European Juniors Finalist Lars Antoniak Commits to Cal for 2024

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Estonian breaststroke specialist Lars Antoniak committed to Cal last month, rounding out the Bears’ 2024 recruiting class with another international talent.

Antoniak was a finalist in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2023 European Junior Championships last July, where he was ultimately disqualified after placing 7th in the semifinals (2:17.49 after 2:17.26 in prelims). A couple months later at the 2023 World Junior Championships last September, the 18-year-old narrowly missed the 200 breast final with a personal-best 2:16.74 for 9th place.

His lifetime bests in the 50 breast (29.01) and 100 breast (1:04.28) came last April at the Malmsten Swim Open and Speedo Helsinki Meet, respectively.

“Couldn’t be more excited to announce my commitment to University of California, Berkeley,” Antoniak wrote on Instagram. “I would like to thank my parents, my coach @henryyhein and my teammates for the support that I’ve received over the years. Huge thanks to @joshuahuger and Coach Dave for showing interest and welcoming me to the team! Go Bears.”

Best LCM Times (Converted to SCY)

  • 50 breast – 29.01 (25.23)
  • 100 breast – 1:04.28 (56.10)
  • 200 breast – 2:16.74 (1:59.58)

Antoniak is about six seconds shy of the Olympic ‘B’ cut in the 200 breast and within five seconds of the 100 breast mark. His best converted times project to be outside of ACC scoring range based on February’s conference championship meet.

The Cal men won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2022 and 2023 before Arizona State dethroned them on Saturday, but they still extended their run of top-2 finishes to 14 years in a row. The 2024-25 season will be the Bears’ first in the ACC, where they’ll compete against powerhouse programs such as NC State, Stanford, and Virginia.

Antoniak joins Mewen Tomac, Freddy Klein, Edward Huang, August Vetsch, Thackston McMullan, Lucca Battaglini, Carter Lancaster, Matthew Elliott, Trey Hesser, and Yamato Okadome in Cal’s 2024 recruiting class. He’s the second-fastest breaststroker on paper behind Okadome. Tomac hails from France while Okadome is Japanese.

Cal fifth year Liam Bell took almost a second off his best 100 breast time this season, winning the national title last month with an unexpected NCAA record of 49.69. If he opts to stay in Berkeley to train next season, he could be a great mentor for Antoniak and Okadome to push them in practice.

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1 month ago


1 month ago

Nans Mazellier from France will also be in this class?

1 month ago

You state “He’s the second-fastest breaststroker on paper behind Mahabir” but Okadome has PBs of 1:00.7/2:12.19 which are quicker than the young Estonian. Of course, this all depends on who shows up in Berkeley this coming fall and if Mahabir does enroll, how is he coping with mononucleosis.

Reply to  h2olover
1 month ago

I think it is more serious than mono!?

1 month ago

Ahhh yes, I love how the definition of “commitment” has changed.

1 month ago

So is there any word on if Mahabir is actually coming to Cal? Is it still dependent on him qualifying for the Olympics to get his military service postponement, or even in the cards at all? The mono article references working towards 2025 but doesn’t mention Cal at all, so wondering if his plan is to train in Singapore while in the military

1 month ago

Has the greatest personality and celebrations in Estonia! Cal got a great kid:)

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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