European Juniors Day Two: Records for Backstrokers Christou and Ustinova; Openysheva Doubles

EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Dordrecht, Netherlands – July 9th-13th, 2014
  • The official competition page can be found here
  • The live results can be found here

 

Boys 100 Back

Day Two of the European Junior Championships began with a bang, as Greece’s Apostolos Christou lowered his own World Junior Record in the boys 100 back, set yesterday in the semifinals. He went 54.04, fully .37 better than the 54.41 he went in semis. The previous record-holder, Italy’s Simone Sabbioni, finished second with 54.27. Third place went to Evgeny Rylov of Russia who touched in 54.46. All three were faster than the 54.74 World Junior Record that Sabbioni had established prior to this meet.

It was an exciting race: Christou took it out fastest but Sabbioni had a strong finish and nearly caught him. Russia’s Rylov wasn’t far behind; second at the 50, he was the only other sub-55 at the finish.

Girls 400 Free

The girls 400 free final looked to be a very well-matched group from the outset. They moved together throughout most of the race, and until Arina Openysheva’s dramatic last 50, it was almost anyone’s race.

Four girls took it out under 30, but the Russian Openysheva wasn’t one of them. Four were 1:01-to-1:02-low at the 100; she still wasn’t among the leaders. By the 200 she had moved into the lead, turning at 2:06.94 with Spain’s Paula Ruiz Bravo. Hungary’s Melinda Novoszath nosed past them at the 300 and led by 6/10 at the 350. Openysheva put it into another gear down the final stretch, outsplitting Novoszath by 1.5 seconds with a final 29.47.

The podium consisted of Openysheva (4:12.76), Novoszath (4:13.53), and Daria Mullakaeva of Russia (4:15.31), who had been with the lead pack for most of the race. Mullakaeva got to the wall just ahead of Italy’s Simona Quadarella (4:15.56) and Holly Hibbott of Great Britain (4:15.87). The final three all went 4:16s. It really was a close race.

Girls 200 Fly

Another great race with another monster finish came with Hungarian Adel Juhasz’s 2:10.93 win in the girls 200 fly. Sixth at the 50, fourth at the 100 and 150, Juhasz split a 33-mid on the final 50 to edge out the three who’d been in the lead from the start: Lisa Katharina Hoepink of Germany (finished 5th), Isobel Grant of Great Britain (4th), and Carmen Balbuena Heredia of Spain, who won the silver medal in 2:11.24.

The fastest final 50, though, belonged to Great Britain’s Amelia Clynes, who went from sixth at the 150 to a spot on the podium; she finished third in 2:11.46.

Girls 100 Free

Unsurprisingly after last night’s 400 free relay, the top performers in the 100 free final were Russian. Arina Openysheva earned her second gold of the evening with a new championship record of 54.78. Her Russian teammate Daria S Ustinova was second in 55.30. Although Ustinova was out first Openysheva came home nearly a second faster to secure the win. Openysheva’s 54.78 was .20 faster than her incredible leadoff leg on Russia’s relay from Day One.

The bronze medal went to Rachele Ceracchi of Italy in 56.12.

Boys 200 Breast

In another well-matched final, half the heat turned together at the 100 in 1:04-mids: Marcin Stolarski of Poland led, followed by France’s Jean Dencausse, Hungary’s David Horvath, and Germany’s Max Pilger. The landscape changed on the third 50 when Pilger moved up and Dencausse fell off. Russia’s Anton Chupkov had an outstanding final lap, moving from fifth to second.

In the end the podium consisted of Pilger (2:12.45), Chupkov (2:13.27), and Horvath (2:13.47).

Girls 200 Back

The girls 200 back wasn’t even close. Daria K Ustinova of Russia shaved 1.1 seconds off her time from semifinals and set a championship record with 2:09.21. Although it was listed as a World Junior Record in the results, Ustinova went 2:08.02 at Russian Nationals in May, clocking the second-fastest time in the world in that distance for 2014.

Africa Zamorano Sanz of Spain finished second in 2:11.70, and Russia’s Irina Prikhodko took third with 2:12.42.

Boys 1500 Free

Honestly, the boys 1500 might have been set to synchronized swimming music. The middle four lanes turned in unison through the 850, almost looking like they’d been rehearsing. The lead changed hands several times, but for the most part these four went stroke-for-stroke for the first half of the race: Daniel Jervis of Great Britain in lane 3, Mykhaylo Romanchuk of Ukraine in 4, Wojciech Wojdak of Poland in 5, and Henrik Christiansen of Norway in 6.

Wojdak led at the 200, Jervis was in front at the 400, Wojdak was back on top at the 6, and 8, and Christiansen took over at the 900. At this point they were only separated by 4/10. At the 1000 they spread out a bit more, but only to 7/10. By the 1200 Wojdak had fallen off pace and the three remaining continued the dance. Christiansen was up by more than a 7/10 at the 1300 and looked like he was breaking away, but by the 1400 the others had narrowed his lead to 3/10.

The announcer kept repeating “Who will be the European Junior champion?” and the crowd started getting behind the swimmers. Jervis and Romanchuk both finished with incredible 56-lows to move in front of Christiansen. And then the touch… there was a pause to confirm the winner: it was Jervis with 15:07.12; Romanchuk took silver in 15:07.24, and Christiansen was 15:09.48 – a 21.7-second drop for bronze.

It was just superb racing from these gentlemen.

Mixed 4×100 Free Relay

The Russians won the mixed 400 free relay by 1.5 seconds over Germany and nearly 3 over the Netherlands. Filipp Shopin (50.68), Roman Domachuk (50.54), Daria S Ustinova (54.56), and Arina Openysheva (55.19) combined for 3:30.97.

Germany, despite a 50.36 flat-start leadoff from Damian Wierling and a 49.51 anchor from Alexander Kunert, came in second with 3:32.43. Netherlands also led off with 50.36, from Kyle Stolk; they finished third with 3:33.83.

Semifinals

The top nine boys 100 freestylers all went under 51 but only 8 make it to the final. Poland’s Jan Holub led the charge with 50.07, nearly 4/10 faster than Hungary’s Peter Holoda at 50.45. Holub, however, went 49.73 to lead off the mixed 400 free relay. The third qualifier, Germany’s Wierling, was also faster on his relay leadoff.

Duncan Scott of Great Britain came in with the fastest qualifying time in the boys 200 IM, with 2:02.66, ahead of Hungarian teammates Benjamin Gratz (2:02.97) and Norbert Szabo (2:03.15).

The boys 200 fly final will be another good matchup: the top three qualifiers were all under 2:00: Nils Liess of Switzerland (1:58.26), Tamas Kenderesi of Hungary (1:58.92), and Poland’s Dominik Ciezkowski (1:59.85).

The girls 200 breast featured four sub-2:30s: Maria Astashkina of Russia (2:26.65), Giulia Verona of Italy (2:28.68), and a pair from Great Britain, Emma Cain (2:29.29) and Abbie Wood (2:29.38).

 

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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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