PHOENIX, Arizona, May 8. THE swimming competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games turned out to be the breeding ground for some of the global talent making names in the sport today. One of them became an Olympic champion. Three of them added NCAA champion to their accomplishments. And a few others are found in the top three at international competitions.
Courtesy of: Joan Marc Bosch
Courtesy of: Joan Marc Bosch
The 2014 Youth Olympics is 100 days away, and we're anxious to see who will emerge from this year's competition as a future talent on the world and national stage. Today, we're looking back at the top names that came out of the Youth Olympics in Singapore.
Jeremy Bagshaw, Canada
Bagshaw never won an individual NCAA title during his time at the University of California-Berkeley, but he was a key component in the past two team titles. He was particularly instrumental in this year's win, moving up from 16th to second in the 1650 freestyle to give the Golden Bears the needed cushion over Texas. The Youth Olympics in 2010 marked Bagshaw's first major international competition, where he picked up bronze in the 200 free and was fifth in the 400 free.
Peter Bernek, Hungary
It took a couple of years for Bernek to find himself in a major international senior-level final after winning the 200 back in the Youth Olympics. The year 2012 was a rollercoaster year for him, as he won silver in the 200 back at the long course European championships but was 12th in the event at the Olympics. That December at the short course world championships, Bernek finished fifth in a contentious 200 back final. Last year at the world championships, where Hungary had a spectacular showing, Bernek placed eighth in the 200 back.
Bence Biczo, Hungary
Biczo, the 200 fly Youth Olympic Games champion, just missed out on the 200 fly Olympic final in 2012 and the world championship final in 2013, but he has been a strong presence on the European stage. He was the European junior champion in 2010 and 2011 as well the silver medalist at the European senior championships in 2012.
Dylan Bosch, South Africa
Four years before he would become the fastest swimmer in history in the 200-yard butterfly, Dylan Bosch was honing his individual medley skills, winning a bronze in the 200 IM in Singapore. Interestingly, Bosch did not swim the 200 fly in the 2010 Youth Olympics, but got a taste of international competition with his one race. After missing out on qualifying for the 2012 Olympic team, Bosch is ready for his Commonwealth Games debut, set to race in the 200 IM and 200 fly.
Marcin Cieslak, Poland
Immediately after winning a bronze medal in the 200 fly in Singapore (as well as missing bronze in the 100 fly by .01), Cieslak traveled to Gainesville, Fla., to start his career at the University of Florida. After three years of getting oh-so-close to capturing NCAA titles, Cieslak found himself on top of the podium twice this year, winning the 200 IM and 100 fly in dramatic fashion. In 2012, Cieslak made his Olympic debut, placing 19th in the 200 fly finals. After his short course yards swims this past March, Cieslak should not be counted out for multiple medals at this summer's European championships.
Kaitlyn Jones, USA
The Americans were not a major force at the 2010 Youth Olympics, where Kaitlyn Jones won the sole gold medal for the Americans. Her 2:14.53 in the 200 IM was cause for celebration for the Delaware native, who would make another big statement in the 200 IM in 2013. At the Delaware high school championships, Jones broke the independent national high school record in the 200 IM, the second of three people to do so during the 2012-2013 high school season. She's now a freshman at Virginia and wrapped up her season with a 10th-place finish in the 200 IM at the NCAA championships.
Chad Le Clos, South Africa
The most famous name of all the 2010 alumni, Le Clos was a couple of months away from becoming an international star. Not many thought the YOG winner of the 200 IM and three-time silver medalist (400 free, 100 fly, 200 fly) would be standing on top of the podium in the 200 fly and 400 IM at the Commonwealth Games in October.
Though Le Clos began to creep into the conversation for medals at the 2012 Olympics, Le Clos never publicly claimed he was aiming for medals in 2012. The Rio Games in 2016 were his focus, he said in the weeks and months leading up to London. That all changed when he out-touched Michael Phelps for gold in the 200 fly by five hundredths of a second, then tied for silver in the 100 fly. Le Clos has become a national hero in South Africa and continues to lead the world in the butterfly events, taking the 100 and 200 butterflys at the 2013 world championships. Le Clos will serve as Youth Olympic Games ambassador this year, likely proving to the teens in attendance that hard work and determination can make any goal possible.
Cristian Quintero, Venezuela
Like Cieslak, Quintero was always on the cusp of winning NCAA titles, finally getting his hand on the wall first in 2014 in the 500 freestyle for the University of Southern California. In 2010, Quintero took silver in the 200 free, bronze in the 400 free and was a finalist in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Velimir Stjepanovic, Serbia
A silver medalist in the 100 free and bronze medalist in the 100 fly at the 2010 Youth Olympics, Stjepanovic branched out to the longer butterfly race in 2012 and reaped big benefits. He was no worse than fourth for the first two-thirds of the 200 butterfly final at the 2012 Olympics, but faded to sixth.
Tang Yi, China
Tang was the most successful swimmer at the Youth Olympics in 2012, winning the 50, 100 and 200 freestyles as well as helping China win gold in the women's 400 free relay and both mixed relays. The following year she played a vital role on relays at the 2013 world championships, swimming freestyle on the silver medal-winning medley relay and the anchor leg on the 800 free relay that won bronze. At the London Olympics, Tang was a darkhorse for a medal in the 100 free, and followed through with a bronze medal.
Kenneth To, Australia
To is known today as an extremely versatile swimmer, and he showed off his range in 2010 with six medals for Australia. In addition to collecting silver in the 50 free, he was also the runner-up in the 200 IM and bronze medalist in the 100 free. He also helped Australia win the 400 medley relay with a strong butterfly leg and was on the medal-winning 400 free relay and mixed 400 medley relay. The following year, To found himself in the final of the 200 IM at the world championships but could not back that up with a spot on the Australian Olympic team. To was a prominent fixture on the FINA World Cup circuit, winning the men's overall title in 2012 and raking in thousands of dollars in 2013. He's set to make some noise at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific championships this summer.
Tera van Beilen, Canada
A gold medal in the 100 breast at the 2010 Youth Olympics helped start a strong career for van Beilen, who qualified for the Canadian Olympic team in both breaststrokes. She just missed out on making the 100 breast final in London, losing to Alia Atkinson in a swimoff. She's set to represent Canada this summer at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific championships.
Christian vom Lehn, Germany
One year after helping Germany win bronze in the 400 medley relay at the Youth Olympics, vom Lehn had a silver medal hanging from his neck at the 2011 world championships. Vom Lehn dropped an amazing seven seconds off his 200 breast time that got him fourth at the YOG to earn that silver medal in the 200 breast in Shanghai. Vom Lehn made the semifinals of the 200 breast at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 worlds but was unable to advance to the championship final.
Daryna Zevina, Ukraine
Zevina won three medals at the Youth Olympics, taking the gold in the 100 back as well as silver in the 50 and bronze in the 200. The following year, she was a major force at the 2011 world junior championships as the champion in all three backstroke distances. Her most impressive performances were at the short course European championships, where she won the 100 and 200 backstrokes at the 2011 and 2012 meets. Her first medal at a major senior-level meet was bronze in the 200 back at the short course world championships in 2012.