Italy’s national junior team emerged victorious from Ukraine’s Energy Standard Championship, a meet that brought together juniors from Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Spain and Italy in Moscow.
On a broader level, this is one of the first meets to combine Russian and Ukrainian athletes since the ongoing crisis began between the two nations earlier this year. The meet was hosted by the Energy Standard Club, which is based in both Russia and Ukraine.
It was the Italian crew that put up the biggest team effort, piling up 1579 points to top Russia’s 1486.
Italy was led by freestyler Linda Caponi, who won the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles for the 15-16 age bracket, the oldest featured on the women’s side at the meet. Caponi, born in 1998, was more and more impressive as the yardage got higher – her 800 free time of 8:47.07 topped the field by over 15 seconds, and won the meet’s best female performance award.
She had a tougher battle for the 400, going 4:20.58 to Spain’s Julia Cabeza Aranda‘s 4:22.42, and also won the 200 free with a 2:05.31.
Hungary’s Benjamin Gratz had a big day on the boys side. Swimming in the 17-18 division (technically for athletes born in 1996 or 1997), Gratz won the 200 back and 200 fly, and almost added the 200 IM as well.
The 200 fly, where Gratz went 1:58.79 to win by two seconds, garnered the Hungarian the meet’s best male performance of the meet honor. He also went 2:02.45 to win the 200 back, and came up just short in an outstanding 200 IM race.
In that IM, Italy’s Raffaele Tavoletta snuck out the touchout, going 2:03.53 to Gratz’s 2:03.73.
The host club got a pair of wins from Mykhailo Romanchuk in the distance races. Romanchuk won the mile (15:36.30) and 400 (3:55.69) for the 17-18s.
Russia’s Polina Egorova won double backstroke races for the girls in the younger division, coming up just one race short of a backstroke sweep. She went 29.35 for the 50, 1:02.83 for the 100, and only lost when she ran into Maryna Kolesnykova in the 200. Kolesnykova dominated that race in 2:14.77, with Egorova second.
Egorova also earned the outstanding performance of the meet for the Youth girls division (girls born in 2000 or later) with that 100 back. The Youth boys award (boys born in 1998 or later) went to Russia’s Kirill Mordashev, who won the 200 breast with a 2:17.78.
1. Italy National Team 1579
2. Russia National Team 1486
3. Energy Standard Team 1316
4. Spain National Team 1066
5. Hungary National Team 919