Day 3 at the FINA Youth World CHampionships was a light-night, with four sets of medals (and no relays) given out.
Boys 800 free
The United States’ Evan Pinion made a big-time statement to start the meet in the boys 800 free. By the halfway mark, this race was just about over, and though Pinion fell off of his blistering pace in the final 150 meters, there was still nobody close to him as he won in 7:55.92. That broke the old Meet Record held by South Africa’s Heerden Herman of 8:01.77 by almost six seconds. That’s the fastest 800 time by an American 16-year old since the great Larsen Jensen 9 years ago, and moves him to 19th in the World this year. Given how he fell off of the pace towards the end of this race, it will be interesting to see how well he does in the 1500, which comes on the meet’s final day.
Italy seems to really be passing their distance-depth on to the next generation, with both the silver and bronze medal in this race. In 2nd was Gabrielle Detti in 8:00.22, which is also under the old Meet Record, followed in 3rd by Gregorio Paltrinieri in 8:02.06.
Girls 200 backstroke
After 6 swimmers broke the meet record in this race in this morning’s prelims, 4 more lowered it from that point in finals, topped by the Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina in 2:10.43. Zevina, who placed 4th at Worlds, is just the tip of the iceburg as far as young women’s 200 backstrokers go in the World right now. In all, the day saw 12 swims that broke the old Meet Record, from 7 unique swimmers.
Miyu Otsuka, who held the record briefly between today’s sessions, took a silver medal from Japan in 2:11.02, followed by Karley Mann of Britain for bronze in 2:11.40. That gives the British women two bronze medals in as many backstroke races, with the 50 yet to go.
In 4th was Canada’s Brittany MacLean in 2:11.45. She had a great closing 100 meters, faster than anyone else in the field, but ran out of the room at the touch, thoguh she almost caught Mann. This is her second 4th-place finish of the meet, but all that means is that she’s just getting warmed up, as she’s still got her primary events, the 200 and 400 freestyles, left to go.
The top-finishing American was Kendyl Stewart in 2:12.18, which cuts a second off of her career-best time.
Boys 100 fly
Nashville Aquatics Club’s Maclin Davis won the boys 100 fly to give the United States their second gold medal of the night. His winning mark of 53.24, which is .01 off of his career-best time from Nationals. Davis is a great 100 butterflier, one of the four-fastest 17-year olds in American history, but is in a bit of a unique situation where that one race is light-years ahead of his other events. For example, his 100 fly is only four-tenths slower than his 100 free, which is an unusually small gap.
He’s sort of like the Damir Dugonjic of butterfly – he’s very good at about one thing, and decent at others, but his success and future international career seems to be built almost entirely on these sprint butterflies (though he’s got some other good events that he could eventually be a scorer in at the NCAA level). In fact, the 100 fly is the only race where he has Summer Nationals/Trials cuts. He doesn’t travel to as many big meets as many of his Youth National Team counterparts do, so there’s a good chance that he will develop a high-level second event as he matures and gets more experience.
Japan’s Kenta Hirai took silver in 53.40, followed by Brazil’s Arthur Mendes Filho in 53.96. American Erich Peske, who already has a ton of big-meet experience between this meet and the Youth Olympics last year, placed 4th in 54.06, just a touch ahead of 200m star Joseph Schooling (54.07) of Singapore and the Bolles School in Florida. Peske will begin at Stanford in a few weeks.
Girls 100 free
The United States’ Lia Neal broke her own Meet Record in the girls 100 free with a win in 54.90, which just dips under her career-best time by .01. Canada’s Chantal van Landeghem took silver in 55.29. The bronze medal went to Australia’s Bronte Campbell in 55.46. That’s a trio of swimmers who appear destined for greatness, and that could very well be your medal stand at the 2020 Olympics as well.
The US’ Simone Manuel took 4th in 55.56.
- In the girls 50 fly semifinal, South Africa’s Vanessa Mohr took top honors in a Meet Record of 26.70. Egypt’s Farida Hisham Osman, the best swimmer in the history of her country, broke her own National Record to take the 2nd seed in 26.84.
- Kristian Gkolomeev of Greece took the top seed in the men’s 50 free in 22.69. Cameron McEvoy (22.72), Canada’s Luke Peddie (22.95), and the Ukraine’s Volodymyr Sushchyk (22.97) all broke 23 seconds. The 8 finalists represent 8 different countries, and none of them are American.
- Italy’s Lisa Fissneider broke a Meet Record in the women’s 100 breaststroke semifinal in 1:08.47. That clears the old mark held by Australia’s Samantha Marshall in 1:08.72. Irina Novikova (1:09.19) and Kanako Watanabe (1:09.97) took the second and third seeds. That made two semifinals in a row that didn’t see an American in the top 8.
- Germany’s Christian Diener broke a Meet Record in the men’s 50 back semifinal in 25.58. That broke Benjamin Treffers’ time of 25.60 from 2008. American Jacob Pebley took the 2nd-seed in 25.94, and Italy’s Niccolo Bonacchi in 25.95.