Daniel Zaitsev Beats Ilya Kharun in 50 Fly Swim-Off, Kharun Ties World Junior Record


In a 50 butterfly swim-off to determine who would get the final spot in the event’s final, Estonian Daniel Zaitsev narrowly out-touched Canadian Ilya Kharun

Zaitsev touched in a time of 22.15, just ahead of Kharun’s 22.28. In the semi-finals of the event, the pair tied for 8th with a time of 22.28. 

Both swimmers posted best times with their swims, and broke their respective national records in the event. 

With his performance Zaitsev lowered his own Estonian National Record that he set during the semis, which he will have the chance to break in the event’s final. 

Despite losing the swim-off, Kharun matched his own Canadian and World Junior Record in the event. This marks Kharun’s third time breaking or tying the World Junior Record in as many races, and his fourth time breaking the Canadian Record since the beginning of November. Prior to Kharun’s World Junior Record tear, that record stood at a 22.34 that Russian Andrei Minkanov set back in 2020. The previous Canadian Record was a 22.52 that was set by Josh Liendo at the 2021 edition of these Championships. 

Notably, this meet marks Kharun’s first senior level international competition, along with his first time representing Canada at a major international competition. Kharun lives and trains in the US with the Sandpipers of Nevada. However, after being removed from the US Junior Pan Pacs roster due to issues with his citizenship status, it was revealed that he was born in Canada. 


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1 year ago

I’m still confused by his citizenship situation. Did his parents just never tell him he was born in Canada? Why was it only a sudden realization this past summer?

Reply to  Swimfan27
1 year ago

We still haven’t gotten a clear answer on that either.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

They really should address it. The longer they go without, the more nefarious I feel it is.

Nathan White probably forbade him from talking about it. Feels like a Nathan White thing to do.

Reply to  CanCanSwimSwam
1 year ago

Given the information that is public, it seems incredibly likely that his parents aren’t in the U.S. legally, which means he wouldn’t be in the U.S. legally either. Announcing that to the press isn’t a wise move.

Former Cirque athletes in Las Vegas, I would have assumed they were on O visas. If they originally entered on O visas and are now out of status, hopefully they’ll be able to adjust them but it will take months and bunch of money, and won’t make Ilya a U.S. citizen for close to a decade.

Reply to  Swimfan27
1 year ago

There was a comment here by someone claiming to be connected to the family that said they were trying to get US citizenship.

Last edited 1 year ago by Troyy

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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