Arena Grand Prix Puchar Polski
- February 27-28
- Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, Poland
- LCM (50 meters)
20-year old Polish swimmer Jakub Majerski swam and won the 100 fly in 51.64 over the weekend at the Grand Prix Puchar Polski, which gives the Katowice swimmer his first Olympic “A” cut.
Majerski’s previous best time of 52.11 came at the Doha, Qatar stop of the 2019 FINA World Cup in November of that year. He’s approached his best in previous swims since quarantines cleared, but finally broke through this weekend.
Pending confirmation by the Polish Olympic Committee, this swim would make Majerski eligible to represent the country in Tokyo later this year. To be chosen, athletes must swim a FINA “A” cut in a FINA approved event between February 1 and May 31, 2021. If more than 2 swimmers hit the “A” standard in that period, the top two swimmers will be selected.
So far, Majeski is easily at the top of the Polish ranking in that period. Given that he ended 2020 as the country’s top butterflier, he’ll have some confidence of remaining there, in spite of the looming threat of swimmers like Marcin Cieslak, Jan Switkowski, and Michal Poprawa, among others, in a deep Polish butterfly field.
This meet is one of four accepted FINA qualification events in Poland between now and the Tokyo Olympic Games, which start in July. The other two will be the Grand Prix in Lublin from March 27-28, the Arena Grand Prix in Warsaw from April 10-11, and the Polish Championships in Lublin from April 28-May 2.
Part of the requirements by FINA for accepting the first two Grand Prix events as Olympic qualifiers was accepting foreign entries, though only a few Czech swimmers wound up participating.
There are 4 Polish swimmers entered at the upcoming USA Swimming Pro Swim Series meet in San Antonio: Kasia Wasick, Kacper Stokowski, Rafal Kusto, and Piotr Sadlowski. After only Majerski hit an “A” cut in Ostrowiec, the federation will be hoping for more swimmers to join their Olympic team next weekend.
That 100 fly was one of three best times for Majerski at the meet: he also finished 3rd in the 100 free in 50.57 and the 200 free in 1:50.91.
The former race was won by Bartosz Piszczoroicz in 49.85, which missed his best time by half-a-second, and the latter went to 18-year old Kamil Sieradzki, who swam a best time of 1:49.82.
Best times in those races take on extra significance, as Poland currently has both the 400 and 800 free relays qualified for Tokyo based on their top 12 finishes at the 2019 World Championships.
Majerski also won the 50 fly in 24.14, a 4th best time on the weekend.
Other Highlights from the Grand Prix:
- Krysztof Chmielewski won the men’s 200 fly in 1:58.64 at only 16-years old. Poland has a strong tradition of men’s 200 meter butterfliers, and Chmielski’s swim pushed him closer to Marcin Cieslak’s National 17 & Under (by year of birth) record in that event. Last year Chmielewski broke the 16-year olds record with a 1:58.88.
- The 17-year olds record in the 50 back went down at the hands of Ksawery Masiuk, who swam a 25.72 in that event. A pair of women’s 50 backstroker age records were broken too: Agata Naskret broke the 19-23 year olds record with a 28.59, and Flawia Kamzol broke the 14-year olds record in 30.16.
- The Polish 16-year olds record in the 200 back was broken by Laura Bernat, who swam 2:11.23 to win the event. She also swam best times in the 50 free (27.71) and 100 back (1:03.59) at the meet, and won the 200 IM as well. The only swimmer to beat her in the 100 back was Paulina Peda, who swam a personal best of 1:00.97. That took .99 seconds off her previous top time.
- Antoni Kaluzynski won the 400 free in 3:52.19, a out a second short of his best time.
While most of the country’s fastest swimming was done in Ostrowiec, there was fast swimming elsewhere in the country in Szczecin, where 16-year old Kacper Czapla swam 24.05 in the 50 fly. That ranks him 5th in Europe this year and first among European Juniors. It also breaks Kacper Stokowski’s Polish Age Record of 24.19 set in 2016.
Stokowski, currently in the United States training at NC State, was a European Junior Champion in 2016 and 2017 and won a pair of World Junior Championship medals in 2017, though internationally his success has been primarily in freestyle and backstroke events.