Notes & Quotes From Day Two Of European Junior Championships


Day two of the 2023 European Junior Swimming Championships saw Hungary frog-hop Italy to stand atop the medal table in Belgrade.

Nikolett Padar remarkably claimed her third consecutive 200m freestyle title, giving Hungary a 1-2 punch in the event. Padar punched a new lifetime best of 1:57.59 while teammate Lilla Abraham snagged silver in 1:59.29. Belgium’s Fleur Verdonck was at the wall just.01 later to bag bronze in 1:59.30.

On her winning effort, Padar stated, “This is my personal best and I’m happy about it, but this is still not an Olympic Qualification Time [1:57.26].

“Before my swim I was too excited, that was the problem. I was too hot, I was sweating before I entered the swimming pool. My first 100m was too slow, but on the second I did my best. I will try to swim an Olympic qualification time, next time.”

Hungary’s momentum continued into the girls’ 50m back race where Lora Komoroczy also earned the top prize in 28.08.

17-year-old Komoroczy said post-race, “It was really great and I feel really good, I’m so happy with the time and winning the race.

“I hope that one day I will swim a little quicker but it’s looking really good for my 100m backstroke. It (winning) means a lot because last year I was second place and I really wanted to win the race and finally I beat someone, so I can say I’m European and world champion which is really good.”

The boys’ 200m free saw Petar Mitsin of Bulgria establish a new national record in a lifetime best of 1:46.50. His first foray under the 1:47 barrier beat the field by over a second en route to the top of the podium.

“I am so happy with my swim and the time I made,” Mitsin said. “I have been waiting for this moment for so long and I’m so proud to win this for my country. I think it was great to compete with these big countries as they’re known for their strength and I’m inspired by them. I am so enjoying my time here in Serbia, I like the atmosphere and to compete with everybody.”

Czech Republic’s Miroslav Knedla roared to the wall first in the boys’ 50m back, grabbing gold in the sole sub-25 second outing of the pack.

Knedla exclaimed, “This is an amazing achievement for me to win this gold medal.

“I’m so happy that my family was here and saw it. I didn’t expect this time, I’m so happy about it. I swam right after the 50 back the 200 IM, I won the semis, so this is an amazing day for me!”

Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova successfully defended her 50m breaststroke title, producing a time of 30.33.

“It’s very special for me that the second year I win this event,” said Jefimova. “The time was okay, better than prelims and I’m very happy. I think I don’t notice (pressure) but I’m doing my thing and I try to block the attention out. I’m so proud to win for my country Estonia and I think I’m the first swimmer to swim in finals in this event and the podium so I’m really proud.”

Danish rising breaststroke star Jonas Gaur gave his nation its first gold of the competition, courtesy of the 27.57 time he put up in the boys’ 50m breaststroke. He beat his competitors by just over half a second to put his name in lights.

The athlete said after his performance, “It was just absolutely amazing and something I’ve dreamt of, to actually do it (win gold) and achieve it is just so surreal and amazing.

“My team is incredible and I love all of them and I could hear all of them all the way, even on one lap and it was incredible to experience. They gave me those last few hundredths and maybe even seconds, so it was great to hear them.”

Italy’s Andrea Camozzi came away with the victory in the boys’ 200m fly, posting a mark of 1:58.59. That got the edge over Romania’s Vlad-Stefan Mihalache who scored silver in 1:58.84.

Reflecting on his race, Camozzi said, “It’s a very amazing race, on all the bad days it’s always been in my head to keep going and this a moment that’s taken a lot of hard work, but now I’m here as European champion.

“It is very beautiful, it’s my third European championships and when I went to my first I said one day I will be European Champion and now I have achieved this.”

The girls’ 1500m free saw Merve Tuncel of Turkey repeat as the champion, with the ace hitting a mark of 16:18.53.

“This is my fourth Junior European Championships, I’m so happy to be here,” said Tuncel. “It was a really competitive race. I’m really happy with this gold, because I won the 1500m freestyle four times in a row.

Finally, on night two, the Hungarian quartet of Boldizsar Magda, Matyas Harsanyi, Molnar and Padar claimed gold in the mixed 4x100m free relay.

Padar was ecstatic at the result, commenting, “It’s my second gold today, I can’t be happier.”

Magda added, “I’m really happy! That was a very tough competition – the Romanian swimmer next to me was very strong, my goal was that to touch the wall first and make a big pace for my teammate.”

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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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