FINA World Junior Championships: Ksawery Masiuk, Pieter Coetze Set for Another Showdown

MASIUK Ksawery
Ksawery Masiuk; Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

FINA World Junior Championships: Ksawery Masiuk, Pieter Coetze Set for Another Showdown

Just eight-hundredths of a second separated Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk and Pieter Coetze of South Africa in the 100 backstroke at the FINA World Junior Championships this week.

The 50 backstroke is shaping up to be a similarly enthralling race.

The duo came through prelims of the 50 back on Thursday morning in Lima, Peru, sitting first and second, with Coetze out front by 0.18 seconds. That draws them into opposite semifinals, but the final is likely to come down to a battle between the rising stars.

All the action from Thursday’s morning session, the third of six in Lima:

Women’s 50 butterfly

Croatia’s Jana Pavalic set the pace in prelims, the 15-year-old going 26.86. It’s .36 seconds shy of the national record she already holds in the event. She was the only swimmer under 27 seconds in the morning.

Second was Brazil’s Beatriz Bezerra in 27.04. Poland’s Paulina Cierpialowska was fourth in 27.19, just ahead of Mizuki Hirai of Japan. Hirai is fresh off Junior Pan Pacs in Hawaii last week.

Men’s 50 backstroke

The duel is set up, with Coetze leading the way in 24.95. Masiuk was second in 25.13.

A day earlier, Masiuk won the first installment in the 100 back. After Coetze had taken the FINA Junior World Championships record in prelims at 52.95, Masiuk seized it in the final at 52.91, edging the South African by .08 seconds. The duo was more than two seconds clear of the rest of the field.

The margin in the 50 back to the field is slighter but still significant. The third seed went to Miroslav Knedla of the Czech Republic. The bronze medalist in the 100 went 25.77 in prelims. Fourth in the 100 and fourth in prelims was Aron Szekely of Hungary, in 25.97. Two Frenchmen, Yohan Airaud and Simon Clusman, round out the top six.

Women’s 100 breaststroke

Another strong showing by Poland has them taking down the top seed, via Karolina Piechowicz, who set the pace at 1:09.74. She was just ahead of Jana Pribylova, who went 1:09.90. Pribylova is one of two Czech swimmers in the top four, with Natalie Jandikova tying Serbia’s Martina Bukvic for fourth in 1:10.77. In between is the latest product of the Italian conveyor belt of breaststroke talent: Irene Mati, who went 1:10.27 for third.

Men’s 50 freestyle

Diogo Matos Ribeiro is on the hunt for more records. The Portuguese teen is the top seed in the 50 free, setting the pace with a time of 22.32 in prelims. Ribeiro set national records in the 100 free, 50 fly and 100 fly at the European Championships in August. The Portuguese mark of 21.90 set this summer by Miguel Nascimento is surely in his sights.

The second seed belongs to Croatian Jere Hribar in 22.42. Matheus Pereira of Brazil (22.62), Nans Mazellier of France (22.75) and Cyprus’ Nikolas Antoniou (22.77) rounded out the top five. The top 13 finishers were blanketed by 0.99 seconds.

Women’s 200 backstroke

The top seed in the final belongs to Dora Molnar, but she’ll have a pair of Japanese swimmers on her heels.

Molnar, of Hungary, set pace in prelims with a 2:11.62. But lurking behind is Mio Narita, the 400 IM champ, as the second seed in 2:12.05 and Yuzuki Mizuno in 2:12.55. Those two produced the fastest first 50s of the race, and Molnar’s 33.12 closing 50 was the quickest.

Fourth was Poland’s Laura Bernat in 2:13.29, with Spain’s Estella Tonrath fifth.

Mixed 400 free relay

David Popovici and Romania have one relay victory to their names at the FINA World Junior Championships this week. They look poised to add another.

With Popovici and Patrick Sebastian Dinu held over from the victorious men’s 400 free relay, Romania coasted to the top seed in the mixed 100 free relay. They put in a time of 3:31.58, 2.24 seconds clear of second-place Hungary. Rebecca-Aimee Diaconescu and Brianca-Andreea Costea handled the two women’s legs on the end.

Popovic is the obvious headliner: He went 47.61 off the front, not quite the 47.07 he dropped to lead off the men’s 400 free relay. But only one other swimmer (Pieter Coetze of fourth-place South Africa) cracked 50 seconds on the leadoff leg, putting Romania out front early.

Hungary was second in 3:33.82. That foursome held over Lili Gyurinovics and Lilla Minna Abraham from the winning women’s 800 free relay at the meet.

Italy is the third seed in 3:35.93, with Coetze’s South Africa fourth in 3:36.82. Poland, the winner of the mixed medley relay, snuck into the final in sixth.