DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, August 27. THE second day of long course competition at the FINA world junior swimming championships featured Russian dominance at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Sports Complex.
Boys 100 backstroke
After a quick start by Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago, Apostolos Christou of Greece took command of the race and never let up, winning the first final of the night in a meet-record time of 54.87. The swim beat future Olympian Daniel Bell’s time of 54.99 from the 2008 championships. Danas Rapsys of Lithuania, the top qualifier, took silver with a 55.24, while Grigory Tarasevich of Hungary captured bronze with a 55.33.
Carter settled for fourth with a 55.36, while Japan’s Keita Sunama was fifth with a 55.37. Luca Mencarini of Italy (55.43), Connor Green of the United States (55.54) and Vitor Santos of Brazil (55.66) completed the field for tonight’s final.
Girls 200 butterfly
Using a strong surge in the final 50 meters, Kathryn McLaughlin of the United States overtook Hungary’s Liliana Szilagyi in the final strokes to win gold with a 2:08.72 ahead of Szilagyi’s 2:09.46. Japan’s Misuzu Yabu was third with a 2:10.76.
Alanna Bowles of Australia (2:11.36), Becca Mann of the United States (2:13.51), Jurina Shiga of Japan (2:14.93), Emma Day of Great Britain (2:14.96) and Mary-Sophie Harvey (2:16.54) rounded out the championship final.
Boys 200 freestyle
Mack Horton is quickly becoming the star of the junior world championships, taking his third gold medal of the meet with a meet-record swim of 1:47.55. The swim beat Danila Izotov’s record of 1:47.63 from the 2008 meet. Izotov has since become a major fixture on the senior elite level, winning bronze in the 200 free three weeks ago at the world championships in Barcelona.
James Guy of Great Britain held a slight lead over the first 100 meters, and was unable to keep up with Horton’s unmatched endurance in the final stretch, taking silver in 1:48.18. Andrea D’Arrigo of Italy, who was fourth in the 400 free yesterday, picked up his first medal of the meet with a bronze-medal time of 1:48.28. Nicolangelo DiFabio was also in the thick of the medal hunt but could only place fourth with a 1:48.49.
Aleksandr Krasnykh of Russia (1:48.61), Caeleb Dressel of the United States (1:49.29), Regan Leong of Australia (1:49.81) and Luiz Melo of Brazil (1:49.93) also raced in the championship final. Dressel was unable to match his lifetime best of 1:48.64 that he swam a couple of weeks ago at the junior national championship to set a national age group record in the 15-16 age group.
Girls 50 breaststroke
The world record was 29.48, and the world record holder was swimming in lane four. But Ruta Meilutyte was unable to match her performance from the world championships, settling for a winning time of 29.86 in the first of two swims for the Lithuanian tonight. Viktoriya Solnceva of Ukraine was happy to take the silver with a 31.34, and Sophie Taylor of Great Britain took the bronze with a 31.38.
Also racing in that final were Italy’s Arianna Castiglioni (31.52), Australia’s Jenna Strauch (31.68), Hungary’s Anna Sztankovics (32.20), Sweden’s Jessica Bilquist (32.44) and Hungary’s Dalma Sebestyen (32.57).
Boys 100 breaststroke
A tight four-person race to the wall made deciding the finish too difficult to the naked eye. It was Russia’s Ilya Khomenko who stopped the clock first with a 1:00.88, taking down Craig Benson’s meet record of 1:01.34. Vsevolod Zanko made it a Russian 1-2 with a runner-up time of 1:01.10, also under the meet record. Japan’s Kohei Goto almost dipped under Benson’s mark with a bronze-medal swim of 1:01.39.
Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan (1:01.43), Carlos Claverie of Venezuela (1:01.99), Krzyzstof Tokarski of Poland (1:02.25), Pedro Cardona of Brazil (1:02.32) and Antoine Bujold of Canada (1:02.39) rounded out the championship final field.
Girls 100 backstroke
Daria Ustinova, who was a competitor at the world championships in the backstroke events including an appearance in the 200 back final, seemed destined for the silver medal in the event, with Great Britain’s Jessica Fullalove leading throughout the race. But Ustinova’s final lunge at the wall got her the win with a 1:00.88. She fell short of Daryna Zevina’s meet record of 1:00.59, but is likely happy to have eked out the win. In second place was Kathleen Baker of the United States with a 1:01.18, and Fullalove was third with a 1:01.27.
Also placing in the final were Clara Smiddy of the United States (1:01.33), Charlotte McKenzie of Great Britain (1:01.56), Sian Whittaker of Australia (1:01.85), Australia’s Lauren Rettie (1:01.87) and Kennedy Goss of Canada (1:02.02).
Boys 200 individual medley
The race for gold came down to five swimmers battling for not only gold but the respected sub-2:00 swim. Four swimmers broke the barrier, with USA’s Gunnar Bentz celebrating his first time under with a winning time of 1:59.44. His time beat the championship record of 1:59.91 set by teammate Andrew Seliskar in the prelims and made good on his goal of breaking two minutes that he vocalized on a recent “Morning Swim Show” interview.
Semen Makovich, the top seed coming into the meet and the only one who had previously gotten under two minutes, led for the majority of the race from lane 1 but had to settle for second with a 1:59.50. Japan’s Keita Sunama, racing between Bentz and Makovich, is likely celebrating his bronze-medal time of 1:59.74. Seliskar improved on his prelim swim, but will not be on the podium, as his new lifetime best of 1:59.84 was only good enough for fourth place, but will be the new 15-16 national age group record. Also in the hunt was Canada’s Evan White, who was fifth with a 2:00.31.
Great Britain’s Max Litchfield (2:01.59), Hungary’s David Foldhazi (2:02.09) and Russia’s Aleksandr Osipenko (2:02.12) also had spots in the final.
Girls 800 freestyle
The timed final event was won with a start-to-finish victory by Australia’s Alanna Bowles with an 8:32.68, just missing the meet record of 8:32.30 by countrywoman Bonnie Macdonald of Australia. Linda Caponi of Italy was comfortably in second place for 700 meters but was run down by American Becca Mann in the final stretch. Mann’s 8:37.85 is more remarkable given that she swam in the 200 fly final earlier in the session, and is a full 10 seconds off her lifetime best of 8:27.37 from the Orlando Grand Prix earlier this year. Caponi’s time of 8:38.42 was good for bronze.
Rounding out the top eight finishers were: Isabella Rongione of the United States (8:40.00), Emu Higuchi of Japan (8:43.06), Australia’s Kiah Melverton (8:45.06), Italy’s Alisia Tettamanzi (8:47.17) and Mexico’s Alysson Macias (8:49.52).
Mixed 400 medley relay
For the first time at the world junior championships, the mixed medley relay was contested. Each team had two boys and two girls racing, and in a medley relay, the strategy is extremely important in deciding which gender swims which strokes. Lithuania had a commanding lead going into freestyle, but Russia’s Evgeny Sedov blazed by Lithuania’s Eva Gliiozeryte for the gold medal with a 3:48.89. Lithuania was second with a 3:52.52, and the United States raced to third with a 3:52.63.
Australia (3:52.99), Great Britain (3:53.85), Germany (3:55.63) and the Czech Republic (3:56.19) all swam to official times. Canada was disqualified.
Boys 100 butterfly
The United States’ duo of Matthew Josa and Justin Lynch took the top two qualifying spots in the event, with Josa posting a 52.96 in the second semifinal and Lynch touching in 53.29. Both were about five tenths off their lifetime bests, with Josa’s 52.46 coming at the U.S. Open last month, and Lynch’s 52.76 taking place at the U.S. nationals in June that stands as the national age group record in the 15-16 age group.
Also set to compete in the final: Pedro Vieira of Brazil (53.41), Alexander Kudashev of Russia (53.52), Ryan Coetzee of South Africa (53.59), Takaya Yasue of Japan (53.76), Austria’s Sacha Subarsky (53.95) and Masato Sakai of Japan (53.99).
Girls 100 freestyle
Rozaliy Nasretdinova of Russia will line up in lane four in tomorrow’s 100 freestyle final after posting a 55.05 in the second semifinal. Meilutyte, less than 30 minutes after winning the 50 breaststroke, found herself in a tie for the second spot with a 55.16 with American Cierra Runge in the first semifinal.
Exactly a second separates first from eighth in the qualifiers for tomorrow’s final. Rounding out the field includes: Shayna Jack of Australia (55.34), Mariia Baklakova of Russia (55.35), Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey (55.44), Great Britain’s Grace Vertigans (55.69) and American Mary Schneider (56.05).