Big Day for Arina Openysheva at Euro Juniors; Apostolos Christou Downs Another World Junior Record

DORDRECHT, The Netherlands, July 10. THE best and brightest age groupers from across the European continent continued to put up some impressive performances at the European Junior Championships in Dordrecht.

Russia’s Daria K Ustinova dominated the women’s 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:09.21. The 15-year-old is already second-fastest in the world this year with a World Junior Record of 2:08.02 from the Russian National Championships. Only Belinda Hocking has been faster with a 2:06.40 from the NSW State Championships. Ustinova, however, didn’t need that type of speed tonight in Dordrecht as she won by more than two seconds. Spain’s Africa Zamorano Sanz finished second in 2:11.70, while Russia’s Irina Prikhodko wound up third in 2:12.42.

Greece’s Apostolos Christou downed his World Junior Record in the men’s 100-meter back again with a 54.03. That was much better than his 54.41 from semis yesterday. Italy’s Simon Sabbioni also cleared the previous record with a second-place 54.25, while Russia’s Evgeny Rylov just missed with a third-place 54.46. The times are still nowhere near the actual fastest time ever done by an age group as Ryan Murphy of the U.S. posted that time with a 53.38 last year before FINA began to officially recognize records.

Hungary’s Adel Juhasz powered her way to the women’s 200-meter fly title in 2:10.93, while Spain’s Carmen Balbuena Herediz touched second in 2:11.24. Great Britain’s Amelia Clynes rounded out the top three in 2:11.46. Germany’s Max Pilger followed with a 2:12.45 to win the men’s 200-meter breast. Russia’s Anton Chupkov finished second in 2:13.27 with Hungary’s David Horvath touching right behind with a third-place 2:13.47. Poland’s Marcin Stolarski also cleared 2:14 with a fourth-place 2:13.88.

Russia’s Arina Openysheva topped the women’s 400-meter free with a 4:12.76, while Hungary’s Melinda Novoszath placed second in 4:13.53. Russia’s Daria Mullakaeva grabbed third in 4:15.31. Openysheva doubled up with a 54.78 in the women’s 100-meter free as she matched the meet record in the performance. Russia’s Daria S Ustinova took second in 55.30, not to be confused by the unrelated backstroker mentioned above. Italy’s Rachele Ceracchi earned third in 56.12.

In mixed 400-meter free relay competition, Russia won the race in 3:30.97. Filipp Shopin (50.68), Daria S Ustinova (54.56), Roman Domachuk (50.54) and Arina Openysheva (55.19) topped the relay for Russia, winning by nearly two seconds. Germany’s squad finished second in 3:32.43 while the hosting Netherlands squad took third in 3:33.83.

The men’s 1500-meter freestyle proved to be impactful on the world rankings. Great Britain’s Daniel Jervis won in 15:07.12 to move to 16th in the world, while Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Romanchuk finished a close second in 15:07.24 to take 17th in the world. Norway’s Henrik Christiansen earned third in 15:09.48, just a few seconds outside the top 20.

In semifinal action, Poland’s Jan Holub led the way with a 50.07. Hungary’s Peter Holoda (50.45) and Germany’s Damian Wierling (50.51) qualified through to finals as the second and third seeds. A trio of swimmers cleared 2:00 in the men’s 200-meter fly semis. Switzerland’s Nils Liess paced the field with a 1:58.26, while Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi (1:58.92) and Poland’s Dominik Ciezkowski (1:59.85) qualified second and third.

Russia’s Maria Astashkina blazed the women’s 200-meter breaststroke semis with a 2:26.65. That’s just half-a-second outside the top 20 in the SwimVortex world rankings, currently anchored by Laura Sogar with a 2:26.14. Italy’s Giulia Verona took second in semis tonight with a 2:28.68 with Great Britain’s Emma Cain earning third in 2:29.29.

After Hungary’s Norbert Szabo led prelims in the men’s 200-meter breast with a 2:02.94, he settled for third in semis with a 2:03.15. Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (2:02.66) and Hungary’s Ben Gratz (2:02.97) both beat 2:03 in semis to take the top two seeds.