The 2013 European Junior Championships begin Wednesday in Poznan, Poland, and there will be two big headliners in tow. One you’ve all heard of, Olympic 100 breaststroke champion Ruta Meilutyte, who is heavily favored to take both the 50 and 100 meter breaststroke titles at this summer’s World Championships.
The other is Russia’s Evgeny Sedov, who is a 2016 or even 2020 Olympic sprint contender. He went 22.6 in the 50 meter free in 2012 when he was 16, and this year at 17 has already been 22.3, plus a 49.4 in the 100 free.
He’ll also race the 50 back, the 100 back, the 50 fly, and the 100 fly, and should lead a huge Russian medal haul. The Russians didn’t have their best performance at this meet in 2011, but in 2012 they led the medal table with 12 golds (though Germany still took more overall medals). They won four of the six relays, including sweeping the women’s relays, last year.
This year between Sedov, heavy women’s backstroke favorite 14-year old Daria Ustinova, boys 100 backstroke top seed Grigory Tarasevich, and some scary-deep men’s sprint relays, the Russians should again clean up a big medal haul, though with strong teams from Great Britain and France the overall medal count could be up in the air.
But the one-woman show will be Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, who will swim the 50 free and the 100 breaststroke (though, oddly, not the 50 breaststroke where she’s the European Record holder). She will probably be beginning her descent for Worlds by the time the 100 breaststroke rolls around, and there’s enough quality at this meet to give her something to race against. Ukrainian 15-year old Viktoriya Solntseva, who could be the next big thing in European breaststroking, is the 2nd seed in a 1:07.3, and Germany’s Margarethe Hummel is the defending silver medalist in the event.
Another really good race could be the men’s 200 free, where Britain’s James Guy will show down against Italy’s Andrea D’Arrigo, the latter of whom trains at the Gator Swim Club in Florida and will join the prestigious middle-distance program at Virginia in a few months.
Some details about the meet:
Swimming events run from Wednesday, July 10th through Sunday, July 14th.