XV SUMMER EUROPEAN YOUTH OLYMPIC FESTIVAL
- Monday, July 22nd – Friday, July 26th (swimming)
- Baku Aquatics Center, Baku, Azerbaijan
- Meet Site
With the World Championships in Korea monopolizing the swimming spotlight this past week, several notable swims taking place at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan went under the radar. You can catch up on each day’s EYOF SwimSwam recap below.
Additionally, we’ve selected 5 swims for our top performances of the meet for the men here, but now it’s the women’s turn. Several of the swimmers contesting events at this EYOF will be in action this August again, competing at the 2019 FINA World Junior Championships.
In no particular order:
#1 – Katie Shanahan (GBR) Destroys Personal Best in 200 Back – 2:11.20
British breakthrough star Katie Shanahan captured 3 individual gold medals at the EYOF, including the 200m IM, 400m IM and 200m back. With her 3 golds, she accounted for exactly half of the total 6 gold GBR would bring home from the EYOF. The 15-year-old’s most eye-opening performance, however, came in the 200m back.
Shanahan touched in 2:11.20 to top the women’s 2back podium, taking down the previous EYOF Record of 2:11.57 set by Russian Daria Vaskina in 2017. Vaskina just took bronze in the women’s 50m back at this year’s World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.
Shanahan’s 2:11.20 time outperformed this year’s European Junior Champion Erika Fransesca Gaetani of Italy, who had to settle for silver in 2:12.03.
The Briton’s outing destroyed the teen’s previous personal best of 2:13.68 registered just this year at the British Swimming Championships. Her Baku time established a new British and Scottish Age Record for 15-year-olds in the 200m back, as well as moved the City of Glasgow swimmer into the 21st slot among all-time British performers at any age.
#2 – Beril Boecekler (TUR) Dips Under 4:10 Threshold in 400 Free – 4:09.71
Turkey’s 15-year-old freestyle ace Beril Boecekler landed on the podium here in Baku across the 200m, 400m, and 800m freestyle events, hitting new Turkish National Records in each.
Her 400m free performance was especially impressive, with the teen firing off the first sub-4:10 outing of her young career in 4:09.71. That result proved good enough to establish a new EYOF meet record destroying the 4:15.17 put up by Russia’s Maria Baklakova back in 2011.
Boececkler’s time steamrolled right over her previous personal best of 4:10.41 logged at the European Junior Championships in Kazan. Had the Turk hit this 4:09.71 mark there, she would have walked away with European Junior Championship silver instead of 4th.
For perspective, Boecekler’s 4:09.71 would rank as the 12th fastest performance in history by an American aged 15 or 16.
#3 – Evgenia Chikunova (RUS) in a 200 Breast League of her Own – 2:24.15
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.
Chikunova’s 2:24.15 gold medal-worthy effort from Baku remarkably would have finished 6th in the women’s 200m breast final at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju.
#4 – Aleksandra Sabitova (RUS) Secures Sub-Minute 100 Fly gold – 59.07
Russia’s Aleksandra Sabitova owned the women’s 100m fly event from prelims to semi-finals to finals here in Baku, ultimately topping the podium in a time of 59.07. That checked in as a new personal best, overtaking her own 59.21 logged for silver at the European Junior Championships earlier this month. There in Kazan, the 15-year-old finished behind Belarusian Anastasiya Shkrudai’s monster 57.39.
Sabitovaa represented the only sub-minute 100m flyer in Baku, however, overtaking the previous EYOF Record set by the aforementioned Shkrudai back in 2017.
Sabitova now ranks as the 2nd fastest European female under 18 this season.
#5 – Erika Francesca Gaetani (ITA) Gives Italy Gold in 100 Back – 1:01.17
At just 14 years of age, Erika Francesca Gaetani is already making a name for herself in the backstroke discipline internationally. The Italian took the gold medal in the 200m back, as well as silver in the 100m back at the 2019 European Junior Championships in Kazan, but did a reversal here in Baku.
Gaetani finished in the silver position behind the aforementioned Shanahan in the 200m back in 2:12.03, but fired back with a personal best of 1:01.17 in the 100m sprint to get the gold.
Entering Baku, Gaetani’s personal best in the 100m back rested at the 1:01.62 she produced for silver in Kazan behind Russian Daria Vaskina. Her swim here in Baku sliced almost half a second off of that mark and fall just .09 shy of Giulia D’Innocenzo’s 1:01.08 Italian Junior Record.