European Junior Championships: Bence Biczo Drops Hammer in 200 Fly, Yannick Agnel, Emma Saunders Turn in Strong Times

HELSINKI, Finland, July 16. THE European Junior Championships have proven to be exciting in just three days of swimming so far. Today, Hungary's Bence Biczo threw down a remarkable time in the men's 200 fly, while France's Yannick Agnel and Great Britain's Emma Saunders also impressed. The meet is taking place in long course meter format.

Biczo put himself firmly on the international map with a sterling time of 1:55.82 to win the men's 200 fly. On top of erasing Poland's Marcin Cieslak's meet record of 1:56.13 set last year, Biczo became just the sixth person under 1:56 this year. Nick D'Arcy (1:54.61), Takeshi Matsuda (1:55.18), Chen Yin (1:55.67), Michael Phelps (1:55.70) and Pawel Korzeniowski (1:55.73) are the only swimmers to post faster times this year. The swim continued a meteoric rise for Biczo as he sat 25th in the world heading into the meet. Cieslak finished second in the finale with a 1:56.76 to move to 12th in the world, while France's Jordan Coelho took third in 1:57.57 to tie for 23rd in the rankings.

Agnel dominated the men's 100 free with a winning time of 48.80. That effort inched him closer to the top of the world rankings into an eighth-place tie with Paul Biedermann and Liam Tancock. Agnel's previous season best had been a 14th-ranked 48.83 set at the Paris Open in June. France's Mehdy Metella placed second in the finale with a 49.89, while Belgium's Jasper Aerents snagged third in 50.23.

Saunders lowered the meet record in the women's 50 back with a 29.01. That clocking eclipsed the 29.06 set by Mariya Tereschenko last year. Ukraine's Daryna Zevina finished second in 29.12, while France's Mathilde Cini earned third in 29.42.

Spain's Marina Garcia Urzainqui eased through the women's 200 breast with a winning time of 2:27.12, while Finland's Jenna Laukkanen took second in 2:29.67. Russia's Anastasia Sineva completed the podium with a 2:30.00.

Luxembourg's Raphael Stacchiotti placed first in the men's 200 IM with a 2:02.52, touching out Great Britain's Ieuan Lloyd's second-place effort of 2:02.72. France's Ganesh Pedurand wound up third in 2:03.39.

Russia's Anton Lobanov topped the men's 50 breast in 28.37, while Ukraine's Yaroslav Parakhin finished second in 28.51. Croatia's Ivan Capan claimed third overall in 28.56.

Slovenia's Tjasa Oder won the women's 800 free with an 8:40.06, while Spain's Claudia Dasca Romeu took second in 8:43.31. Poland's Donata Kilijanska earned third in 8:44.81.

France's relay easily won the men's 800 free relay as Lorys Bourelly, Clement Mignon, Metella and Agnel posted a winning effort of 7:21.40. Agnel impressed with a sterling 1:46.48 on the anchor leg. Great Britain's Braxston Timm, James Young, Liam Selby and Lloyd provided the closest competition with a second-place 7:26.09.

In semifinals, Russia's Andrey Nikolaev led the men's 50 breast with a 28.54, while compatriot Lobanov turned in a second-seeded 28.65. Zevina touched in 29.10 in the women's 50 back, while Saunders qualified second in 29.21.

France's Charlotte Bonnet clocked a 2:02.89 in the women's 200 free, while Germany's Silke Lippok and Ireland's Sycerika McMahon tied for second with 2:02.90s. Hungary's Peter Bernek paced the men's 200 back semis with a 2:00.89, while teammate Balazs Zambo qualified second in 2:02.38. Spain's Judit Ignacio Sorribes topped the women's 100 fly with a 1:01.14, while Italy's Alessia Polieri qualified second with a 1:01.15.