Turkey & Poland Make Major Moves To Shake Up Euro Juniors Final Medal Table


  • Tuesday, July 6th – Sunday, July 11th
  • Foro Italico, Rome, Italy
  • Heats at 9:30am local (3:30am EST)/Finals at 6pm local (Noon EST)
  • LCM (50m)
  • Live Results

The 2021 European Junior Swimming Championships concluded yesterday in Rome, Italy. Reviewing the overall medal table between this year’s edition and 2019 reveals a noted movement by certain countries who either surpassed or failed to meet what they did 2 years ago.

The consistent player throughout both 2019 and now was Russia, with the nation topping the medal table for the 9th year in a row. This time around, Russia claimed 26 medals in all, a marked decrease from 36 in 2019. A big reason why there was a drop in their tally came courtesy of the powerful Turkish/Polish combo that grabbed 27 medals between them.

Looking at Turkey first, the nation is reaping the benefits of a distance freestyle explosion, led by 16-year-old Merve Tuncel. The World Junior Record holder in the SCM 1500 free topped the podium here in Rome across the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle races, while her male counterparts accomplished the same feat on their side, including a championships record by University of Wisconsin commit Yigit Aslan in the 800m free.

Berke Saka also won the men’s 200m IM to contribute to Turkey’s impressive combined 7 gold medals. In 2019, the nation came away with zero golds and just 5 pieces of hardware in total.

Poland was the most successful nation on the final day of competition here in Rome, with their medal haul on day 6 alone bringing home 4 golds, 1 bronze and 1 silver.

In total over the 6 days of competition, Poland surged to 12 medals in all, with 5 of them gold. Compare that to 2 years ago when Poland walked away entirely medal-less. The podium-toppers here included Krzysztof Chmielewski in the 200m fly, Laura Bernat in the 200m back, Ksawery Masiuk in both the 100m and 200m back, as well as the men’s 400m medley relay.

The rags to riches story was the same for Romania, with the country going from zero medals in 2019 to 4 here in Rome. 3 of those medals were gold, courtesy of speedster David Popovici. The 16-year-old took the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle events, with his 47.30 checking in as the new World Junior Record. He also helped power the men’s 400m free relay to silver this time around.

We also documented how Bosnia and Herzegovina made some noise throughout the competition in Rome, winding up 10th in the overall medal table. Their swimmers reaped 5 medals in all, topped by a final day gold in the women’s 100m fly by Lana Pudar.

Notably, the nation of Germany slid from slot #2 to slot #11 between 2019 and 2021. While the previous version of these European Junior Championships saw the likes of Artem Selin and Isabel Gose grab gold, this year’s sole gold medalist came in the form of Cedric Buessing who clinched the 400m IM title on the final day of competition.


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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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