World Junior Record Watch: 2023 World Junior Championships

Looking at the entries for this year’s meet, there are plenty of opportunities for the young superstars of the world to showcase their talent and vie for both medals and World Junior Records (WJRs). Despite absences from big names like Summer McIntosh and Dong Zhihao— who both set new World Junior Records in the women’s 200 Freestyle/200 Butterfly and the Men’s 200 Breaststroke at World Championships this year— it’s likely we’ll see more records go down in the coming week. 

Judged on a mix of raw time differences, percent differences, and other factors including competition and historical performances, here are the records we think could fall in Israel.

Men’s 400/800 Freestyle

Bulgaria’s Petar Mitsin is the only current WJR holder competing in this year’s championships. The 18-year-old boasts an impressive lineup for this meet, as the top seed in the 400 and 800 freestyles, the second seed in the 200 butterfly and 200 freestyle, and he’s also entered in the 100 butterfly. He’s likely to win both the 400 (in which he holds the current World-Aquatics-approved WJR of 3:44.31) and the 800, and a World Junior Record is possible in each. Lorenzo Galossi’s record of 7:43.37 (set at European Championships in 2022) is 4 seconds faster than Mitsin’s seed time, but when Mitsin is pushed by the likes of Romania’s Vlad Stancu and Turkey’s Kuzey Tuncelli, the WJR could be in jeopardy.


Women’s 100 Butterfly

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s star Lana Pudar barely missed out on finals in this event in Fukuoka. If she can shave half a second off her best time of 56.96, she has a shot at taking down the current WJR of 56.43 set by Claire Curzan at the TAC Spring Invitational in 2021. Just a second off of Pudar’s best, the United States’ Leah Shackley could provide some competition for the Bosnian European Championships bronze medalist.


Men’s 200 Backstroke

Kliment Kolesnikov currently holds the WJR in the 50, 100, and 200 backstrokes. His time of 1:55.14, set at Worlds in 2017, is only 0.65 seconds faster than Oleksandr Zheltiakov ’s Euro-Juniors-winning time of 1:55.79. The Ukrainian is seeded within the top 3 in each backstroke event. Zheltiakov will be pushed by Daniel Diehl from the United States, whose seed time of 1:56.04— also less than a second off of Kolesnikov’s record— could make this a very exciting (possibly record-breaking) race to watch.


Women’s 50 Backstroke

Minna Atherton’s longstanding record of 27.49, set at the Brisbane Sprint Champs in January 2016 will be challenged by fellow Australians Jaclyn Barclay and Iona Anderson. Barclay’s time of 27.94 tops the psych sheets, while Anderson’s time of 28.03 is not far behind. A breakout meet is well within reach for either swimmer, as they’re both seeded in the top 3 of the 50 and 100 backstrokes, with Barclay also seeded fifth in the 200. 


Men’s 200 IM

With two swimmers going 1:58s this year in the USA’s top-seeded Maximus Williamson and Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsushita, Hubert Kos’s 1:56.99 could be in danger. Rising star Williamson is 1.66 seconds away from Kos’s record, which was set at the European Champs in 2021. 


Men’s 100 Backstroke

As mentioned earlier, Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov is the WJR holder in the 100 backstroke with a 52.53, set at the European Champs in 2018. Daniel Diehl looks to challenge this record, coming in with a seed time of 53.07. The NC State commit tied for third in the 200 backstroke and won the B final in the 100 backstroke at the Phillips 66 National Championships in July, and if he can continue his upward trajectory, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future. 


For the full list of events and the differences between the top seeds and the current WJRs, see the table below.

Event WJR Holder WJR Time Difference Top Seed Swimmer Top Seed
M 50 Fly Diogo Matos Ribeiro 22.96 0.71 Casper Puggaard 23.67
M 100 Fly Kristof Milak 50.62 1.79 Casper Puggaard 52.41
M 200 Fly Kristof Milak 1:53.79 3.89 Wang Xizhe 1:57.68
M 50 Back Kliment Kolesnikov 24.00 0.75 Miroslav Knedla 24.75
M 100 Back Kliment Kolesnikov 52.53 0.54 Daniel Diehl 53.07
M 200 Back Kliment Kolesnikov 1:55.14 0.65 Oleksandr Zheltiakov 1:55.79
M 50 Breast Nicolo Martinenghi 26.97 0.59 Felix Iberle 27.56
M 100 Breast Nicolo Martinenghi 59.01 1.99 Arsen Kozakhmetov 1:01.00
M 200 Breast Dong Zhihao 2:08.04 3.85 Sai Ting Adam Mak 2:11.89
M 50 Free Michael Andrew 21.75 0.57 Flynn Southam 22.32
M 100 Free David Popovici 46.86 0.91 Flynn Southam 47.77
M 200 Free David Popovici 1:42.97 3.27 Flynn Southam 1:46.24
M 400 Free Petar Mitsin 3:44.31 0.00 Petar Mitsin 3:44.31
M 800 Free Lorenzo Galossi 7:43.37 4.08 Petar Mitsin 7:47.45
M 1500 Free Franko Grgic 14:46.09 8.07 Kuzey Tuncelli 14:54.16
M 200 IM Hubert Kos 1:56.99 1.66 Maximus Williamson 1:58.65
M 400 IM Ilia Borodin 4:10.02 5.46 Riku Yamaguchi 4:15.48
W 50 Fly Rikako Ikee 25.46 0.64 Lana Pudar 26.10
W 100 Fly Claire Curzan 56.43 0.53 Lana Pudar 56.96
W 200 Fly Summer McIntosh 2:04.06 2.20 Lana Pudar 2:06.26
W 50 Back Minna Atherton 27.49 0.45 Jaclyn Barclay 27.94
W 100 Back Regan Smith 57.57 2.16 Teagan O’Dell 59.73
W 200 Back Regan Smith 2:03.35 5.74 Teagan O’Dell 2:09.09
W 50 Breast Benedetta Pilato 29.30 0.78 Eneli Jefimova 30.08
W 100 Breast Ruta Meilutyte 1:04.35 1.83 Eneli Jefimova 1:06.18
W 200 Breast Viktoria Gunes 2:19.64 5.80 Mina Nakazawa 2:25.44
W 50 Free Claire Curzan 24.17 0.68 Olivia Wunsch 24.85
W 100 Free Penny Oleksiak 52.70 1.35 Olivia Wunsch 54.05
W 200 Free Summer McIntosh 1:53.65 4.44 Ella Jansen 1:58.09
W 400 Free Summer McIntosh 3:56.08 11.10 Ella Jansen 4:07.18
W 800 Free Katie Ledecky 8:11.00 18.62 Agostina Hein 8:29.62
W 1500 Free Katie Ledecky 15:28.36 45.83 Agostina Hein 16:14.19
W 200 IM Summer McIntosh 2:06.89 2.02 Leah Hayes 2:08.91
W 400 IM Summer McIntosh 4:25.87 12.60 Leah Hayes 4:38.47

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10 months ago

Rip to the mens 100/200 free wjr’s… they will never get touched

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Danny
10 months ago

Also, no junior swimmer has ever gotten anywhere close to Thorpe’s 3:41 from 24 years ago.

10 months ago
Anything but 50 BR
10 months ago

Looking at the time differences, McIntosh’s 400 IM and Ledecky’s 1500 FR stand out with more than 3s per 100m. The 200 BR, 200 BK and 400 IM (Gunes, Smith, McIntosh) are also quite impressive.

Interestingly, the differences on the boys’ side seem to be much smaller.

10 months ago

No matter what happens this week, I’ll still question Peter Mitsin’s performances if he breaks those WJR’s nothing against him it’s about the Bulgarian swimming federation and their questionable “methods” of developing fast swimmers.

10 months ago

The W 400 free and IM time difference between WJR and top is seed is wild

Anything but 50 BR
Reply to  Ploki
10 months ago

Some of McIntosh’s wjrs seem so far out of reach; it may take a swimmer dedicated to a single event to break them. But Ledecky’s 1500 FR is also huge.

Reply to  Ploki
10 months ago

Nice 45 second gap in the women’s mile too- don’t think that one’s going down anytime soon

10 months ago

The girls 4×1 Free is also under threat, if we see any progress from the Aussie kids.
Add the 4×1 Free mixed

Reply to  Stefe
10 months ago

Yeah those are both reasonably in play if all four legs swim at their best