The past weekend the best of Slovakia took to the water to decide who would become national champion. Although this meet was not used as selection for the upcoming world championships in Kazan, Russia, since Banska Bystrica Cup 2015 from 28-29 March was used to determine selection for Worlds, this was a chance for younger athletes to make their mark at the senior level.
The first day of the Slovakian national championships was one dominated by the Dukla Banská Bystrica swimming club. In the 9 events contested in the finals session, 4 of those were won by the club including the final event of the night, the 4x100m mixed relay which saw Dukla Banksha Bystrica finish in a time of 4.06.95.
Notable individual performances came in the 100m breastroke events where the men’s field was dominated by Tomáš Klobučník whose time of 1:02.45 was nearly 2 full seconds clear of his closest competitors Daniel Vacval and Pavol Fazik in 1:04.36 and 1:04.40 respectively.
However his time was nearly two seconds off his best of 1:00.57 set last month in Bergen, Norway. Interestingly all three men are from the Dukla Banská Bystrica club which further demonstrates their dominance on day one.
However it was the women’s event which nearly saw a new national record. Andrea Podmaníková became national champion in a new best time of 1:10.83 just 0.07 off the current record of 1:10.76 set by the second placed finisher in the evenings final, Zuzana Mimovičová in 2013.
Nonetheless, Andrea Podmaníková at only 17 years old will have plenty of time to establish herself in the future as national record holder and like Klobučník was a clear winner in the final with her nearest rival finishing 1.55 seconds behind.
The second day of the championships saw continued success for the Dukla Banská Bystrica swimming club with another four victories. Katerina Listopadova of the Dukla Banská Bystrica club was notably victorious with 2 wins in the 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke. Her time of 55.58 in the 100m freestyle( only 0.39 off her best from last month’s Bratislava Grand prix), was nearly a second clear of second place, Syllabová Miroslava.
The event was one which saw the Dukla Banská Bystrica fill the podium to illustrate a great night for the club. Listopadova may even have a good chance of swimming the event in Rio 2016 as a B qualifying standard.
The swim of the night had to go to Pavol Jelenák of the J&T Bratislava club, breaking his own 200IM record. His time on Saturday of 2:05.36 is 0.24 under his now old national record of 2.05.59 set at the European Championships in Debrecen, Hungry in 2012.
Another rather unique victory was seen in the female 200m butterfly final where Mikušová Carmen won the race by more than 10 seconds in a time of 2:19.25. At only 17 years old there is definitely no better way to make a mark like dominating a field by over 10 seconds but she was still two and a half seconds away from her best of 2.16.75 set at last month’s Bratislava Grand Prix.
Moreover the distance specialist Richard Nagy also tried his hand at the 200m butterfly securing an easy victory in a new best time of 2:03.06 more than four seconds clear of his nearest competitor, Karol Púzser. Nagy swam more than a second better than his time of 2:04.26 also done in Bratislava last month.
This may be a sign of Nagy using his distance background to explore other events as he also took part in the 200m breaststroke securing second in a new personal best of 2:21.10, a race dominated by Tomáš Klobučník who took the race in 2:16.58, though this was a long way from his own personal best of 2.11.00 set at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.
The final day of the Slovakian national championships was a day for the youngsters to have their chance to become national champions.
To begin in the men’s 1500m freestyle a tight contest between two 16 year olds eventually culminated in victory for Adam Rosipal in a time of 16:35.95 of the J&T Bratislava swimming club. His time still remained short of his 16:17 personal best set in last month’s Slovakian Grand Prix. His teammate, Daniel Mizera was a close second in 16.44.64. The two 16 year olds dominated the field with third place Oliver Arnold more than a minute behind in 17.59.08.
What was most significant was the absence of Richard Nagy despite taking place in the 200m butterfly and 200m breastroke on day 2. His record of 15:07.29 and junior record of 15:49.30 still are a distance away for the two 16 year olds but good markers for the future.
Barbora Mišendová also had success with her first place finish in the 100m butterfly in a time of 1.01.20, although this time is still a considerable way from her best of 1.00 set in Hungry at the 2014 European Junior Championships ,(also the Slovakian junior record). Her win, nevertheless, was still more than two and a half seconds clear of second place.
Andrea Podmaníková also 17 years old showed her sprint breastroke ability in winning the 100m breastroke but just like day one was marginally away from a new national record with a new best time of 32.31 just 0.07 from Lucia Ledererová’s record of 32.24.
Tomáš Klobučník was also in impressive from once again as he made a clean sweep of the breastroke events in the 50,100 and 200m distances.
His time of 28.22 was 0.38 off his own national record set last month but his victory secured yet another win for the Dukla Banská Bystrica swimming club as they rounded off the championships with 15 victories over the course of the three days.
Dukla Banská Bystrica also topped the medal table with 25 medals overall, 8 clear of J&T Bratislava. The top medallist at these championships was Adam Rosipal with 6 golds and two silvers and at only sixteen years old we may just be seeing the emergence of a potential Slovakian star.