Euro Juniors Day 5 Prelims: GBR’s Matthew Ward Holds Steady In 100 Back


Day five of the 2023 European Junior Swimming Championships brought the heat, as the boys’ and girls’ lineups included speedy events such as the 100m free and 50m fly this morning in Belgrade.

Lorenzo Ballarati of Italy put up the quickest boys’ 100m free time of the prelims, punching a mark of 49.83. However, Hungary’s Boldizar Magda was only .06 behind in 49.89 to claim the 2nd seed while Romania’s Patrick-Sebastian Dina clocked 50.05 as the 3rd seed.

Ballarati is gunning for the sprint double, having already claimed the gold here in the 50m freestyle last night in a time of 22.56. His time this morning already represents a lifetime best, overtaking his previous PB of 49.98 hit just last month.

Denmark’s Casper Puggaard will also try to accumulate more hardware, as the 18-year-old topped the boy’s 50m fly heats. The Dane who already earned gold in the 100m fly produced an AM outing of 24.10 in this shorter race, holding a .24 advantage over Spain’s Teo Del Riego who touched in 24.34.

Puggaard’s teammate Martine Damborg led the girls’ 50m fly field, posting a time of 26.70 as the sole competitor under the 27-second threshold. Damborg already took silver in the 100m fly on day 3 of the competition.

For Damborg, her morning swim checks in as her career-quickest, slicing .08 off her PB of 26.78 put up in April of this year.

Poland’s Paulina Cierpialowska notched a time of 27.06 this morning while 100m fly victor Lana Pudar of Bosnia & Herzegovina lurks as the 6th seed in 27.06.

Yet another Dane notched a top seed, as Jonas Gaur hit the fastest time in the boys’ 100m breaststroke. Gaur, who already earned gold in the 50m breast, logged 1:02.56 and will be chased by two Dutchmen in this evening’s semi-final.

Steijn Louter and Cas Verstegen, both of the Netherlands, produced times of 1:02.57 and 1:02.90, respectively, to flank Gaur. Louter was the 200m breaststroke gold medalist last night.

Matthew Ward of Great Britain has one medal under his belt, having earned bronze in the 50m back. He’s staked his claim on the 100m back event, registering a morning mark of 54.96 as the sole swimmer under 55 seconds. The teen’s time is already just .10 off of his best-ever 54.86 logged this past April at the British Championships.

Italy has 2 contenders in the race in Christian Baco (55.33) and Daniele Del Signore (55.55), while the 50m back champion here, Miroslav Knedla and the 50m back silver/200m back gold medalist, Oleksandr Zheltyakov of Ukraine, are ready to rumble.

Knedla notched 55.59 for a casual morning outing while Zheltyakov was right behind in 55.72.

Additional Top Seeds

  • Romania’s Daria-Marluca Silisteanu topped the girls’ 100m back in a morning swim of 1:01.80.
  • Breaststroke ace Eneli Jefimova of Estonia claimed the 50m breast gold here but was relegated to silver in the 200m distance. She’ll try to rebound in the 100m, taking the top seed in 1:08.47. France’s 200m breast champion Justine Delmas is circling as the 6th seed in 1:09.74.
  • Great Britain’s Leah Schlosshan set herself up nicely to defend her 200m IM title, scoring the top seed in 2:15.43. Her British teammate Phoebe Cooper was less than a second behind this morning in 2:16.25 as the 2nd-seeded swimmer.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 months ago

The picture shows the 200 IM podium (Knedla in the middle, Mantegazza and Ward at his sides) not the trio of medalists in the 50 backstrokes.
In the 100 free heats, 14 year-old Juska swam 50.52. If he was a Usa boy that would have been the new Nag record in the 13-14 years category.

4 months ago

Tajus Juska, a 14yo Lithuanian went 50.52 to qualify for semi-finals in the 100free. What an animal

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.

Read More »