The second ever World Junior Open Water championships went in Hungary, after the event scheduled for Israel was moved as a result of the recent conflict there. There are six events, two races of 7.5 kilometres for juniors (’96 and ’97 birthdates) and two 5 km youth (’98 and ’99 birthdates) races.
The first Championships, two years ago, was held in Welland, Ontario, with the German team being very strong. Despite being the hosts, Canada did not take a medal in that championships.
Men’s Junior 7.5km
Venezuela’s Diego Vera went to the front on the first lap, and was part of a leading group that got smaller and smaller as the laps progressed; the Russian pair of Anton Evsikov and Kirill Belyaev broke slightly ahead on lap three, but by the start of the last lap there were about eleven men within ten seconds of the lead. On that final lap, Evsikov put on a hard push, with everyone except Vera ending up dropped; the Venezuelan tried to hang on, but Evsikov beat him out in the last few hundred metres. Belyaev broke away from the pack behind, just out-touching David Aubry of France for the bronze.
Men’s Youth 5km
Thore Bermel of Germany went into a lead on the first lap, but on the second it was American Taylor Abbott who went to the front, just ahead of Bermel and Russia’s Iaroslav Potapov a few seconds behind him. Abbott stayed in the lead after lap three, with Ivan Sitic of Croatia now up in second, and Bermel and Potapov both still within five seconds. The American then held his form on the final lap, while his pursuers were eaten up by a pair of men who started the lap ten seconds behind the lead; China’s Yang Jintong and Qiao Zhongyi were the only two swimmers who went below fourteen minutes on the last lap, and took the other medals, with Yang finishing a second ahead of Qiao for silver. Canada’s Josh Zakala (Kelowna, BC) was in the leading group until the back half of the race, and finished 13th. Sebastian Paulins (Brantford, ON) had a tougher time, finishing 33rd.
|8||Matthew Mark Meyer||RSA||57:24.89|
Women’s Junior 7.5km
Alice Dearing of Great Britain had a small lead after two laps, just ahead of Italy’s Alisia Tettamanzi, with a pack of about seven within ten seconds of her. That status quo pretty much held until the last lap, which Dearing started still in the lead, but narrowly over Hungarians Nikoletta Kiss and Flora Sibalin, Russia’s Anastasiia Azarova and Tettamanzi. In the end, that leading pair just didn’t have enough on the last lap; Tettamanzi fell off badly, losing almost a minute, and Dearing slipped back into the clutches of her chasers. Kiss attacked late, dropping Sibalin and Dearing, and while Azarova went with her, the Hungarian held on for a home win. Sibalin was able to get a second Hungarian medal, as Dearing, after all that time in the lead, was off the podium by less than a second.
Women’s Youth 5km
France’s Charline Secrestat made a move on the third lap, getting a few seconds ahead of a chasing pack of about eight, with China’s Yan Siyu the closest to her. Two women really separated from the back on the last lap to go after her, Yan and Italy’s Caroltta de Mattia. Yan was uncatchable, staying five seconds clear of the Italian, while Secrestat was just beaten out by de Mattia for bronze. Oakville’s Brook Lamoureux was 26th, and Comox Valley, BC’s Tessa Cieplucha was 27th.
|2||Carlotta de Mattia||ITA||1:00:45.33|
|8||Carmen Le Roux||RSA||1:01:02.56|
Mixed Junior Team
Two men and one woman competed on each team, with a time trial format meaning that the third swimmer to touch the pad recorded the team time. The home team, featuring the women’s champion, Nikoletta Kiss, along with Attila Kiss and Adam Orosz, took the title, beating a powerful Russian team, that had won three medals in the individual events, by eight seconds. Brazil took the bronze medal, beating out Italy by seven seconds.
Mixed Youth Team
The Chinese team, featuring three individual medalists, had an easy win, as Yang Jintong, Qiao Zhongyi and Yan Siyu raced away by over a minute to take the title. De Mattia led Italy’s team to the silver medal, beating men’s champion Taylor Abbott and the United States team by six seconds, with the Hungarians missing out on another medal in fourth. The Canadian team of Zakala, Paulins and Cieplucha was 15th.
China had a strong event, taking two gold medals and four overall, while the home team also grabbed a pair of gold medals. Russia’s four medals were also good, while Canada’s best finish was 13th.