DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, August 19. OLYMPIC and world champion Ruta Meilutyte is not taking a break from competing this summer, as organizers have confirmed that the Lithuanian is racing at the FINA junior world swimming championships next week.
Meilutyte, 16, had an impressive world championships recently in Barcelona, Spain, where she set world records in the 50 and 100 breaststroke events. She collected gold in the 100 breast and was touched out by Yuliya Efimova for gold in the 50 breast. Meilutyte’s world records currently stand at 29.48 for the 50 and 1:04.35 for the 100.
Meilutyte, who lives and trains in the United Kingdom, first came to prominence at the London Olympics with a surprise gold medal in the 100 breaststroke at 15 years old.
This will be the first time an Olympic medalist has competed in the world junior championships. In its first three editions (in 2006, 2008 and 2011), scores of future Olympians have raced for gold, but never one of Meilutyte’s stature. FINA’s rules regarding participation in the junior world championships do not prohibit anyone from competing based on past accomplishments. The only major restriction is based on age: Girls must be between 14 and 17 years old, while the boy must be between 15 and 18 years old.
“We are very excited about the level of competition that will be on display, and spectators are guaranteed some world-class action in the pool, with swimmers such as Olympic and world champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania competing,” UAE swimming federation President Ahmad Al Falasi told gulfnews.com. The article also says other Olympians will compete in Dubai, but does not list their names.