Monterrey 2008, Day 2: Izotov (RUS) And Ayoama (JPN) the best

FINA World Junior Swimming Championships

July 9th meant another good day at the 2nd FINA World Junior Swimming Championships. Three Championships records – out of five events contested - were set already in the preliminaries: New Zealand’s Daniel Bell (1990), who is poised to win the 100m backstroke and will possibly end-up as one of the most prominent swimmers of the meet, was the fastest qualifier in the 100m butterfly with 53.73; Japan’s Natsuki Akiyama (1991) was on top of the women’s 200m butterfly ranks with 2:09.69, just 0.40 seconds faster than her compatriot Yui Miyamoto, who, before Akiyama, had also set a short lived Championships record, in a time of 2:10.09; Robert Bale (1990), of Great Britain topped the men’s 200m freestyle qualifiers with 1:50.23, ahead of yesterday’s 400m freestyle gold and silver medallists, respectively Danila Izotov (RUS, 1991) and Alex Di Giorgio (ITA, 1990).

Danila Izotov (RUS) - credit: Satiro Sodré

In the women’s 800m freestyle Elena Sokolova (RUS, 1991) took an early lead and imposed a fast pace to race to win in a Championships record of 8:32.75.The second placed Lindsay Seemann (CAN, 1991), was left about 10 metres behind. The bronze medal was clinched by Ashley Evans (USA, 1992) while the French Margaux Fabre (Junior European champion), who had been in third place throughout almost the entire race, faded in the last metres.

The men’s 100m backstroke featured an all “Down Under” podium: Daniel Bell (NZL, 1990), supported by an excellent technique and by a very fast pace, was the predictable winner: he touched in 55.32 ahead of Benjamin Treffers (AUS, 1991, 55.77) and Kurt Basset (NZL, 1990, 56.04).

Technically, the women’s 200m butterfly final was the best race of the day. The Japanese pair Akiyama-Miyamoto, swimming in lanes 4 and 5, went out fast and took an early lead. Then Akiyama distanced herself from the rest and went out to win in 2:08.10, by far a Championships record. Nina Schiffer (GER, 1991) had some lucky final strokes and placed herself second in 2:09.13, while Miyamoto faded and touched 0.05 seconds behind.

Izotov collected his predictable second gold medal in this meet – and the second gold for Russia in the day - by displaying overwhelming superiority in the men’s 200m freestyle. The young Russian champion, whose style is a combination of the techniques of Alex Popov and Yury Prilukov, dominated the race swimming from lane 5. His winning time was a fast new Championships record of 1:47.63. Bale was second in 1:49.63 and Lucien Hassdenteufel (GER, 1990) was third in 1:49.72. Di Giorgio faded in fifth place, 0.02 seconds behind Rafael Stacchiotti (LUX, 1992), who was fourth in 1:50.30.

Izotov has been a competitive swimmer for only five years. Nevertheless, at the Russian Championships/Olympic trials earlier in the season he qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games by winning the 200m freestyle with the time of 1:46.65, which bettered the old national record of 1:46.69 set by Evgueny Sadovyi when he became Olympic champion in Barcelona in 1992. Izotov is now a member of the Olympic team and trains at Cirkle Lake nearby Moscow, but as a swimmer he has developed in his home city Novouralsk, in the Urals Mountains, under the coaching of Ms. Lidia Kapkova. Alex Popov is the swimmer he admires most.

In the women’s 50m breaststroke, the USA’s pair of Anna Carlson and Laura Sogar, both born in 1991, went 1-2, both under 32 seconds (31.81 and 31.94 respectively). The fastest seed Amanda Reason (CAN, 1993), who clocked 31.25 in the semi-finals, took the bronze with 32.02.

Daniel Bell (NZL) was the fastest qualifier for the final of the men’s 100m butterfly with an impressive Championships record of 52.76. Timothy Phillips (USA, 1990) and Ivan Lendjer (SRB, 1990) were respectively the second and third qualifiers, with 53.28 and 53.33.

In the women’s 100m freestyle semi-finals Samantha Tucker (USA, 1991) clocked the fastest time with 55.92, just 0.02 seconds ahead of her compatriot  Megan Romano (1991) and of Silke Lippok (GER, 1994), 56.18.

Daniel Sliwiniski (GBR, 1990) won the men’s 100m breaststroke in a Championships record of 1:02.19. The silver and the bronze medallist were separated by a mere 0.01 seconds: 1:02.56 for Marco Koch (GER, 1990), 1:02.57 for Caba Siladji (SRB, 1990).

An exciting duel between Elizabeth Pelton (USA, 1993) and Grace Loh (AUS, 1991), swimming in lanes 4 and 5 respectively, characterised the women’s 100m backstroke. Eventually Loh managed to narrowly touch in front, with the time of 1:02.02; Pelton came just 0.35 seconds behind. Tess Simpson (CAN, 1991) swam also under 1:03 and took the bronze with 1:02.96.

The podium of the last race of the day was multi-continental, with Dimitri Colupaev (GER, 90) winner in 2:02.28, ahead of James Surhoff (USA, 1990), 2:02.51, and Yuya Horihata (JPN, 1990), 2:02.99. All medallists went under the previous Championships record.