Five Names To Watch At The 2022 European Junior Championships (Girls’ Edition)


  • Tuesday, July 5th – Sunday, July 10th
  • Otopeni Olympic Swimming Complex, Bucharest, Romania
  • LCM (50m)
  • Start Times
    • Prelims: 10 a.m. local / 3 a.m. ET
    • Finals: 5 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET
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The 2022 European Junior Championships are slated to start tomorrow in Bucharest, Romania, and there are going to be many emerging stars competing. In this article, SwimSwam highlights five big names to watch on the girls’ side of this meet.

Lana Pudar, Bosina And Herzegovina

Last year at European Juniors, Pudar made headlines by winning her country’s first-ever European Junior medals, taking second in the 50 (26.29) and 200 fly (2:09.59) as well as winning the 100 fly (57.56). Since then, she has gone on to take even bigger strides at the 2022 World Championships, placing seventh in the 100 fly and shattering her own Bosnian record in the 200 fly by over two seconds, clocking a time of 2:07.58 in the semifinals of the event and eventually finishing sixth in finals. The 16-year-old comes into this meet as the top seed in all the butterfly events, and is a heavy favorite to win both the 100 and 200 fly.

Pudar is currently in the process of going through a jam-packed summer meet schedule. Less than a week removed from swimming her last race at worlds, she went on to compete at the Mediterranean Games in Bir El Djir, Algeria, capturing titles in the 100 and 200 fly. In addition, her time of 26.77 to finish fifth in the 50 fly at that meet was 0.38 seconds faster than the 27.15 she went at worlds in the event. Pudar will then have to travel from Bir El Dijir to Bucharest sometime between July 4, the day her last event at the Mediterranean games, and July 6, the day of her first event at European Juniors. In a span of just two weeks, she will have raced in three different major international meets with little time in between.

Mary-Ambre Moluh, France

Moluh is in the middle of a huge breakout season this year. She broke a minute for the first time in the 100 back at French Nationals, going a time of 59.67 that is just 0.17 seconds off the French record. She later on put up a 27.63 50 back this year, which is also a best time for her. Although she didn’t compete at World Championships in order to focus on European Juniors, her best times in the 50 and 100 back would have been seventh and fourth at the meet respectively.

The 16-year-old is the top seed in the 50 and 100 back, and is the second seed in the 100 free, where she has a best time of 55.00. Last year at European Juniors, Moluh finished second in the 100 back and DNSed the 50 back, although her best times from this year would have been fast enough to win both events by a substantial amount.

Eneli Jefimova, Estonia

Recently, at the 2022 World Championships, Jefimova clocked a time of 30.08 in the 50 breast prelims to break the Estonian record. The 15-year-old finished 6th in the finals of the event, in addition to taking 9th in the 100 breast (1:06.48) and 19th in the 200 breast (2:28.51). Her time in the 100 breast was just 0.01 seconds off her best time of 1:06.47 from the 2021 European Championships last year. She also set her best time in the 200 breast last year, putting up a 2:26.88 at the 2021 Stockholm Open.

Jefimova is the top seed in the 50 and 100 breast and the second seed in the 200 breast at this year’s European Juniors meet. She is set to defend her title in the 100 breast and improve from her second and third place finishes in the 50 and 200 breast respectively.

Merve Tuncel, Turkey

Tuncel burst onto the scene at the 2021 European Junior Championships, winning the 400 (4:06.25), 800 (8:21.91), and 1500 free (15;55.23) with the latter two events being in European Junior Record times. In addition, she also took fifth in the 200 free (2:00.11). Her 800 and 1500 free times also ended up ranking 11th and 10th respectively in the world for the 2020-21 season. Tuncel is also a world junior record holder, clocking a time of 15:45.29 in the short course 1500 free at the Turkish National Championships in December 2020.

The 17-year-old USC commit didn’t compete at worlds this year, so European Juniors will be her first major international long course meet for the 2021-22 season. She is entered in the 200/400/800/1500 free for this competition, being the top seed in the 400/800/1500 free and the fourth seed in the 200 free. Similar to Pudar, Tuncel will also have a quick turnaround from the recent Mediterranean Games, where she won the 800 free and took bronze in the 200 fly and 4×200 free relay.

Nikoletta Padar, Hungary

At the 2022 Hungarian Championships, Padar set massive best times in both the 100 (54.85), 200 (1:57.91), and 400 free (4:13.92). Her previous personal bests in the events before that meet were 55.33, 1:59.06, and 4:15.76 respectively, showing just how much she has improved in a year. At this year’s World Championships, the 16-year-old finished 18th in the 200 free and swam in the finals of the 4×100 and 4×200 free relays for Hungary. In the prelims of the 4×200 free relay, she split 1:57.48, which is her fastest-ever rolling start time.

At 2021 European Juniors, Padar finished tenth in the 100 free and won the 200 free. At this year’s version of the meet, she is entered as the top seed in the 100/200 free and the third seed in the 400 free.

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Sherry Smit
1 month ago

Is Pilato not going?

Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

She is not.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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