FINA World Junior Championships: Diogo Matos Ribeiro, Not David Popovici, Sets Pace in 100 Free Prelims

Diogo Ribeiro
Diogo Matos Ribeiro; Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

FINA World Junior Championships: Diogo Matos Ribeiro, Not David Popovici, Sets Pace in 100 Free Prelims

In a men’s 100 freestyle prelims loaded with medalists Saturday morning at the FINA World Junior Championships, it was someone other than the world record holder coming out on to top.

Portugal sprinter Diogo Matos Ribeiro was the quickest in the prelims of the 100 free, going 48.67 seconds to lead the way to semifinals in Lima, Peru. Among those behind him in the morning were world record holder David Popovici, who went 49.14 to grab the second seed.

Things might look slightly different in Saturday night’s semifinals or Sunday’s final, the late night of competition at the meet.

A rundown of the preliminary results from Saturday, the penultimate day of the six-day meet:

Men’s 100 freestyle

Diogo Matos Ribeiro has proven his credentials at this meet, the winner of the 50 free and 100 butterfly. He also already holds the national record in this event, having gone 48.52 at European Championships this month.

That’ll be the target, regardless of the world record holder’s presence. Popovici has produced enough swims of 47 seconds and below as to take it easy Saturday, likely conserving his energy with a time of 49.14 seconds to easily nab the second seed. He’s three-quarters of a second up on anyone else.

The only other swimmer under 50 seconds was Nikolas Antoniou of Cyprus in 49.91. Three swimmers tied for fourth at 50.09: Double gold medalist Pieter Coetze of South Africa, France’s Nans Mazellier and Francesco Lazzari of Italy.

Women’s 100 butterfly

Mizuki Hirai continues a strong summer, the 15-year-old the only one to break a minute in 59.90 to grab the top seed. Second is Italy’s Paola Borelli in 1:00.24. It’s a distance back to the third seed, Beatriz Bezerra of Brazil, in 1:01.06.

Men’s 400 individual medley

Riku Yamaguchi earned the top seed in prelims, looking for the third Japanese men’s medley medal of the meet. Yamaguchi was light years ahead of the field, going 4:16.26. That’s six seconds up on second seed Stephan Steverink of Brazil, Yamaguchi setting his blistering time in the penultimate heat.

Steverink went 4:22.29, leading a crowd clustered within a second. Poland’s Krzysztof Chmielewski was third in 4:22.70, followed by Zsombor Bujdoso of Hungary and Roberto Bonilla of Guatemala in 4:23.00. Bonilla is the lone holdover from the 200 IM final, where he finished sixth.

Women’s 50 freestyle

Matilde Biagiotti, the runner-up in the 50, is out to get her gold. The Italian led the way in prelims with a time of 25.58. She’s two-tenths up on Romania’s Bianca-Andreea Costea, who went 25.77. She was fourth in the 100.

Third was Croatia’s Jana Pavalic, the 50 fly champ, in 25.86, with Slovakian Lillian Slusna in fourth. Beatriz Bezerra of Brazil pulled off the double by getting back in both the 100 fly and 50 free. She’s 12th. Mina Kaljevic of Serbia (15th in the 100 fly, sixth in the 50 free) pulled a similar double.

Men’s 50 breaststroke

In the hunt for a third breaststroke medal, Luka Mladenovic has a little work to do. The Austrian was the sixth seed in morning prelims, with a time of 28.86 that was .56 back of the top seed. Mladenovic won the 100 breast and was second in the 200.

His runner-up in the 100, Uros Zivanovic of Serbia, grabbed the top seed in the 50. Zivanovic went 28.30 to set the pace. He was .03 up on Italian Alex Sabattani, who finished seventh in the 100.

Third was Poland’s Filip Urbanski, the 100 bronze medalist, in 28.47. Singapore’s Adam Mak Sai-Ting was ninth, with a little work to do if he wants to join Mladenovic as the only swimmers to make all three breaststroke finals.

Women’s 400 free relay

Italy set the pace in the 400 free relay, with a top time of 3:50.81. The foursome was Veronica Quaggio, Irene Mati, Marina Cacciapuoti and Matilde Biagiotti.

Prelims ended up as a three-horse race. Italy finished .88 seconds up on Brazil in the second heat of two, the Brazilians earning the third seed in 3:51.69. Hungary won the first heat in 3:51.04 (Lilia Minna Abraham, Nikolett Padar, Lili Gyurinovics, Dora Molnar).

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