Estonia Announces 7 Pool, 3 Open Water Swimmers for World Championships

Estonia has announced a roster of 7 pool swimmers and 3 open water swimmers that will participate in the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships later this month in Gwangju, South Korea. Pool swimming will take place from July 21st through 28th, while open water runs from July 13th-19th.

That’s an increase in both categories from the 6 pool swimmers and 2 open water swimmers that the country sent to the 2017 Championships.

Estonia has never medaled, and only had one finalist in pool swimming, in long course World Championship history: that being Jana Kolukanova, who was 8th in the 50 free at the 2005 event. The country has a lot of momentum, however, with that mostly coming from Tallinn-based SK Garant under the leadership of Dmitri Kapelin.

This past weekend in Budapest, his swimmers broke 4 National Records in just 3 days. All 3 swimmers responsible for those records – Daniel Zaitsev (50 fly), Martin Allikvee (100 breast, 200 breast), and Maria Romanjuk (200 breast), will swim at the World Championships.

Kregor Zirk, who set National Records in the 200 free (1:48.62), 400 free (3:51.54), and 200 fly (1:59.45) earlier this year at the Swim Open Stockholm, will also swim at Worlds, as will Aleksa Gold, who in April set the Estonian Record in the 200 back (2:13.48).

Estonia didn’t have even a semi-finalist at Worlds in 2017, but they might in 2019: Allikvee’s best time of 2:10.63 would have made the semi-finals (qualifying 14th) in the last edition.

In open water, 28-year old veteran Merle Liivand will swim the 5km and 10km races in her 2nd-straight World Championships. She’ll be joined by 2 newcomers to the event: Rinel Pius, who has raced at the European Junior Championships, will swim the 10km race, while international newcomer Sander Paavo will swim the 5k.

Pool swimming:



Open Water:


  • Sander Paavo
  • Rinel Pius


  • Dmitri Kapelin
  • Tom Ruston
  • Team leader/coach -Mihhail Srungar
  • Open Water coach /team leader – Jaana Liivand

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Glenn Mills
4 years ago

Have a great competition Merle! Go Estonia!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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