Knedla, Jefimova, Padar Make Their Marks On Day 1 Prelims Of European Juniors


The 2023 European Junior Swimming Championships kicked off today from Belgrade, Serbia with several of our ‘ones to watch’ taking to the pool already on day one.

17-year-old Nikoletta Padar was among them, with the Hungarian taking the top seed in the girls’ 200m freestyle. Padar produced a morning swim of 1:59.77 as the only racer to get under the 2:01 barrier out of the heats.

Her 200m free season-quickest rests at 1:57.81, a time which sits just .01 outside her lifetime best of 1:57.80 notched in the 200m free semi-finals of the 2022 senior European Championships. There in Rome, she ultimately finished 8th in a result of 1:58.87.

Padar topped the podium in both this 200m free as well as the 100m free at the 2022 European Junior Championships.

Czech ace Miroslav Knedla made his presence known in the boys’ 50m backstroke, clocking a time of 25.21 to land lane 4.

That holds a healthy advantage over British swimmer Matthew Ward who snagged the 2nd seed in 25.56.

Lurking as the 7th-seeded swimmer is 16-year-old John Shortt, the teen who took the Irish national title at their World Trials this past April.

As for Knedla, the 17-year-old is already on his way to beating out his 5th place result in this 50m back from last year. He already owns a season-best of 24.75, a monster lifetime best posted en route to gold at the Monaco stop of the Mare Nostrum Tour. That established a new Czech national record.

Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova put up a world-class result of 30.39 en route to claiming the top seed in the girls’ 50m breaststroke. Her morning result beat the field by nearly one second, with the next-closest swimmer represented by Maria Ramos Najji of Spain who clocked 31.38.

Last year in Romania Jefimova made a clean sweep of the girls’ breaststroke events, topping the podium in 30.44 in the 50m, 1:06.50 in the 100m and 2:26.85 in the 200m distance.

She has since lowered the Estonian national records down to 30.08 in the 50m breast, a time she produced en route to claiming the 3rd seed out of the heats at the World Championships in Budapest. She ultimately finished 6th in the final with a time of 30.25.

A national record bit the dust this morning, courtesy of Petar Mitsin in the boys’ 200m free. Mitsin of Bulgaria hit a new career-quickest time of 1:47.41 to lead the field by over a second, slicing .36 off of his own previous national record in the process.

Entering this meet, Mitsin’s Bulgarian standard rested at the 1:47.77 posted just this past May at the Grand Prix Burgas.

This morning, however, opening in 51.47 and closing in 55.94, Mitsin produced the sole outing under the 1:48 barrier to stake his claim on gold.

Behind him was Alessandro Ragaini of Italy in 1:48.42 while Rokas Jazdauskas of Lithuanian and Filippo Bertoni of Italy were also under 1:50 in heats swims of 1:49.55 and 1:49.90, respectively.

Additional Top Seeds

  • Hungary’s Vivien Jack hit a morning time of 4:46.31 to lead the girls’ 400m IM heats.
  • Lora Fanni Komoroczy, also of Hungary, topped the girls’ 50m back heats in a time of 28.36, although the top 8 finishers are all clustered under the 29-second barrier.
  • Rising Danish star Jona Gaur logged a time of 27.73 to top the boys’ prelims of the 50m breaststroke.
  • Italy’s Andrea Camozzi landed lane 4 in the boys’ 200m fly in 1:59.38, the sole outing of the field under the 2:00 threshold.

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4 months ago

great time for jefimova

Reply to  bubbles
4 months ago

great prelims overall; some young stars like knedla or mitsin not even going to Fukuoka, concentrating on this. WRT Team GB, our lot couldn’t even get through the men’s 4×1 free, fielding 3 tired athletes from heat swims prior to the relay and a fourth leg with a 1500m specialist ( though Ward did a good job todаy)…after all that Mcfadden talk here lol

Reply to  ldn
4 months ago

oof lol

see that’s an example of why having an additional 4×200 swimmer can’t always be that bad… the us can rest foster (who has a lot of individuals) and smith and hobson who qualified in the individual.

Reply to  bubbles
4 months ago

and the crowds as well as the TV audiences do love themselves a relay…

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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