Russia Tops Euro Jrs Medal Count, But Look Out For GBR & Israel


Even with young superstars Kristof Milak and Ajna Kesely winning multiple events for their nation of Hungary, Russia’s depth was too much for any other nation to handle when it came to tallying up the final medal count of the 2018 European Junior Championships.

As with the 2017 edition of these championships, Russia led the overall medal count, albeit with 4 more than last year, with 34 medals in all here in Helsinki. 18 of those were gold, 12 silver and 4 bronze. Hungary was #2 overall in the medal count, with 12 golds, 2 silvers and 5 bronze for a total of 19 overall medals. Hungary found itself in the runner-up spot last year as well.

Leading the charge for Russia was elite backstroker Kliment Kolesnikov, who completed a haul of 6 gold medals, including a sweep of the men’s backstroke events (tying in the men’s 100m back) and relay medals across the 4x100m free, 4x100m medley and mixed 4x100m freestyle events.

Great Britain notably bumped itself up from 4th last year to 3rd, almost doubling its overall medal count. Last year, GBR raced its way to just 2 gold medals overall, but the emerging powerhouse took home 6 gold medals this time around, courtesy of such stars as Freya Anderson and Tom Dean.

Anderson took the women’s 50m and 100m freestyle individual golds, while Dean established himself as the new championship record holder en route to 200m IM gold. World Junior champion Emily Large also struck gold in a 100m fly tie with Belarusian Anastasiya Shkurdai, while the women’s 4x100m medley relay raced to gold in a new championship record. Tatiana Belonogoff took the women’s 50m breaststroke for another tally in that gold medal column.

Israel made a monster move from 22nd last year to a remarkable 4th overall this time around. The Israeli men’x 4x200m freestyle relay shocked the field to take gold while Tomer Frankel beat out a stacked junior field to wrap up gold in the 100m freestyle sprint. Denis Loktev took silver in the men’s 200m freestyle as well, which gave Israel 3 medals total, as opposed to just 1 bronze back in 2017.

Belarus finished 5th overall in this year’s medal table with 2 golds, one from the aforementioned Shkurdai, and the other also from Shkurdai in the women’s 50m fly race.

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Ehm.., Shkurdai not Shkurdan (written 3 times perhaps wasn’t a typo😃)


Every year the same with Russians at Euros. They are cheating but are not caught with 16 years but will be later and then we never hear about them again.

“never hear about them again” – Among Russia’s recent Euro Jr. Champs: Anton Chupkov (World Champion), Kliment Kolesnikov (WR holder), Daniil Pakhomov (Worlds bronze medalist), Arina Opensheva (4 medals at WUGs last year), Daria Ustinova (Worlds bronze medalist), Rozaliya Nastretdinova (WUGs 50 free champ last year), etc. etc. etc.

There’s lots of evidence supporting a Russian state-sponsored doping program. This particular claim seems to be fairly weak.

Captain Awesome

Some Russians such as these make the transition to success at the senior level. However it was even stated in this article the shear depth of the Russian team, the same as it is every year. So for every superstar there is like Chupkov there are many many more that we never here from again. The Russians dominate the juniors every year, and while not an insignificant team on the senior level they just are not anywhere near as dominate. I’m not saying that they’re doping, I just think it’s noticeable.

Sum Ting Wong

Different society norms . In the US 40-45 year old women are having 1st babies whereas in Russia 19 -22 is expected. . In Russia 55 was a woman pensioner .until last week . Unless you are very top , why waste your best reproductive years swimming up & down & up & down . As juniors they get good money for international wins , then they buy a flat & start their real life. For example Anastasia Grishina’s winnings came to light thru a family dispute . She was a top junior gymnast & a team silver medallist in 2012 . She retired at 18 but had a Dasha, a part share in a Moscow apartment , a studio… Read more »


Also, Russian sporting culture stems from Soviet times. They are not scared of putting a lot on athletes from a very young age.

Wouldn’t be shocked if more burn out or just develop earlier due to workloads in training.


I was surprised to learn that Barbara Bush got married when she was 20 and gave birth to her first child at the age of 21. The cultural norms have changed since then.
Your information on Russian demographic is outdated.


If you could hear Russian commentator during Russian Championship then he expressed the same concern. There is no such a thing like college swimming in Russia. If young promising swimmers don’t see themselves as good money earning pro they quit.


The problem imo is more due overswim since young age than pro money. Some of these young russian I see in the ejc are already build up.
Minakov is a 2002 but he looks like an adult, he probably swim double since he was 10 years old. You can’t expect steadly progress in an athlete if he reach is physical development at 17 (minakov is just an example)


I am not an expert in Russian swimming. The concern that I heard was that there is a gap between a large group of young swimmers who easily qualified for international junior meets and swimmers who could hardly make qualification times for European championships. That the special meeting was held at the top management of Russian sport to address this problem and some actions were planned to be undertaken to resolve the issue. There was some suggestion about possible cause of the problem that I conveyed here. How realistic it is I don’t know.


Germany and Italy had a great meet as well, with 16 and 15 total medals. They were just “unlucky” with the golds.

It will be intresting to see how Hungary finishes next year, as 10 of their gold medals came from Késely, Milák and Kalmár, three swimmers aging out of junior competition.


Probably not a dozen of golds, but there are dozens of talents who can surprise us. If i have to name one, ít is Gábor Zombori. Kolesnikov’s WJR on 200back won’t be safe in 2020.


Zombori’s freestyle is also improving swiftly, he just dropped a 50.38 split in Helsinki in the morning heats. Milak’s age group record is 50.94 with a flat start. Watch out for the guy




Last time we had 21 medals (11golds), and we “lost” e.g Nandor Nemeth who won 3 golds and 2 silvers, but also Barta Marton, Hollo Balazs, Lakatos David, Marton Richard also with medals, including golds too. So we’ll see.


Great Britain’s chances for next year are even worse, all its medal holders are ageing out (Anderson, Large, Belonogoff, Dean, Pyle, Peters, Burras), so they might have problems,not only individually, but in the relays as well.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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