Portugal’s Diogo Matos Ribeiro streaked his way to a new world junior record en route to his third gold medal at the 8th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships with a 22.96 swim in the 50m butterfly event in the Peruvian capital.
Portugal moves into fifth place on the nation medals table, with exclusive credit due to Matos Ribeiro for his golden performances in the 50m and 100m butterfly, and in the 50m freestyle sprint events.
Another triple gold medallist was in action tonight setting the fastest pace for tomorrow's 100m freestyle final. Romania's David Popovici, the world record holder (46.86) in this event swam a 48.17 to advance as the top seed for Sunday's final. Popovici also holds the world junior record and set the Championship Record of 47.07 earlier this week in Lima.
Turkish distance ace Merve Tuncel won the 1500m freestyle to add to her collection of gold medals previously won in the 400m and 800m freestyle events. Japan's Ruka Takezawa was the silver medalist in tonight's 1500m as well as all the other two freestyle races won by Tuncel.
Japan's Riku Yamaguchi won his first gold medal in the 400m Individual Medley that capped a great night for his country with the addition of three medals from the nation's women. Japan has a total of 14 medals, the highest amongst the 21 countries that have earned their way onto the Medals Table.
Hungary’s gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay was from the same foursome that delivered gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay. This gold medal makes 6 for Hungary, moving ahead of Poland and Japan which each have five gold medals. The Italian women earned a second silver medal finishing behind Hungary in the freestyle relays.
DAY 5 FINALS
MEN’S 50m BUTTERFLY
Another record-setting performance from Portugal’s Diogo Matos Ribeiro, the only man under 23 seconds in this race.
His 22.96 performance not only improves the 23.12 championship record he set yesterday (23.22 previously held by USA’s Michael Andrew) but also erases the previous World Junior Record previously owned by Russia’s Andrei Minakov set in October 2020.
In Lima, Ribeiro also won the 50m freestyle and the 100m butterfly too, so his trophy case now includes a third gold medal. Finishing .50 behind Ribeiro was the Czech Republic's Daniel Gracik earning his second silver medal, previously finishing second in the 100m butterfly event to the triple gold medallist from Portugal. Finishing exactly one second behind the new junior world record holder was Casper Puggaard of Denmark who adds another bronze medal to his Lima tally in addition to the bronze he earned in the 100m butterfly.
Asked about his race, he was silent for a long time, sharing only a very broad smile and then:
WOMEN’S 1500m FREESTYLE
Turkey’s Merve Tuncel won her third gold medal of the championships, sweeping the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events. Her final time, 16:15.95 was faster than Japan’s Ruka Takezawa by 8.66 seconds.
Tuncel is the European Junior Champion in the same three events; her final time in Otopeni at the July European Juniors was almost two seconds faster, winning that title in 16:13.68. Takezawa was the silver medalist in all three races won by Tuncel.
"This is my third gold medal and I am very happy with the result," Tuncel said. "After the 300m, I felt a bit more relaxed than I did at the start of the race. This is a longer event and it’s at the end of a very long season, so I am very tired, but also very happy."
WOMEN’S 50m BACKSTROKE
Lora Fanni Komoroczy of Hungary won her first individual gold medal covering the distance wall-to-wall in 28.51 seconds. Aimi Nagaoka (28.70) of Japan earned her second silver medal in a backstroke event, and finished second in the 100m event as well. Italy’s Sara Curtis earned a bronze medal with her 28.93.
I think it was a good race and I am so happy. This is not my best time in my career and maybe that was because I was very nervous before the race. I am a sprinter and so any one lap event is a bit easier.
MEN’S 400m INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
Riku Yamaguchi of Japan earned his first gold medal by soundly defeating the other seven men in the finals.
Poland’s Krzysztof Chmielewski led for the first half of the race but was overpowered by Yamaguchi’s powerful split (1:10.84) in the breaststroke.
Steverink was the winner of the men’s 400m freestyle so this silver was his second medal of the championships. Although the Championship Record was set by a swimmer from Greece -Apostolos Papastamos' 4:11.93 from 2019 - Sofikitis' medal is the first for Greece.
"I wanted to swim as relaxed as I possibly could until the breaststroke which is my best stroke," Yamaguchi said. "I wanted to push as hard as I could in the breast and that was the strategy that worked. I will swim breaststroke, but I think that the individual medley is my preferred event."
WOMEN’S 4x100m FREESTYLE RELAY
The same quartet that struck gold for Hungary in the 4x200m freestyle relay were successful again. In the longer relay Lilia Minna Abraham anchored the relay, but tonight she led off with the fastest split, 55.59. The Hungarian women retained that lead and never looked back, beating the Italy foursome by 1.84 seconds. Brazil took bronze, finishing 8.19 seconds behind the Hungarian-winning quartet.
Lilla Minna Abraham (55.59) - "We held onto the lead and we finished strong. I’m glad we won this event to go with our other gold medal."
Nikolett Padar (54.90) - "I was pleased with my swim, and of course, I’m pleased for the other girls."
Lili Gyurinovics (56.39) - "We are really happy with this result. It was a great swim."
Dora Molnar (55.06) - "We are really happy. It's really cool to have won this relay and also the 4x200m free relay as well."
DAY 5 SEMI-FINAL RACES
MEN’S 100m FREESTYLE
David Popovici holds the World Record, the Junior World Record and also the Championship Record in this event.
In tonight’s semi-finals, he won the second of the two heats in fine form, an easy-breezy 48.17 and was the only swimmer faster than 50 seconds.
Popovici was out in 23.47 and back in 24.70, and finished 1.91 seconds ahead of the Czech Republic's Tobias Kern who swam second in his semi-final heat. Also in the second semi-final heat was Croatia’s Jere Hribar who swam 1.95 seconds behind the newest world record holder, and advances to the finals as the third seed.
WOMEN’S 100m BUTTERFLY
Seeded first for tomorrow’s finals is Mizuki Hirai of Japan, winner of the second semi-final heat in 1:00.01. Second-seeded Paola Borrelli was the fastest swimmer in the first heat, 1:00.30. Beatriz Bezerra of Brazil’s time of 1:00.35 confirms she will advance as the third fastest swimmer and in contention for a podium spot.
WOMEN’S 50m FREESTYLE
Matilde Biagiotti of Italy claimed the fastest time in the semifinals, winning heat two in a time of 25.36. Bianca-Andreea Costea of Romania swam just ,07 slower, winning the first heat. Advancing to the finals with the third-fastest time is Biagiotti’s Italian teammate Sara Curtis.
MEN’S 50m BREASTSTROKE
Uros Zivanovic of Serbia swam 28.08 to earn the top-seeded time, winning the second heat. Italy's Alex Sarattani won the first heat in a slightly slower time, 28.44 to advance as the second-seeded swimmer in tomorrow’s finals. Filip Urbanski of Poland swam 28.55 to advance to the finals as the third-seeded man.