2017 EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Hungary led the medal table after day one of the 2017 European Junior Championships, but several other nations made their moves tonight in Netanya.
Denmark snagged its first gold of the meet in the form of Katerine Villesen‘s winning time of 2:09.41 in the women’s 200m butterfly. After clocking 2:09.53 to take the top seed out of semi-finals, Villesen was able to drop just under a tenth to lead the pack tonight splitting 1:00.83/1:08.58. Villesen represented the only swimmer to notch a sub-2:10 time, with Ciara Schlosshan of Great Britain earning her nation’s first medal with silver in 2:10.48, while Belgium’s Valentine Dumont scored bronze in 2:11.17.
Hungary did some damage on the women’s side in the 400m freestyle, where Anja Kesely was able to successfully defend her 2016 title in the same event. Last year she established a new meet record of 4:08.10 en route to gold and she was just .15 off that mark tonight, touching in 4:08.25. This marks her 2nd victory in as many nights, as Kesely already won 800m freestyle gold yesterday in a new championship record-setting mark.
Silver in the women’s 400m freestyle tonight went to Spain’s Beatriz Agueda who rocketed up from 5th place after semi-finals to land in the runner-up spot with a time of 4:10.13. Slovenia’s Katja Fain wrapped up the bronze, touching in 4:11.36 to knock about a second off of her morning outing.
Russian swimmer Polina Egorova checked-in with the only meet record on the night for the women, touching in 2:08.97 to win the 200m backstroke. Splitting 1:02.24/1:06.73, the 17-year-old overtook the previous meet record from her countrywoman Daria Ustinova at 2:09.21 from 2014.
Anastasia Avdeeva made it a 1-2 punch in the event taking silver in 2:09.91, knocking well over a second off of her previous best time of 2:1174 from this year’s Russian Nationals. Moldova got on the board with Tatiana Salcutan‘s time of 2:10.12, which proved quick enough for bronze, her nation’s first medal of these championships. That also crushes Moldova’s national record of 2:15.64 set back in 2014 by Tatiana Perstniova at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
The women’s 100m freestyle European Champion back in 2015, Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands, already showed her speed last night with a scorching 53.37 anchor on her squad’s silver medal-winning 4x100m freestyle relay. The 17-year-old was at it again this evening firing off a quick 54.13 for the top prize in the individual 100m free event.
Although tonight’s time was slower than her 53.97 winning effort from 2 years ago, it proved swift enough to sneak into the top 25 times in the world this season. Also for perspective, Steenbergen’s time tonight would have resulted in a 5th place finish in the same event at U.S. Nationals taking place this week.
Czech swimmer Barbora Seemanova wound up with silver in a swift 54.62, while Russia’s Vasilissa Buinaia took bronze in 55.58.
- Hannah Brunzell of Sweden is the top seed in the women’s 200m breaststroke after semi-finals, earning a time of 2:28.35. She was the only competitor to dip under the 2:30 threshold this evening.
Poland’s Kacper Stokowski wasted no time establishing himself as the man to beat in the 100m backstroke event, scoring the only sub-55 second time in semi-finals last night. After clocking 54.99 yesterday, Stokowski fired off a winning time of 54.60 tonight to earn gold and a new personal best.
Last year’s champion, Kliment Kolesnikov of Russia, had to settle for silver this time around, touching in 54.69, while Swiss swimmer Thierry Bollin rounded out the podium with a time of 54.92 for bronze. For Bollin, his time tonight should be considered a new national record, surpassing the previous mark of 55.21 that’s been on the Swiss record books since 2008.
Russia fired back with a win in the men’s 200m breaststroke event with 18-year-old Evgenii Somov smashing a time of 2:10.79 to eradicate the field. Splitting 29.11/33.08/34.26/34.34, Somov beat the his racemates by 2.75 seconds and came within a tenth of the meet record held by his countryman Anton Chupkov from 2015. Headed into this meet, Somov’s personal best rested at the 2:13.90 nabbed just a couple of months ago at the Russian National Championships, so the kid cranked out a huge lifetime best tonight in Netanya.
Austria’s Valentin Bayer held on for silver with a time of 2:13.54, even with Ukraine’s Mykyta Koptyelov breathing down his neck on the final 50. Koptyelov held the advantage over Bayer for the majority of the race, but the Austrian’s final split of 34.88 to the Ukrainian’s 36.11 sealed the deal to give Bayer the silver medal-winning time of 2:13.54. Koptyelov finished a moment later in 2:13.78 for bronze.
Russia earned another win with Iaroslav Potapov‘s victory in the 1500m freestyle’s fastest heat tonight. Earning a time of 15:07.86, Potapov finished less than 2 seconds ahead of Hungary’s Akos Kalmar, who clocked 15:09.24 for the only other sub-15:10 mark on the night.
- Great Britain’s James McFadzen holds the top seed out of semi-finals in the 200m IM, clocking a time of 2:02.36. However, he is just one of 4 swimmers who earned 2:02-point times on the night, so tomorrow’s final is anyone’s race.
- Yesterday’s men’s 4x100m freestyle relay saw a super speedy lead-off split of 48.99 from Hungary’s Nandor Nemeth and the teen didn’t disappoint in the individual event here tonight. Nemeth cranked out a semi-final time of 49.36 to take the top seed in the men’s 100m freestyle, just .07 ahead of Moldova’s Alexei Sancov and his mark of 49.43.
- One of the break-out swims of the night came from Hungarian Kristof Milak the 17-year-old who already earned a morning 200m fly top seed of 1:58.69. Entering this meet, Milak’s fastest time this year was the 1:55.41 from April, so we know he has the capability to produce a big swim. A taste came tonight, where he notched a 1:56.69 to blow away the semi-final field and take the pole position for tomorrow. His time tonight, for perspective, would have placed 7th at U.S. Nationals.
Finally, the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay from Hungary established a new European Junior Record standard, with Kristof Milak, Nandor Nemeth, Fanni Gyurinovics and Ajna Kesely collectively winning gold in a time of 3:28.50. Splits were 49.44 for Milak, not too long after his 1:56.69 2 fly, 48.36 from Nemeth, 55.09 for Gyurinovics and 55.61 for tonight’s 400m freestyle winner Kesely.
Russia finished with silver in 3:30.67, while Poland earned bronze in 3:30.76.