Young Turkish Swimmers Continue to Emerge at Euro Junior Open Water Champs

European Junior Open Water Championships

  • When: June 3-5
  • Where: Setubal, Portugal
  • Results

Turkey followed up its breakout performance at last year’s European Junior Swimming Championships in Rome with another impressive showing at the European Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Setubal, Portugal. Only team trophy winner Italy won as many medals (six) as Turkey, which continued its emergence by capturing two golds, two silvers and two bronzes. 

On Friday, Turkey swept the podium in the boys’ 5km race, adding a silver and bronze in the girls’ competition. Unsurprisingly, they dominated Sunday’s U16 relay to secure their second gold medal of the weekend. A year ago in Rome, Turkey excelled in long-distance events at the European Junior Swimming Championships en route to 15 medals, seven of them gold. The future still appears bright for the young Turks as they swept all but one medal in the youngest 14-15 age group. 

Traditional open water powerhouses France, Germany, Italy, and Hungary took home most of the medals in the older age-group races. Swimmers from France, Germany, and Italy placed in that order in both 7.5km events for the 16-17 age group. Frenchman Sacha Velly was ahead of the pack by nearly two minutes, not shocking considering his recent head-turning victory at the second leg of the LEN Open Water Cup in Piombino. Last December, Velly broke the French age record for 17-year-olds in the 1500-meter freestyle with a personal-best 15:01.86. 

In the boys’ 10km race, the Olympic distance, 18-year-old Hungarian David Betlehem defended his title from Paris last year. On the women’s side, France’s Madelon Catteau pulled off an upset over Hungary’s Mira Szimcsak, who placed second just three weeks after a huge win at the LEN Open Water Cup in Alghero. Host nation Portugal also earned its lone medal in the 10km, a bronze courtesy of Mafalda Rosa, who was a European junior champion last year in Paris.

Italy again claimed the team title even without winning a gold medal thanks to three silvers, three golds, and many others valuable placements. Germany placed second a year after leading last year’s field with six total medals. Hungary was fourth after winning four gold medals and a silver last year. France finished fifth despite leading all countries with three gold medals. 

The next step for third-place Turkey is translating recent junior success into Olympic and World Championship medals down the road. Turkey didn’t win any swimming medals last summer in Tokyo. 

Team standings

  1. Italy, 237 points
  2. Germany, 186 points
  3. Turkey, 185 points
  4. Hungary, 181 points
  5. France, 69 points
  6. Spain, 63 points


Men’s 5km (14-15)

  1. Emir Albayrak (TUR), 1:06:41.7 
  2. Tuncer Erturk (TUR), 1:07:32.7
  3. Kadem Erdagli (TUR), 1:07:49.9

Women’s 5 km (14-15)

  1. Julia Ackermann (GER), 1:13:09.3
  2. Sevim Supurgeci (TUR), 1:13:18.4
  3. Talya Erdogan (TUR), 1:13:21.7

Men’s 7.5km (16-17)

  1. Sacha Velly (FRA), 1:32:46.0
  2. Vincenzo Caso (ITA), 1:34:33.3
  3. Linus Schwelder (GER), 1:34:34.7

Women’s 7.5 km (16-17)

  1. Clemence Coccordano (FRA), 1:46:06.0
  2. Federica Senatore (ITA), 1:47:21.3
  3. Lara Braun (GER), 1:47:40.7

Men’s 10km (18-19)

  1. David Betlehem (HUN), 1:44:15.8
  2. Paquale Giordano (ITA), 1:46:31.2
  3. Giuseppe Ilario (ITA), 1:46:32.7

Women’s 10km (18-19)

  1. Madelon Catteau (FRA), 1:55:07.7
  2. Mira Szimcsak (HUN), 1:55:39.2
  3. Mafalda Rosa (POR), 1:55:39.2

U16 relay (5km)

  1. Turkey, 58:56
  2. Germany, 59:16
  3. Italy, 1:00:20

U19 relay (6.25km)

  1. Hungary, 59:44
  2. Germany, 1:01:31
  3. Italy, 1:01:52


  1. France, 3-0-0
  2. Turkey, 2-2-2
  3. Hungary, 2-1-0
  4. Germany, 1-2-2
  5. Italy, 0-3-3
  6. Portugal, 0-0-1

Team trophy (top 6)

  1. Italy, 237
  2. Germany, 186
  3. Turkey, 185
  4. Hungary, 181
  5. France, 69
  6. Spain, 63

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1 year ago

Had the Junior aged swimmers been vaccinated last year, they would have had a good show in Paris last year too. Instead of Paris, the swimmers went to Ohrid, Macedonia for a FINA CNSG Marathon on Aug 28 and swam 10K against some incredible swimmers, who were 4 to 11 years older and had some fantastic swims.

1 year ago

Turkey will get at least one medal in LA methinks

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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