Gregory Eggert, Honorary Secretary of the FINA Media Committee (USA)

The sixth edition of the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships got underway in Indianapolis (USA) just two days following a near total eclipse of the sun. But the finals session of the first day of the FINA Junior World Championships included a sky that was full of many of the future stars of the sport.  

Niclo Martinenghi of Italy swam faster than his own FINA Junior World record posting the fastest time in the men's 100m breaststroke semifinals.

In the next semifinal event Canada's Taylor Ruck swam faster than the Junior World Record time achieved by USA Regan Smith in the preliminaries of the women's 100m backstroke.

Two notable accomplishments were recorded by Hungary and Canada in the championship relay events: The men's 4 x 100m freestyle relay team achieved Hungary's first ever gold medal in the history of the FINA Junior World Championships.

The impressive women of Canada swam more than 5 seconds faster than the Junior World Record swam by the Australian team in Singapore two years ago.

Men's 400m Freestyle

Andrew Abruzzo of the USA easily won the the first final of the championships in a time of 3:49.19. Abruzzo beat Balazs Hollo of Hungary by .78 to capture the first medal for the USA. His teammate Troy Freeman (USA) had the best time in this morning's qualifying heats but finished just under a second behind Arbuzzo, but finding a place on the medals podium.

Mack Horton of Australia won this event at the 2013 edition held in Dubai in a winning time of 3:47.12. Horton also holds the world junior record time of 3:44.60 swam on April 1, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. Abruzzo's swim was not as fast as the 2015 champion GRant Shoultis of the USA who won the event in 3:48.91.

Matthew Abruzzo (USA)

“I was so excited to represent Team USA. I was the first swim this morning and it was exhilarating getting on the blocks with everyone being so excited and so supportive. I was so excited to set the tone like that for the first night and the whole meet.”

Women's 50m Breaststroke (semifinal)

Mona Lucille McSharry of Ireland won the second semifinal to earn the top qualifying time for tomorrow night's final. McSharry's effort in 31.09 was just .06 second faster than Faith Nelson of Canada, the winner of the first semifinal. Emily Weiss of the USA qualified in third place just .23 behind McSharry in the second semifinal event.

Men's 100m Backstroke (semifinal)

Hugo Gonzalez of Spain was the top qualifier posting a time of 54.43 and the winner of the first semifinal. Conor Ferguson of Ireland swam 54.53 to win the second semifinal, just .10 of a second off the Spanish winner of the first heat. Daniel Martin of Romania was second to Gonzales in the first heat, .19 of a second behind the swimmer from Spain.

Women's 400m Individual Medley 

Miku Kojima and Anna Sasaki of Japan delivered a one-two finish. Kojima's time of 4:39/14 was only .13 second off the world junior and championship event record set by Rosie Rudin of Great Britain in the last junior world championships held in Singapore. 

Sasaki swam 1.85 seconds behind her teammate to earn the silver medal. 

Anja Crevar of Serbia earned the third place spot on the medals podium, 3.10 seconds behind the Japanese winner.

Miku Kojima (JPN)

"I really wanted a gold medal, and I didn't think I was able to swim this fast, so I'm very happy. I was surprised with my time because I wanted to swim 4:39 seconds, but I didn't think I was able to. The world junior record is 4:39.01, so I was just 0.1 off that time. I was almost there."

Mens 100m Breaststroke (semifinal)

Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy bettered his own Junior World Record winning the second semifinal in 59.01. Martinenghi's new world junior mark is the the fourth fastest time in the world for 2017. Reece Whitley and Michael Andrew of the USA swam identical times of 1:00.33 to tie for the second fastest qualifiers.  

Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA)

"When I arrived here I hoped that I could swim very fast. I am so happy because I saw my best time. This has been a long year for me, Juniors here, World Championships in Budapest, the European championships and some meets with my own team."

Women's 100m Backstroke (semifinal)

Taylor Ruck of Canada set a new championship and world junior record swimming 59.28 to be the top qualifier for Thursday's championship final. Ruck eclipsed Regan Smith's fastest time of 59.52 from this morning's preliminaries. 

Smith's semifinal time of 59.41 advances her to the championship final as the second fastest qualifier.

Canadian teammate Jade Hannah is the third fastest qualifier in the event.

Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 

Winning the first gold medal in their nation's history, the team of Kristof Milak, Marton Barta, Richard Marton and Nandor Nemeth from Hungary decisively held off challenges from Poland and Australia. Milak's lead off leg split of 49.08 was the fastest of the 8 team field. Nemeth split 48.24, the fastest anchor of the event. The Hungarian relay covered the distance in 3:17.99, more than a second slower than the team from Australia that set the Junior World Record in the Dubai edition in 2013. 

The silver medal winning relay from Poland finished .54 behind the Hungarians and only .02 second ahead of the Australian relay team that earned bronze medals for their squad.

Nandor Nemeth (HUN)

“Basically we went for the podium but I wanted gold and I knew we had a chance, even if Hungary had never been considered a medal-contender in this event. We guessed the Polish team would be our biggest rivals, they narrowly beat us at the junior Europeans but this time we managed to hit back. It’s a pretty good feeling to be part of history for the second time: first that amazing bronze at the FINA World Championships in this event at home in July, and now the first ever junior world title for our country.”

Kristof Milak (HUN)

“I wanted to clock a 48 seconds time, I barely missed it which is a bit disappointing but after all it’s a gold and this is what counts. It’s the end of the season, everyone is tired. We would have rather gone for vacation weeks ago but we have a job here. Perhaps we can say now that part of the job has been accomplished."

Women's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay

Canada's powerhouse relay team of Kyla Noelle Sanchez, Penny Oleksiak, Rebecca Smith and Taylor Ruck obliterated the junior world record by more than 5 seconds. Sanchez's lead off leg was second to Russia's Irinaa Krivonogova, but Oleksiak's split of 1:56.86 put the Canadians in the front and in a place where they would never look back. Oleksiak, Smith and Ruck swam the fastest times of their respective legs to beat the silver medal winning Russian team by 5.86 seconds. 

The team from Japan was a distant 10.62 off the pace of the Canadians.

Penny Oleksiak (CAN)

“I think it was pretty exciting. Going into the race we were all pretty confident with what times we could go and to come out with the gold medal and a world junior record is pretty awesome.”

Rebecca Smith (CAN)

“I think it’s pretty cool because all four of us train together and we’re all super close friends. Just to have that team atmosphere is pretty great. We couldn’t have done it without Mabel (Zavaros) doing it in the morning as well. It was a team effort and we all swam pretty fast.”