Bulgaria’s Petar Mitsin On 400 Free WJR: “I Can’t Explain How Happy I Am”


The 2023 European Junior Championships wrapped up last night from Belgrade, Serbia with the nation of Italy topping the overall medal table, as well as claiming the LEN Trophy.

The final day of action brought a World Junior Record and multiple national records as teens from throughout Europe tried to capitalize on their last racing opportunities.

Leah Schlosshan of Great Britain earned her nation’s first gold en route to taking the girls’ 200m IM event. Schlosshan successfully repeated as title-winner in the event from 2022, stopping the clock this time around in 2:12.41, a new meet record.

On her performance, the Brit told LEN,  “I am really happy I was able to defend my title from last year.

“It’s just a tiny bit off my best time, but I’m happy with the swim. This result shows that my training is consistent. The Olympics is in the next year, so I will continue my training, I will see what I am able to do next year.”

Hungary’s Lora Fanni Komoroczy topped the girls’ 100m backstroke podium, producing a winning result of 1:01.10 in the extremely tight race.

“I was really hurting and it was so long, but I am super happy, because last year I finished in the 4th position, now I could win this event,” Komoroczy told LEN.

“I do not know how I did it. My team’s cheering gave me huge support! I said to myself I can’t swim slow, because they are here and cheering for me.”

Oleksandr Zheltyakov continued his tear across the boys’ backstroke events, doubling up on his 200m back gold with a victory in the 100m sprint. The 18-year-old upgraded his silver from last year to gold here in Belgrade, notching a mark of 54.18 to get to the wall first.

Post-race, Zheltyakov said, “I am feeling so excited because it’s very hard and I was so tired mentally and physically after the 200m backstroke, so I’m really happy. I’ve won two golds and it’s been an amazing competition.”

16-year-old phenom out of Estonia, Eneli Jefimova also doubled up on victories, adding a 100m breast gold to her 50m breast win from earlier in the competition.

Jefimova scorched the field in a result of 1:06.81, producing the sole outing under the 1:07 barrier.

“To be honest the last few days were really tough for me, but I’m really happy I won the 100m breaststroke (in a row) at the European Junior Championships,” Jefimova told LEN. “I want to say thank you to everyone who was watching and supporting me.”

Hungary saw its 18-year-old ace Boldizsar Magda take the boys’ 100m freestyle narrowly over runner-up Davide Passafaro of Italy. Magda notched 49.52 for the win while Passafaro was relegated to silver in 49.63.

Magda stated, “My heart rate was in the sky before the race, I really wanted to swim this 100m free.

“In the semis, the 100m free was so easy for me. In the final, it was already very close, five of us came under fifty, everyone was tactical – they analyzed each other’s swims. But I won, the fruits of a lot of work finally ripened.”

Jonas Gaur was another standout across the entire competition, with the Dane reaping gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events. The 100m distance landed on the last day where Gaur hit a new lifetime best of 1:01.78.

“Absolutely incredible atmosphere from my team and the whole crowd here and it’s been such a pleasure to race here this week,” said Gaur. “I’ve exceeded my expectations as I didn’t expect to win the 100m and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

17-year-old senior European champion Lana Pudar couldn’t have asked for a better meet, with the Bosnia & Herzegovina athlete capping off her tremendous competition with a new meet record in the 50m fly.

Pudar clinched the top spot in a mark of 26.10, a new lifetime best and BIH national record.

The teen commented after her swim, “I really wanted to complete the three gold medals (in the butterfly events) and after three years I finally did it and I’m so happy that in all three events I broke a championship record, that’s amazing.

“I’m really happy with these results and so excited for the World Championships coming because I think I can swim even better.”

Hungary’s Nikolett Padar pulled out the upset in the girls’ 400m freestyle to finish off her individual events. The winner of the 200m free beat out favorite Merve Tuncel of Turkey, with the former touching in 4:08.06 to the latter’s 4:10.44.

“I’m very happy,” Padar told LEN. “In my mind, I focused on this during the entire European Championships, so that it would be successful.

“I swam a huge personal best, so I’m very happy! I am very happy that I managed to beat Merve Tuncel. I really just wanted to go all the way with her, and then in the last hundred I felt that I could catch him – my legs kicked in and I won!”

Petar Mitsin rocked a new World Junior Record en route to topping the boys’ 400m freestyle podium.

The 17-year-old Bulgarian ripped a monster time of 3:44.31 to now rank 4th in the world on the season.

On his performance, Mitsin said,  “I can’t explain how happy I am, all the training, I’m so happy it all finally paid off and I want to say something to everyone – trust in god, believe in god and he will help you every time.

“I just trust the process and training and I’m getting better results. I think I will make new records. The next step is a great weekend rest and then continue training. I will celebrate with my family, close friends, coach and everyone from the Bulgarian swimming federation.”

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Andre Manov
7 months ago

Ian Thorpe age of 17 swam 3.41 in Sydney. Why this is world record-3.44

7 months ago

Nicely done! An impressive time for a 17 year old. Good luck at the Worlds!

Greta Georgieva
7 months ago

Congrats, Pepi !!! Bulgaria is proud of you!! Go forward for more!!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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