Berke Saka And Mert Kilavuz Lower 200 IM, 1500 Free Turkish Records At Euro Jrs


During day 3 finals at the 2021 European Swimming Championships, Berke Saka and Mert Kilavuz downed the respective Turkish national records in the men’s 200 IM and 1500 freestyles.

Saka was first, hitting a 2:00.04 in the 200 IM to take gold in the final to lower the mark by less than a second from Sanberk Yigit Oktar‘s 2:00.61. Oktar swam that former Turkish record just last month at the 2021 Turkish Summer Championships in Edirne. Oktar was also present in the Euro juniors final and placed 7th overall with a 2:03.51. Saka was joined on the men’s 200 IM podium by Ukraine’s Vadym Naumenko (2:00.65) and Germany’s Cedric Buessing (2:01.84).

Saka’s best time in the 200 IM heading into European Junior Championships was a 2:01.58 which he swam at the 2021 European Championships in May 2021. Saka posted a 2:01.57 in the heats at Euro juniors and then lowered his PB again with a 2:01.11 in the semis before dipping under 2:01 in the final for a new Turkish record.

While Saka didn’t manage to crack the FINA A cut in the 200 IM during the Olympic qualifying period, he did swim under the 200 backstroke standard of 1:57.50 back in April 2021 and is expected to race the event for Turkey in Tokyo.

The second Turkish record to fall during day 3 finals at the 2021 European Junior Swimming Championships was in the men’s 1500 where Mert Kilavuz hit a 15:02.22 to take the gold medal. Kilavuz lowered his own record in the event from a 15:06.42 which he set in February at the 2021 Edirne Cup. Kilavuz’s swim was a significant improvement upon the 15:22.08 that he swam in the prelims of the event on day 2 which gave him 6th seed heading into the final.

Kilavuz was closely followed in the final by Hungary’s David Bethlehem who touched just 0.06 seconds later with a 15:02.08 for silver. Kilavuz’s Turkish teammate Yiğit Aslan earned bronze with a 15:05.08 which was also under the former Turkish record in the event of 15:06.42.

Saka is slated to race one more individual event this week in the form of the men’s 200 backstroke where he’s seeded 2nd with a 1:57.36 to Bulgaria’s 1:56.57 for 1st. Kilavuz also has one swim left at the meet and is entered as top seed in the men’s 800 freestyle with a 7:54.77. The entry times, however, don’t reflect the fact that the current second seed in the 800 freestyle Yigit Aslan (7:55.99) actually broke the Turkish record in the event only a few weeks ago with a 7:51.60 at the 2021 Turkish Summer Nationals.

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1 year ago

Watch out for GT!!