Apostolos Papastamos Smashes World Junior Record in 400 IM With 4:11 in Budapest

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Apostolos Papastamos swam a 4:11 to smash the 400 IM world junior record. Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / deepbluemedia

FINA World Junior Swimming Championships (Apostolos Papastamos)

Budapest 2019

Day Five Finals (Men’s 400 IM)

  • World Junior Record: 4:13.39, Carson Foster, USA (2019)
  • Championships Record: 4:14.65, Hugo Gonzalez, ESP (2017)

The men’s 400 IM final was expected to be a race between Carson Foster and the clock as he was aiming to double up in IM gold medals this week in Budapest and take another stab at his own world junior record that he set earlier this summer at 4:13.39 at US Nationals in California.

The outcome was quite different, Apostolos Papastamos, of Greece, cracking the World junior record in 4:11.93 and Ilia Borodon, of Russia, also inside Foster’s standard, on 4:12.95 for silver. Papastamos is now the third fastest 17-year-old ever, while Borodin is the fastest 16-year-old in history.

Foster already won the 200 IM gold medal this week and split a fantastic 1:46.1 on the end of the United States’ 4×200 free relay last night to break the world junior record, so he looked primed to win the gold medal.

But Foster had trouble getting going in the 400 IM final, leading at the 200 mark under his own record pace, but the rest of the field was in tow. Greece’s Papastamos took control of the race in the breaststroke leg and never looked back. Papastamos put the pedal to the metal on the breaststroke leg, splitting a 1:10.58 to Foster’s 1:14.28, who fell way back on the second half, possibly feeling the effects of the pressure as the world junior record holder or just fatigue from a heavy program.

Russia’s Borodin also split a 1:10 on breaststroke to pass Foster on the third 100 as the two Europeans were a second under the world junior record pace at the 300 turn.

And the Greek did not stop there, splitting an even quicker 59.81 on the freestyle leg to smash the world junior record with a 4:11.93 to wipe away Foster’s 4:13.39 off the books, as well as Hugo Gonzalez’s meet record of 4:14.65 from 2017. Russia’s Borodin was also under the old record with a 4:12.95, but only Papastamos will get to claim the title as record holder.

Foster faded badly on the freestyle leg, falling all the way to sixth place at 4:17.39, getting passed by France’s Leon Marchand (4:16.37), who won the bronze medal from lane 1 thanks to a 58.98 freestyle leg. In fact, the top three finishers were the same three who were on the podium in this event at the European Juniors earlier this summer.

Foster was gracious in defeat, helping raise his Greek rival’s fist in the air as a “passing of the torch” gesture in losing his record.

USA’s Jason Louser, based out of New York, placed fourth with a 4:16.66 as the Cal freshman-to-be was just shy of getting a spot on the podium in the bronze medal scrum. He was still able to swim a new best time, lowering his 4:18.59 from the 2018 Juniors by nearly two full seconds.

Japan’s Tomoru Honda (4:16.98), who was actually leading at the 100, placed fifth at 4:16.98, while Hungary’s Dominik Torok (4:21.98) and Australia’s Se-Bom Lee (4:23.20) placed seventh and eighth.

1 PAPASTAMOS Apostolos Greece GRE 4:11.93 WJ, CR
2 BORODIN Ilia Russian Federation RUS 4:12.95
3 MARCHAND Leon France FRA 4:16.37
4 LOUSER Jason United States of America USA 4:16.66
5 HONDA Tomoru Japan JPN 4:16.98
6 FOSTER Carson United States of America USA 4:17.39
7 TOROK Dominik Hungary HUN 4:21.98
8 LEE Se-Bom Australia AUS 4:23.20

Who is Papastamos?

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Photo Courtesy: FINA / Budapest 2019

Papastamos not only lowered the world junior record, but also lowered the Greek national record of 4:14.41 from Ioannis Drymonakos set in 2012. To top it all off, he swam faster than the bronze medal winning time at the World Championships when Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand won the medal with a 4:12.0. Granted, that wasn’t a really quick final, since Clareburt only sits seventh in the world rankings and took advantage of a lot of rivals being slightly off, but nonetheless this is an impressive swim for the Greek.

In 2008, Drymonakos tested positive for a banned steroid and was barred from the Beijing Olympic Games courtesy of a suspension and penalty that included forfeiting all results for six months prior to his positive test. He was European 200m butterfly champion at the time.
“The athlete, after the latest developments, is withdrawing from swimming and reserves the right to exercise all legal rights to safeguard his honor and reputation,” the swimmer’s lawyer, Stavros Mavromatis, said in a written statement after the announcement in Beijing.
The Hellenic Swimming Federation confirmed at the time that tests on a backup “B” sample from Drymonakos came back positive for Methyltrienolone   – the same steroid for which 11 Greek weightlifters tested positive in a separate recent doping scandal.

Before today, Papastamos’ best time was a 4:15.18 from this year’s European Juniors, and the 18-year-old blew that out of the water with a new national record and put him sixth in the world for 2019.

Over the last five years, Papastamos has made tremendous improvements in this event.

  • 4:15.18 7 Jul 2019
  • 4:17.44 8 Jul 2018
  • 4:21.89 2 Jul 2017
  • 4:25.83 21 Jul 2016
  • 4:32.93 4 Dec 2015

This is his second medal of the championships, adding on to his bronze in the 200 IM where he broke 2:00 at 1:59.62, also improving on his best from European Juniors at 1:59.9 where he won the gold medal there as well.

Russia’s Borodin also had a huge drop for the silver as he moved up to 11th in the world for 2019 and is the fastest Russian this year. Marchand moved up to 38th in the world rankings as he massively improved his best of 4:17.2.

2019 World Rankings:

  1. 4:07.95, Daiya Seto, JPN
  2. 4:09.22, Jay Litherland, USA
  3. 4:10.94, Max Litchfield, GBR
  4. 4:11.46, Charlie Swanson, USA
  5. 4:11.90, David Verraszto, HUN
  6. 4:11.93, Apostolos Papastamos, GRE
  7. 4:12.07, Lewis Clareburt, NZL
  8. 4:12.54, Yuki Ikari, JPN
  9. 4:12.80, Peter Bernek, HUN
  10. 4:12.86, Jeremy Desplanches, SUI