FINA World Junior Swimming Championships
Since 2006, FINA organises World Junior Swimming Championships to allow young swimmers to develop through elite level competition. Every two years, about 500 swimmers aged between 14 and 18 years old gather together to test their skills among an up-and-coming field.
Rio de Janeiro (BRA) in 2006, Monterrey (MEX) in 2008, Lima (PER) in 2011 and Dubai (UAE) in 2013 hosted successful editions of the event.
In 2015, the international rendezvous will take place in Asia for the first time with Singapore (SIN) as host of the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, from August 25-30. Age groups will be:
GIRLS: 14 – 17 years on 31 December 2015 (born 2001, 2000, 1999 and 1998)
BOYS: 15 – 18 years on 31 December 2015 (born 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1997)
Swimming World Juniors, Day 6, Singapore: Gunes’s blast would have earned her the title in Kazan as well!
Just as in Dubai, Australia tops the medal table with a 9-7-3 tally (they had 10-6-2 in 2013) and the USA earned the most medals, 26 (6-13-7 – in 2013: 9-7-12, 28) and captured the Championship Trophy. Fifteen World Junior Records and 38 Championship Records fell during the six days. The last session brought a truly outstanding swim: Victoria Gunes (TUR) clocked better time in the 200m breaststroke than the eventual world champion in Kazan at the ‘big’ World Championships! She was crowned the best female swimmer of the meet while among the men the versatile Michael Andrew of the USA earned this honour.
A never seen feat on the closing day of the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships: the winning time would have been enough to earn the gold medal at the ‘big’ World Championships! Turkey’s Viktoria Gunes produced that amazing swim: her 2:19.64 blast in the 200m breaststroke was way better than the world champion’s time from Kazan. There, Japan’s Kanako Watanabe clocked 2:21.15 – here, in Singapore Gunes even threatened the senior WR, she was just 0.53sec away, and set the bar really high for future generation to beat this World Junior Record.
Swimming World Juniors, Day 5, Singapore: Swimming through thrillers, the Aussies still top the medal count
Australia lost one title by 0.02sec (in the women’s 50m back) but captured another by 0.04sec (in the women’s 4x100m free) and still leads the medal count ahead of the USA. Day 5 saw three more nations earning their respective first titles: Italy, New Zealand and Ukraine – and two more World Junior Records bettered.
Two Championship Records fell in succession to start the penultimate final session in style. First, Italy’s Simona Quadarella earned a clean win over the 1500m free, gaining more than 7 seconds on runner-up Sierra Schmidt of the USA – her time (16:05.61) was way better than the previous CR (by 18sec). It was also the first title for Italy here in Singapore.
“Oh, I’m so happy and proud of this gold medal” Quadarella said after the race. “The time is really great, I didn’t expect that good. It was a hard swim, not an easy one, and winning feels really fantastic!”
Swimming World Juniors, Day 4, Singapore: Michael Andrew’s special mix for this day: back, fly, free
Tremendous individual efforts highlighted Day 4 in Singapore, at the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships as versatility was the ruling word this evening. We could witness a couple of rare pairings of medal winning performances from outstanding young talents – and as a bonus, 5 more World Junior Records.
Turkey’s Viktoria Gunes captured the titles in the 100m breaststroke and the 200m IM, US’s Michael Andrew had a gold from the 50m back and a silver from the 50m free and between the two he clocked the best time in the semis of the 50m fly, while Aussie Kyle Chalmers sprinted to victory in the 50m free then “re-paced” himself to help the 4x200m free relay to a silver medal.
Actually, those responsible for preparing the schedule of the championships couldn’t anticipate such individual programmes: breaststrokers rarely swim in the IM events (at least not on the same day), backstroke dashers rarely enters the 50m free/fly (or vice-versa) and freestyle sprinters rarely called on duty for the 4x200m relays. That’s why we could see the young guns rushing from the respective medal ceremonies to the start of the very next event (like Gunes and Andrew did) and waited for Chalmers while he left behind his relay team-mates to catch his first ceremony at the other end of the pool.
Swimming World Juniors, Day 3, Singapore: Tailored for success, Canada’s Taylor Ruck rocks Singapore
Taylor Ruck got the most out of Day 3, Canada’s shining swimming talent earned three medals, including two golds and was part of a World Junior Record-beating relay. China, Russia and Australia also had a fine evening with a title apiece, the Russian swimmers added four bronze medals to their tally this evening.
Taylor Ruck had a busy session. She started with the 200m back at 18.21 where she came up with a great finish but was 0.05sec shy of the silver medal – however, a bronze already was bagged. At 19.06 she returned to the blocks and won the 100m free with ease, in a Championship Record time of 53.92. In fact it was a 1-2 for Canada as Penny Oleksiak came second, trailing by 0.73sec. Just 15 minutes later they stood on the podium with their well-deserved medals, but as soon as the anthem was finished they simply ran all the way along the pooldeck, together with Russia’s bronze medallist Arina Openysheva, as they were all involved to the day-ending 4x100m mixed free relay. In fact, it was a heavy involvement, as the boys handed over the relay placed 4th after 200m so the girls had to produce two more missile-like swim. And they did just that: Oleksiak passed everyone and Ruck never looked back on the home-coming leg. She had another sub-54sec effort (the only one in the field), and that was enough to beat the World Junior Record as well, by more than a full second (3:27.71).
Swimming World Juniors, Day 2, Singapore: Gunes (TUR) and Glinta (ROU) making the headlines
USA, Australia and Russia clinched two titles apiece on the second day of the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, but a Romanian and a Turkish swimmer also made the headlines after respective gold-medal winning performances. China entered the title-winners’ circle, too, on a day which also saw the fall of two more World Junior Records.
A couple if historical firsts highlighted the second day of action in Singapore. Viktoria Gunes won the first ever medal for Turkey in the history of the world juniors – and in fact it was a gold in the women’s 50m breast. She had a clean victory: her winning margin (0.4sec) is substantial in the dash.
“It’s a very good competition in a very nice pool and I’m really happy that I’m here and I came first” Gunes said. “Today I swam really well, I’m in the best age for this event so I had to show my best.”
Romania had a couple of medals from the first edition in 2006 – still, Robert Glinta’s title was the first captured by a boy. He smashed the Championship Record again in the 100m back with a convincing performance.
Swimming World Juniors, Day 1, Singapore: Four World Junior Records bettered on the opening day
To highlight the importance of this event, the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships was declared open by the President of Singapore, Tony Tan.
Then FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione held his opening speech, greeting all young swimmers and recalling the fond memories from 2010 when the swimming competitions of the 1st Youth Olympic Games were hosted in this pool. Lee Kok Choy, President of the Singapore Swimming Association also welcomed the participating young talents, appearing in record numbers: 686 swimmers compete here this week, representing 88 nations.
The atmosphere in the wonderful swimming complex was outstanding, for obvious reasons. One can say, better thing couldn’t have happened to the Singapore’s swimming and this FINA World Junior Swimming Championships than Joseph Schooling’s bronze medal winning performance in the 100m fly at the Kazan Worlds.
Swimming World Juniors, Day 6: Australia tops the medal count, while US won the Championship Trophy
DUBAI (United Arab Emirates), 31 August – An exciting final day saw the two stars of the FINA Junior World Swimming Championships in Dubai securing a fitting end to their magnificent six-day campaign. Mackenzie Horton (AUS) won the 1500m free, while Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) clinched the 50m free title – both of them earned four individual gold medals respectively. Australia tops the medal count, with the US and Russian teams also showing outstanding performances.
Swimming World Juniors, Day 5: Number of Championship Records nears 40
DUBAI (United Arab Emirates), 30 August – One more record to go and the number of Championship Record will break a magic barrier: it now stands at 39, and watching the quality of the races and the fantastic performances of the globe’s best teen swimmers there is no risk to say it will be well over 40. Day 5 saw 7 more records, a fine day for the US team with 6 medals, two of them gold.
Svetlana Chimrova (RUS) is the most prolific record-breaker of the field: five swims, five new Championship Records – this day she bettered the mark of the 100m fly, first in the heats then in the semis, also breaking the 59sec barrier in the afternoon. (She clocked three CRs in the 50m fly in the previous days.)
Swimming World Juniors, Day 4: Ruta Meilutyte: two gold medals in 40 minutes
DUBAI (United Arab Emirates), 29 August – Two titles in 40 minutes to Ruta Meilutyte, both in Championships Record time – the Lithuanian star proved her outstanding class again by winning the 100m breaststroke and the 200m individual medley (and also taking part in the 50m back semis). Six more Championship Records fell on Day 4 which also saw a hat-trick for Russia in the first three finals.
You can’t start breaking records too early: Gabrielle Fa’Amausili (NZL) bettered the Championship Record in the girls 50m back just a few minutes past 10am. Add that she is only 14 years old, so far the youngest who managed to crack a CR in Dubai. Later a flood of records followed in the desert (the Hamdan Sports Complex is surrounded by dunes of sands): another one in the morning by the British boys in the 4x200m free relay heats, and the series went on in the afternoon.
Swimming World Juniors, Day 3: A must-see performance: the Mackenzie Horton Show
DUBAI (United Arab Emirates), 28 August – Three days, three individual gold medals, plus two in the relays: Mackenzie Horton got something back from faith after the 17 year-old Australian missed the cut for the FINA World Championships by a fingernail earlier this year. In Dubai, he won the 200m, 400m and 800m crowns so far, all in Championship Record time. Besides his shining, Day 3 saw 7 more CRs bettered.
Two Championship Records were already broken in the morning heats: credits went to two Russians, Evgeny Sedov (50m free) and Svetlana Chimrova (50m back). Chimrova further bettered her record in the semis, while Sedov’s CR fell to Luke Percy (AUS) in the afternoon.
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