Ajna Kesely Claims Two Golds, One Championship Record on Day 1 of European Junior Championships

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The first day of the 2018 European Junior Championships saw Hungary’s Ajna Kesely claim her first two gold medals and set a championship record in the 800 free. Fellow Hungarian Kristof Milak added a gold medal to his name, while Kliment Kolesnikov set himself up for a gold and a possible championship record in the 100 back finals tomorrow.

2018 European Junior Championships, Day 1 Finals – Results

Women’s 400 IM

Hungary’s Ajna Kesely won handily in her first of many events over the course of the championships, claiming victory in the 400 IM by 4.2 seconds with a 4:41.55. Kesely jumped to the lead early in the race, out-splitting the competition at each turn throughout the first 200 meters, however Germany’s Yara Sophie Hierath was able to shorten some of the gap in the breaststroke leg.

Hierath finished second overall in the race with a time of 4:45.75, followed closely by Hungary’s Lili Horvath’s 4:45.88.

Men’s 200 Breast Semi-Final

Italy’s Alessandro Fusco topped the men’s semi-final heats of the 200 breast, grabbing the first place seed by 1.01 seconds. Fusco turned in a 2:12.47, edging him closer to the championship record of 2:10.69.

Aleksandr Zhigalov of Russia turned in the second fastest time of the evening, clocking a 2:13.46 for the second place seed, while Poland’s Jan Kalusowski picked up third with a 2:13.74.

Women’s 200 Fly Semi-Final

The Hungarian duo of Blanka Berecz and Dora Hathazi delivered a pair of similar 2:11’s to qualify top of the list for the women’s 200 fly. Hathazi led for the first 50 meters, but Berecz surged ahead prior to the 100 meter mark and never looked back. The two clocked times of 2:11.22 and 2:11.81 from the same semi-final heat.

Zehra-Duru Bilgin of Turkey collected the third place seed with a 2:12.36, successfully negative-splitting her final 100 meters with splits of 34.65 and 34.10.

Men’s 400 Free

Kristof Milak of Hungary collected the first of what could be several wins for the weekend in the men’s 400 free final. Milak led the race throughout the first 150 meters, but Russia’s Ilia Sibirtsev was close behind and took over the lead at the 200 meter mark. Milak did not regain the lead until the 350 meter mark, where he out-split Sibirtsev 28.55 to 29.10.

Milak won gold with a 3:50.00, while Sibirtsev settled for silver with a 3:50.71.

Italy’s Johannes Calloni moved up from his seventh place ranking at the 100 meter mark to finish third overall with a 3:51.14.

Women’s 100 Free Semi-Final

Great Britain’s Freya Anderson sprinted to the top of the leaderboard in semi-finals of the women’s 100 free, claiming the top seed with a 55.07. Anderson’s strength in semi-finals came from a strong backhalf, where she posted the fastest split by .35 seconds at a 27.79.

Russia’s Elizaveta Klevanovich and Polina Nevmovenko claimed the second and third place seeds with times of 55.22 and 56.09.

Men’s 100 Back Semi-Final

Backstroke ace Kliment Kolesnikov not only turrned in the fastest qualifying time of the men’s 100 back semi-finals, but he also placed himself within range of his own championship record (53.65). Kolesnikov turned in a 53.99, posting the only sub-54 second swim of the night.

Romania’s Daniel-Cristian Martin posted a 54.30 to qualify second overall for tomorrow’s finals, while Milak picked up the third place seed with a 54.67.

Women’s 200 Back Semi-Final

Russia’s Anastasia Avdeeva distanced herself from the competition in semi-finals of the women’s 200 back, qualifying first by 2.04 seconds with a 2:09.67. Avdeeva’s time sits just .70 seconds off Polina Egorova’s 2017 championship record of 2:08.97.

Giulia D’Innocenzo of Italy picked up the second place seed with a 2:11.71, followed closely by Hungary’s Laura Vanda Ilyes and her time of 2:11.95.

Men’s 50 Fly

Russia’s Andrei Minakov flew to victory in the men’s 50 fly, delivering a 23.56 for the gold. Minakov’s time sits just shy of the 2016 championship record of 23.51, set by Andrii Khloptssov of Ukraine.

Tomoe Zenimoto Hvas of Norway turned in the second fastest time of the night, stopping the clock at a 23.68 for second, while Russia’s Daniil Markov posted a third place finish of 23.77.

Four events proved to be too much for Kristof Milak as he slipped from qualifying third in the men’s 50 fly semi-finals to a sixth place finish of 23.82.

Women’s 50 Breast

Great Britain’s Tatiana Belonogoff rocketed off the starting blocks, clocking the second fastest reaction time (.68) and the fastest overall time at a 31.29.

Anna Elendt of Germany delivered a close second place finish of 31.36, just ahead of Slovenia’s Tina Celik and her time of 31.57.

Women’s 800 Free

The first day of finals concluded with two heats of timed finals for the women’s 800 free. Ajna Kesely picked up her second gold medal with a time of 8:30.43, a new championship record for the young Hungarian. Kesely’s time lowers her own 2017 record of 8:31.81.

Germany’s Celine Rieder finished strong at second place with a time of 8:32.54, followed by Italy’s Giulia Salin’s 8:34.50.