[PSYCH SHEET] Five Swimmers to Watch at the 2018 European Junior Championships

Ajna Kesely of Hungary - Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The 2018 European Junior Championships splash into action on July 4th in Helsinki, Finland and will conclude on the 8th. Editions of the European Junior Championships have run since 1967 and have featured many impressive swims over the years and stand as a strong prediction as to who the rising international stars are.

With the competition starting tomorrow, here are five stars to keep an eye on.

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Kristof Milak (Hungary)

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Milak will have a busy meet as the 18-year-old is entered in a whopping seven events. He sits as the top seed in the 100 and 200 fly, as well as the 200 free. Additionally, the native Hungarian will swim in the 50 fly, 100 back, 100 and 200 free.

While Milak is easily seeded ahead of the competition in both the 100 (50.62) and 200 (1:52.71), he will need to get ahead of Russia’s Andrei Minakov (23.53) to claim gold in the 50 fly.

At last year’s European Junior Championships, Milak was wildly impressive, tearing through records left and right. Most notably, he blasted past the meet, World Junior, and European Junior records in the 200 fly. Milak would go on to swim at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, where he garnered a silver medal in the men’s 100 fly.

Akos Kalmar (Hungary)

18-year-old Akos Kalmar will look to sweep the men’s distance events at this year’s championships, entering both the 800 and 1500 free as the top seed with times of 7:56.23 and 15:03.14. He also ranks as the second place seed in the 400 free, behind Milak, with a time of 3:50.03.

Kalmar is most solid in the 1500 as his seed time places him more than 13 seconds ahead of the competition.

Kliment Kolesnikov (Russia)

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Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli & Giorgio Scala Insidefoto / Deepbluemedia

Kliment Kolesnikov enters the European Junior Championships as the defending champion in both the 50 and 200 backstroke events. This year he ranks as the top seed for all three backstroke events and the men’s 100 free. He sits at the second place seed time for the 50 free.

Kolesnikov will square off with fellow young superstar, Milak, in the 100 free as the two hold the top two seeds at 48.52 and 49.08. Kolesnikov’s tightest race should be the 50 free as he sits seeded second with a 22.56 behind Sweden’s Bjoern Seeliger’s 22.33.

Just shy of his 18th birthday, Kolesnikov has achieved a lot. The 17-year-old has a total of three World Junior records and one World Record, set at the tail-end of 2017 in the short course edition of the 100 back.

Freya Anderson (Great Britain)

Freya Anderson leads the psych sheet entries in the 100 free and sits at a close second in the 50 free. The young British sprinter is buoyed by Russia’s Ekaterina Nikonova and Sofia Chichaikina in the 50 free, but holds the only sub 55-second entry time in the 100 free at a 53.88.

Anderson is currently seeded sixth overall in the 50 fly (27.02), but by a narrow margin. A margin of .78 seconds is what separates the top ten entries.

Ajna Kesely (Hungary)

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Ajna Kesely swept the women’s freestyle events from the 200 up to the 1500 at the 2017 edition of the meet, setting records in all but the 400. This year, she looks to replicate her efforts and enters as the top seed in all four events. She also has added the 200 and 400 IM, plus the 200 fly to her repertoire.

Kesely had a successful showing at the 2018 Hungarian National Championships, claiming gold medals in both the 200 and 1500 freestyles. Her best times in both the 400 (4:05.61) and 800 (8:25.82) rank among the top ten in the world for 2018.

The 17-year-old holds the top seed in each of her freestyle events, plus the 400 IM (4:44.43), and enters the meet seeded third in the 200 fly (2:10.38). Arguably, Kesely’s toughest event of the meet will be the 200 IM, where she is seeded seventh with a 2:15.93. The field narrow upward, though, with 1.17 seconds separating her from Israel’s Lea Polonsky’s first place seed time of 2:14.76.

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Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Assistant Operations Manager and a staff writer at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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