Russia Cleans Up On Day 3 Of the European Youth Olympic Festival


Day 3 of the 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan saw a Championships Record bite the dust in every final, save the men’s 4x100m free relay, which means we were treated to some very fast swimming by some of the continent’s promising young athletes.

Romania’s David Popovici got things started tonight with a new EYOF Record in the men’s 100m free with the 15-year-old taking the gold in a time of 49.82. His outing surpassed the 49.97 Meet Record put up by Great Britain’s Jacob Whittle just yesterday during the heats.

Whittle came within striking distance, but fell just shy of Popovici, settling for silver in 49.99, still a stellar outing for the 14-year-old who first went sub-50 at the European Junior Championships a couple of weeks ago.

Bronze in the men’s 100m free tonight went to Danish 16-year-old Rasmus Nickelsen who touched in 50.22.

Update since publishing: The birthdate listed for David Popovici of 01/01/04 listed on the official results is incorrect, per the athlete’s father. As such, Popovici is just 14 years of age, producing a time of 49.82 in the 100m free. As such, he is now the world’s fastest known 14-year-old in the 100m free, overtaking Whittle’s 49.97.

Russian 14-year-old dynamo Evgenia Chikunova blasted a 200m breaststroke time of 2:24.15 to beat the field by over 3 seconds en route to gold. Chikunova was this year’s European Junior Champion in this event, taking the title in Kazan in a time of 2:23.06. However, the teen was much quicker in the semi-finals, producing a new lifetime best and EJC Record of 2:21.07, a time that would stand up at any elite international championship meet.

Prior to that, Chikunova was shaking things up domestically, outshining Olympic champion Yuliya Efimova at the Russian Nationals this past April. There, Chikunova blasted a then-personal best of 2:22.67 for a new Russian Junior Record.

Runner-up in tonight’s women’s 200m breast race went to Justine Delmas of France in 2:27.50, while Irish swimmer Molly Mayne hit the wall in 2:30.76 to earn bronze as just a 13-year-old.

Vadim Klimenishchev got the job done in the men’s 200m fly for gold, clinching a new EYOF Record of 1:58.06. Tonight’s outing represents his first time ever under the 2:00 threshold, with his golden performance surpassing the longstanding meet mark of 1:58.33 Hungary’s Bence Biczo put on the books back in 2009.

British 16-year-old Edward Mildred impressed as well, sneaking in for the silver tonight in a time of 1:58.64. Mildred took it out fast in 56.72, the only sub-57 opener of the field, but was able to hold on and crush a new lifetime best time of 1:58.64. That time eclipses the mark of 2:00.23 the Northampton athlete produced at the European Junior Championships, with the teen now inserting himself in the British all-time rankings at 18th.

Krzysztof Chmielewski of Poland rounded out the men’s 200m fly podium with a time of 2:01.82, a new best time by just over 2 seconds.

Russia kept the momentum going with a 200om IM gold for the men in the form of Ilya Borodin. Borodin collected the top prize in a time of 2:01.55 to check-in with a new meet record, slicing almost a second off of his previous lifetime fastest time of 2:02.53 from this year’s European Junior Championships.

Hungary’s Hubert Kos wrangled up silver in 2:02.60, while Turkey’s Berke Saka finished in 2:03.25 to take home the 2IM bronze.

In relay action, Russia once again reaped gold, with the foursome of Aleksandra Sabitova, Daria Trofimova, Daria Klepikova and Aleksandra Kurilkina combining to clock a women’s 4x100m freestyle relay mark of 3:45.10. That beat next-nearest competitor Great Britain by over 2 seconds and also established a new EYOF Record in the process. Splits for the Russians included 56.44 for Sabitova, 55.50 for Trofimova, 56.20 for Klepikova and 56.96 for Kurilkina.

GBR’s squad of Evelyn Davis, Katie Shanahan, Freya Colbert, and Tamryn Van Selm held off Hungary to take the silver in 3:47.62, highlighted by Van Selm’s 55.94 anchor. Hungary’s bronze medal-worthy effort checked in at 3:48.67.

GBR’s male counterparts indeed were able to slide onto the top of the podium, with the combination of Mildred, Nicholas Skelton, Mark Ford and Whittle clocking a winning time of 3:26.71 in their edition of the 4x100m free relay. Splits for the British included a 50.86 lead-off for Mildred, 52.73 2nd leg for Skelton, 53.21 for 3rd swimmer Ford, while Whittle brought it home in 49.91.

Russia took silver in 3:27.14 without any sub-51 splits, while Turkey secured bronze in a time of 3:28.09.

Notable Semi-Final Swims:

  • Aleksandra Sabitova of Russia broke the EYOF Record for the women’s 100m fly, taking the top see4d in 59.31. That sliced .03 off of Belarus Anastasiya Shkurdai’s old mark of 59.34 from 2017. Shkurdai took the 50m/100m fly double this year at the European Junior Championships.
  • Aleksei Tkachev, also of Russia, sits atop the men’s 200m back field, holding a new EYOF Record of 2:01.27.

In terms of the medal table, Russia remains atop in the gold category, having collected 7 through day 3 resulting in 10 medals on the whole. Great Britain is right behind, also with 10 medals, but with nearly half as many golds in 4.

Croatia is still holding fast in 3rd thanks to 2 gold medals by Franko Grgic from days 1 and 2 here in Baku.

Swimming Medals Through Day 3:

1  Russian Federation 7 2 1 10 1
2  Great Britain 4 5 1 10 1
3  Croatia 2 0 0 2 7
4  Turkey 1 1 3 5 3
5  Italy 1 1 1 3 5
6  Romania 1 0 0 1 9
7  Hungary 0 4 1 5 3
8  Germany 0 1 2 3 5
9  France 0 1 1 2 7
10  Ukraine 0 1 0 1 9
11  Ireland 0 0 1 1 9
11  Spain 0 0 1 1 9
11  Poland 0 0 1 1 9
11  Greece 0 0 1 1 9
11  Denmark 0 0 1 1 9
11  Israel 0 0 1 1 9

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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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