There were 9 finals on day 4 of the 2011 FINA Youth World Swimming Championships in Lima, Peru, though 5 of them were quick-and-dirty 50 meter varieties.
Boys 200 breaststroke
Japan can add another great 200 breaststroker to their growing list thanks to Akihiro Yamaguchi’s win at Youth Worlds in 2:11.70. He becomes the 6th Japanese swimmer in the top 25 in the world in this event in 2011 (24th). That also breaks the old Meet Record by over three seconds. The previous mark was held by Russia’s Oleksiy Zinovyev at 2:14.78.
The Ukraine got two on the medal stand with Oleksiy Rozhkov in 2:13.94 and Maksym Shembrev in 2:14.08. The United States’ Chase Kaliz placed 4th in 2:14.13, and each of the top four swimmers was also under the old Meet Record.
Girls 50 fly
This girls 50 fly shaped up to be quite an exciting final, with South Africa’s Vanessa Mohr looking like the favorite with the Meet Record already under her belt. However it was Egypt’s Farida Hisham Osman who took away both the title and the recrod with her win in 26.69. That’s also a new Egyptian Record for the 16-year old who’s the defending African Champion. She was born in Indianapolis (both of her parents are dentists), but still has done much of her training back home in Egypt. It’s unclear if she was still training in Egypt when the unrest in that country broke out, but it doesn’t seem to have negatively affected her results in her best event.
The USA’s Kendyl Stewart peaked at exactly the right instant with a 26.78 career-best to take the silver medal. In three incarnations of these Youth World Championships, Stewart’s is the first ever medal for the Americans in this event, boys or girls.
Vanessa Mohr and Chantal van Landeghem, who I think are the pair with the brightest long-term future, tied for bronze in 26.85.
Boys 50 backstroke
Germany’s Christian Diener didn’t go a best-time in this boys 50 backstroke, but he did continue his dominant tour on the youth scene. After sweeping the backstrokes at European Juniors, he showed a chink in the earlier 100 back (where he didn’t win a medal), but he bounced back for gold in the 50 in 25.59.
The champion of that 100 back, Jacob Pebley of the US, took silver in 25.75. A pair of Italians went 3rd and 4th – Niccolo Bonacchi took bronze in 25.78, followed by teammate Manuel Cofrani just off of the medal stand in 26.13.
Girls 100 breaststroke
Italy’s Lisa Fissneider won the girls 100 breaststroke gold, to add that to her earlier win in the 50, in 1:07.71. That makes her the fastest Italian breaststroker this year and ranks her 16th in the World. That breaks her own mark set the day before in semi-finals at 1:08.47, with Samantha Marshall of Australia holding the record before that in 1:08.72.
Japan’s Kanako Watanabe, who is the favorite to break Fissneider’s streak of wins in the 200, took silver in 1:08.89. At only 14, she was the only swimmer to even semi-final in this race. Russia’s Trina Novikova took bronze in 1:09.10.
No Americans finaled, but their top finisher in the semis was KC Moss in 10th in 1:11.07.
Girls 400 free
After a pair of 4th place finishes in her second-tier races, we’ve been warning for the past several days that a big swim was coming from Canada’s Brittany MacLean in this 400 free. While the time didn’t shudder the World Rankings too badly, the 4:10.32 was good for a career-best by seven-tenths, and brings her overall 2011 drop in this race to over 8 full seconds. The Canadians have really gotten their National programs into shape the last 24-months or so, and things are looking up for them headed to 2012.
Australia’s Bonnie MacDonald took silver in 4:11.86, followed by the United States’ Gillian Ryan in 4:12.28. Ryan was just able to hold off Japan’s Aya Takano, who closed better but just ran out of real estate to finish in 4:12.32. The United States’ Chelsea Chenault finished 5th in 4:12.90.
Boys 50 free
This American-less 50 free final came down to finger-length, with Australia’s Cameron McEvoy (22.69) out-touching Spain’s Aitor Martinez Rodriguez (22.72) for the gold medal. Greece’s Kristian Gkolomeev took bronze in 22.80.
Girls 200 IM
Spain’s Beatriz Gomez Cortes took the girls 200 IM win in 2:13.57, which crushes the old Spanish junior mark held by the great Mireia Belmonte Garcia at 2:14.70.
Japan’s Emu Higuchi took silver in 2:13.96, but she approaches these IM’s a little differently than many of her Japanese National Teammates. Higuchi takes the race out very hard on the front-half – she held a big lead headed into the breaststroke – but fell off of her pace on the third leg. This time, it was Cortes who hammered home the breaststroke in a very fast 37.8 to pull ahead to the win.
Canada yet another medal on the day, their third so far, from Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson, when she took bronze in 2:16.83. That’s a personal-best by over a second for the Pleasanton Seahawks swimmer.
Boys 800 free relay
Earlier in this meet, in the 400 free, Canada got their first Youth Worlds relay medal with a silver. Now, they add to it their first ever Youth Worlds relay title, men’s or women’s, in the 4×200 free relay. The quartet of Alec Page, Keegan Zanatta, Omar Arafa, and Chad Bobrosky. Bobrosky, the individual 200 champion, really pulled this relay away to a victory with an anchor of 1:48.95.
China also got their first Youth Worlds 800 free relay medal with their silver here in 7:23.98. There wasn’t a whole lot of flash on the group, but four solid swims was good enough for 2nd-place. Poland took bronze in 7:24.09. There were several touchpad errors in this race, which is too bad, because the Polish leadoff man Pawel Werner was on pace for a very-fast leadoff before the pads went out. The USA finished outside of the medals, barely, in 7:24.18, including a 1:50.25 anchor from Zach Walters.
Amongst the other four relays in the finals, the most impressive swim was from Russia’s Dmitry Ermakov, who anchored his team to a 6th-place finish in 1:49.57.
- In the girls 50 back semifinals, the Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina continued her hot swimming to break another Meet Record, this one in 28.60. That breaks Grace Loh’s time of 28.83. The United States’ Olivia Smoliga took the 2nd seed in 29.09, followed by Hazal Sarikaya in 29.11.
- Maclin Davis of the US is lined up for another gold medal to go with his 100 fly, thanks to taking the top seed in 24.12. Mihael Vukic of Croatia is close behind in 24.20.