) — 24.59 *= CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD*
- Annam Olasewere (USA) — 24.95
- Hannah Casey (AUS) — 25.07
- Sara Curtis (ITA) — 25.15
- Caroline Larsen (USA) — 25.26
- Lillian Slusna (SVK)/Zoe Pedersen (NZL) — 25.59
- Seoa Lee (KOR) — 25.70
After a week of fast swims including a 52.61 free relay split, Olivia Wunsch showed she’s got something left in the tank for this final session. She knocked another hundredth off her personal best in the 50 free, tying Rikako Ikee‘s championship record of 24.59 to win gold.
It’s her fourth gold of the meet, as she won the 100 free and was a part of two title winning relays for Australia. Coming into the meet, Wunsch’s personal best was 24.85 from April 2023, marking a .26 second drop for her in the event at this meet. Her teammate Hannah Casey made it two Australians on the podium, touching third in 25.07, eight-hundredths ahead of Italy’s Sara Curtis.
Sandwiched between the two Aussies is Annam Olasewere. Olasewere broke 25 seconds for the second time at this meet, tying the 24.95 she went in semifinals for the silver medal. The time makes her #6 all-time in the American girls’ 15-16 age group. Before the meet, her best was 25.08, which she swam at U.S. Nationals.
BOYS 200 BUTTERFLY – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 1:53.79 – Kristof Milak, Hungary (2017)
- Championship Record: 1:53.87 – Kristof Milak, Hungary (2017)
- 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 1:55.78
- ‘B’ Standard: 1:56.36
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 2:02.21
- Wang Xizhe (CHN) — 1:56.22
- Petar Mitsin (BUL) — 1:56.73
- Alessandro Ragaini (ITA) — 1:57.79
- Andrea Camozzi (ITA) — 1:57.92
- Bill Dongfang (CAN) — 1:58.44
- Drew Hitchcock (USA) — 1:58.61
- Kevin Zhang (CAN) — 1:58.97
- Samuel Kostal (SVK) — 2:00.08
After taking silver in the 100 fly, Wang Xizhe upgraded to gold in the 200. Wang was 6th at the 50-meter mark, turning in 26.62 while Petar Mitsin led the field in 26.02. Wang moved through the field on the middle 100, turning 5th at the halfway point (56.83) and 4th at the 150.
Then, he stormed home in 28.94, charging through the field and catching Mitsin, who’d been leading for the whole race. At the wall, Wang touched a half-second ahead of Mitsin, winning gold in 1:56.22 while Mitsin took silver in 1:56.73. It’s a new personal best for him, bettering the 1:57.84 he swam in April 2023.
Wang’s 28.94 split was the only sub-29 closing split in the field, and Alessandro Ragaini was the only other person to go sub-30. His split powered him from 6th at the 150 onto the podium in third and marked his first time under 1:58. He out-touched his teammate Andrea Camozzi for the final spot on the podium, and Camozzi took fourth in 1:57.92.
BOYS 50 BREASTSTROKE – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 26.97 – Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA), 2017
- Championship Record: 26.98 – Felix Viktor Iberle (INA), 2023
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 29.03
- Felix Viktor Iberle (INA) — 27.39
- Jonas Gaur (DEN) — 27.55
- Watson Nguyen (USA) — 27.85
- Joshua Chen (USA) — 28.15
- Yamoto Okadome (JPN) — 28.28
- Arsen Kozhakhmetov (KAZ) — 28.35
- Xavier Yamil Ruiz (PUR) — 28.48
- Gideon Patrick Burns (AUS) — 29.28
Felix Viktor Iberle set a championship record in prelims of the 50 breaststroke, missing the world junior record by a hundredth. He didn’t near that time in the final, but his 27.39 was more than enough for him to claim the world junior title. By winning gold, it looks like Iberle has given Indonesia their first ever World Juniors medal.
Iberle touched .16 seconds ahead of Denmark’s Jonas Gaur, who earned silver in 27.55. It’s a best for Gaur by two-hundredths, bettering the 27.57 he swam at European Juniors. Watson Nguyen earned his second individual bronze of the meet, rounding out the sub-28 swims with a 27.85. It’s another personal best for Nguyen, who broke 28 seconds for the first time in his career at this meet.
The United States went 3-4 in the event, with 100 breast champion Joshua Chen touching in 28.15.
GIRLS 200 FREESTYLE – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 1:53.65 – Summer McIntosh, Canada (2023)
- Championship Record: 1:57.08 – Taylor Ruck, Canada (2017)
- 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Standard: 1:57.26
- ‘B’ Standard: 1:57.85
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 2:03.92
- Addison Sauickie (USA) — 1:58.09
- Julie Brousseau (CAN) — 1:58.10
- Leah Hayes (USA) — 1:58.19
- Amelia Weber (AUS) — 1:58.67
- Ella Jansen (CAN) — 1:59.18
- Daria Golovaty (ISR) — 1:59.52
- Matilde Biagiotti (ITA) — 2:00.58
- Hannah Casey (AUS) — 2:00.90
In the final individual event of 2023 World Juniors, we were treated to one of the closest races of the week. Hannah Casey led the field around at the 50, but by the 100, Leah Hayes had taken over the lead (56.98), ahead of Casey (57.04) and Addison Sauickie (57.26).
With a 29.99 split on the third 50, Hayes still led with 50 meters to go. Casey had fallen back to 7th, but Sauickie was still hunting in 2nd, and Ella Jansen had moved into 3rd with a 30.48 split.
It was chaos on the final 50 meters, as Hayes fought to hold onto the lead with Sauickie pushing her. And, seemingly out of nowhere, Julie Brousseau was charging. Brousseau was seventh at the 100, and 5th at the 150, but she found another gear on the last 50 and vaulted into medal contention.
Sauickie, Brousseau, and Hayes were bunched up in the closing meters of the race, and it was a challenge to know who was getting what medal. It was Sauickie at the touch, taking gold in 1:59.08, just a hundredth ahead of Brousseau, who’d closed in a massive 30.07.
Hayes earned bronze in 1:58.19, ahead of Amelia Weber, who passed Jansen on the last 50 and finished 4th with a 1:58.67.
All three swimmers on the podium posted lifetime bests, bettering times all in the mid-1:58 range.
BOYS 4×100 MEDLEY RELAY – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 3:33.19 – Russia (2019)
- Championship Record: 3:33.19 – Russia (2019)
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 3:50.36
- USA (Diehl, Chen, Wimberly, Williamson) — 3:35.98
- Italy (Bacico, Mantegazza, Momoni, Passafaro) — 3:38.00
- China (Jiang, Zhang, Wang, Ji) — 3:39.81
- Japan — 3:39.94
- Australia — 3:40.07
- Kazakhstan — 3:40.16
- Korea — 3:40.97
- Spain — 3:41.70
Bacico gave Italy the lead with a 54.29 backstroke lead-off. However, the U.S. wasn’t too far behind thanks to Diehl’s 54.37, and Chen quickly took over the lead for the Americans, splitting 1:00.25. The U.S. didn’t give up the lead, and earned a sweep of the boys’ relays with a final time of 3:35.98.
On the back half, Jacob Wimberly split 53.79 and Williamson put an exclamation point on his meet by firing off a 47.57 anchor. It’s his fastest split of the meet, betting the 47.7s he put up earlier in the meet. The split wouldn’t have looked out of place at senior Worlds in Fukuoka; in fact, it’s faster than Jack Alexy split on the U.S. 4×100 free relay (though he did go on to split 47.00 later in the meet). Less than a year out from Paris 2024, Williamson has announced himself as a real threat for the Olympic team.
Bacico’s lead-off gave Italy a strong start and after the U.S. passed them, they held onto 2nd for the rest of the race. Christian Mantegazza (1:01.87), Daniele Momoni (53.27), and Davide Passafaro (48.57) combined with Bacico for an overall time of 3:38.00, comfortably ahead of China, who grabbed bronze.
China was 4th after backstroke, and fell to 8th after the breaststroke leg. But fresh off a win in the 200 fly, Wang put up a massive 52.05 fly split–half a second off Wang Changhao‘s split in Fukuoka–propelling them back into the race and ahead of Australia. Then, Ji Yicun anchored in 49.33, passing both Japan and Kazakhstan for the final spot on the podium.
Sommerville passed the Kazakhstan squad on the freestyle leg, giving the Aussies 5th place (3:40.07), while Japan kept ahead of them and finished 4th (3:39.94), just .13 seconds behind China.
GIRLS 4×100 MEDLEY RELAY – FINAL
- World Junior Record: 3:58.38 – Canada (2017)
- Championship Record: 3:58.38 – Canada (2017)
- Time for 8th at 2022 World Jr Champs: 4:23.50
- Australia (Barclay, Mackinder, Boyd, Wunsch) — 4:00.86
- Canada (Lloyd, Lepage, Jansen, Angove) — 4:01.96
- Italy (Gorlier, Zucca, Borelli, Curtis) — 4:03.34
- Japan — 4:03.51
- Spain — 4:06.32
- Hong Kong — 4:09.09
Disqualified: USA, New Zealand
There was a bit of chaos in the last event of World Juniors, as both the U.S. and New Zealand were disqualified for their relay exchanges. The U.S. butterflier had a reaction time of -.17 and New Zealand’s freestyler had a reaction time of -.10, both well over the -.03 limit.
When the dust settled, it was Australia at the top of the podium, as Jaclyn Barclay, Hayley Mackinder, Isabella Boyd, and Wunsch combined for a title-winning 4:00.86. Barclay put Australia in the lead with a 1:00.17 lead-off. Mackinder (1:08.63) and Boyd (59.33) kept them in the hunt, and Wunsch dove in for the anchor in third. She split 52.71, another huge split for the rising star and just off the 52.6 she split earlier in the meet.
After Delia Lloyd opened in 1:01.51 for the Canadians, Lepage split 1:07.04, pulling them into second place at the halfway mark. On the back half, Jansen (58.40) and Angove (55.01) held that position in the race, earning silver for Canada in 4:01.96 to close out the meet.
The Italian team of Giada Gorlier (1:01.59), Francesca Zucca (1:07.35), Paolo Borrelli (59.57), and Sara Curtis (54.83) combined for bronze in 4:03.34.