Backhalf Strategy Pays Off in Gold Again For Gunnar Bentz At World Junior Champs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, August 30. THE fifth day of competition at the FINA world junior championships featured plenty of sprinting on the program, though many will argue that the boys’ 400 individual medley was the race of the night, featuring another duel between Gunnar Bentz and Semen Makovich.


Girls 1500 freestyle
After two silver medals throughout the meet, Becca Mann of the United States wrapped up a busy meet with a gold medal and a winning time of 16:23.89. It’s not her lifetime best, with a 16:10.48 to her credit from this past January, but good enough to get her on the top of the medal stand.

Linda Caponi celebrated a silver medal with a 16:33.62. Isabella Rongione of the USA was comfortably in second for the first two thirds of the race, but fell back to a race for third with Alisia Tettamanzi of Italy. Rongione collected bronze with a 16:35.28 to Tettamanzi’s 16:35.97.

The remainder of the top eight in the timed-final event were: Florbela Machado of Portugal (16:46.35), Gaja Natlacen of Slovenia (16:49.79) and Alexandra Aitchison of Canada (16:52.23).

Boys 50 butterfly
Australia’s Cameron Jones, swimming in lane seven, beat out the favorites to win the title with a 23.96. Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago, who trains in southern Florida and will be a freshman at the University of Southern California this fall, placed second with a 23.98. Takaya Yasue, the gold medalist in the 100 fly from Japan, picked up bronze with a 24.01.

A very close final eight also included: Germany’s Jonas Bergmann (24.09), American Justin Lynch (24.11), American Matthew Josa (24.13), Ryan Coetzee of South Africa (24.19) and Deividas Margevicius of Lithuania (24.29).

Girls 50 backstroke
Though it appeared Ruta Meilutyte had the win in the bag, and extra stroke at the finish might have cost her the victory. In her place, New Zealand picked up its first medal of the meet with a gold medal from Gabrielle Fa’Amausili with a 28.64, five tenths slower than the meet record of 28.14 she set in yesterday’s prelims. Daria Ustinova was unable to pick up gold here and settled for silver with a 28.71. Rounding out the podium will be American Clara Smiddy with a 28.86.

Kathleen Baker of the USA (28.88), Meilutyte (29.03), Jessica Fullalove of Great Britain (29.15), Iryna Glavnyk of Ukraine (29.21) and Laura Riedemann of Germany (29.47) also raced in the final.

Boys 400 individual medley
It was deja vu all over again in the longer IM race, as Gunnar Bentz of the United States used the same strategy to win gold here that he employed in the 200 IM. Semen Makovich of Russia led for 375 meters, with Bentz lurking on the outside in lane eight. A superb 57.36 freestyle leg by Bentz got him to the wall first with a 4:14.97 that breaks the meet record of 4:15.64 by Maksym Shemberev from 2011, and is four tenths off his lifetime best of 4:14.51 from junior nationals. Makovich collected a second silver medal with a time of 4:15.89, while Keita Sunama, the bronze medalist in the 200 IM, again won bronze with a 4:17.67.

Also swimming in the exciting final were: Aleksandr Osipenko of Russia (4:18.05), Luke Reilly of Canada (4:18.36), Jay Litherland of the United States (4:19.64), Max Litchfield of Great Britain (4:22.43) and Matthew Johnson of Great Britain (4:24.52).

Girls 400 freestyle relay
Russia’s lead from the start was never challenged, as the foursome of Mariia Baklakova (55.05), Rliya Nasretdinova (55.35), Valeriia Kolotushkina (55.45) and Daria Ustinova (55.55) collaborated for a meet record time of 3:41.40. The previous record was 3:42.85 from an American team that included future Olympic medalist Lia Neal and future world championship finalist Simone Manuel.

Australia and the United States battled for the win, with the Aussies taking silver with a 3:43.03 in a team that included Chelsea Gillett (56.36), Shayna Jack (55.18), Georgia Miller (55.64) and Jemma Schlicht (55.85). The American team of Cierra Runge (55.22), Katie McLaughlin (55.67), Alexandra Meyers (56.34) and Mary Schneider (55.81) took bronze with a 3:43.04.

Canada (3:46.11), Brazil (3:47.33), France (3:48.33), Slovenia (3:49.34) and Hong Kong (3:49.50) completed the top eight.


Boys 100 freestyle
The semifinal times were a little slower than expected, but the top medal contenders made it safely into the final, with American Caeleb Dressel sitting as the top seed with his 49.57. He’ll be looking to win tomorrow, and improve his lifetime best of 49.28 from junior nationals. Evgeny Sedov was the second-fastest swimmer in semis with a 49.76, while Australian Luke Percy, an incoming freshman at the University of Tennessee, sits third with a 49.85. Percy has the meet record with his 49.14 from the 400 free relay leadoff on Monday.

Also officially into the final are Australia’s Regan Leong with a 49.96, Caydon Muller of South Africa with a 49.98, Sebastian Szczepanski of Poland with a 50.15 and Nicoangelo DiFabio of Italy with a 50.26.

Three swimmers tied for eighth place, which will prompt a swimoff to determine which one gets to swim in the final. American Paul Powers, Russian Ivan Zuzmenko and Pole Jan Holub all posted times of 50.37.

Girls 100 butterfly
Jemma Schlicht of Australia fired a warning shot in the first semifinal, tying Svetlana Chimrova’s hours-old meet record with a 59.30. That response was answered in the second semifinal, when Chimrova posted a new meet record of 58.75. Placing second in that heat was Hungary’s Liliana Szilagyi with a 59.11. Chimrova will be looking to better her Russian national record of 58.22 from June’s national championships.

Also making it into the final were: American Courtney Weaver (1:00.04), Japan’s Misuzu Yabu (1:00.06), Lucie Svecena of the Czech Republic (1:00.14), Katie McLaughlin of the USA (1:00.67) and Italy’s Claudia Tarzia (1:00.68).

Girls 50 freestyle
Roazliy Nasretdinova of Russia and Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania made mincemeat of Bronte Campbell’s meet record of 25.22 from the 2011 championships. Meilutyte posted a 25.19 in the first semi, then Nasretdinova followed it up with a 25.02 in the second heat. (Campbell was a world championship medalist in the freestyle relay in Barcelona last month.)

Giorgia Biondani of Italy (25.28), Shayna Jack of Australia (25.56), Abby Weitzeil of the USA (25.56), 100 free winner Siobhan Haughey (25.64), Fernanda Delgado of Brazil (25.74) and Cloe Hache of France (25.76) rounded out the qualifiers for tomorrow’s final.

Boys 50 breaststroke
After posting a meet record time of 27.74 in prelims, Peter John Stevens of Poland cruised through the semifinals tonight with a 28.04. Vsevolod Zanko, the silver medalist in the 100 breast, qualified second with a 28.19. Pedro Cardona completed the top three qualifiers with a 28.24.

Krzysztof Tokarski of Poland (28.33), Vladislav Mustafin of Uzbekistan (28.33), Carsten Vissering of the United States (28.37), Maciej Holub of Poland (28.39) and Kohei Goto (28.43) will also race in tomorrow’s final.

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