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USA named best overall team as swimming championships finish on a high

posted on 02/09/2013: 2123 views

Team USA took the honours last night, taking the awards for the women's team, men's team and overall winning team as the 4th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships came to a close.

In an exciting climax to the six day event which saw the best juniors in the world battle it out for glory, another nine Championship records fell on the final night. Thirty four new times now stand as Championship records.

The action was breathtaking from the outset, with the much anticipated duel between the sprint kings in the boys 100m freestyle. In a reversal of the 50 freestyle result, the gold medal was taken by the USA's Caeleb Dressel, who stormed home in the last 50 to touch in a Championship record 48.97, just ahead of Australia's Luke Percy in 49.06. Russia's Evgeny Sedov took third.

Dressel was delighted with the win, "It's been a hard and tiring meet, but overall a great experience. I'm so happy to end it like that, I'm so thankful to the team and to all my team at home, I couldn't do it without them.

The girls 200m breaststroke was the next record to fall, with the Ukraine's Viktoriya Solcneva winning convincingly in 2:23.12, taking her country's first gold medal ahead of team mate Anastasiya Malyavina who finished over four seconds behind in 2:27.46. Silvia Guerra of Italy took bronze.

After Ukraine claimed its first gold, it was Italy's turn to claim its first for the Championships. After qualifying fastest in the heats, Luca Mencarini made no mistake, taking out the boys 200m backstroke and setting another Championship record in 1:57.92. Japan's Sunama Keita took the silver and Connor Green of the USA claimed the bronze.

Mencarini said "I am very happy with the time, this year has been difficult with hard training but this final was very good and I achieved a personal best".

The Championship records continued to fall in the next event, the girls 100m butterfly, when Svetlana Chimrova took the 50m /100m double in 58.34. Hungary's Liliana Szilagyi collected her second silver of the meet, and Australia's Jemma Schlicht took bronze.

The much anticipated boys 1500m was next on the programme and all eyes were on Australia's golden boy Mack Horton, who had already won 4 gold and I silver for the meet. Horton was the only swimmer in the field to have previously swum a sub-15 minute race, with a 14:59.66 in May this year. As expected, Horton took the lead early and was never threatened, finishing in a blistering 14:56.60, 11.83 seconds ahead of silver medallist Jan Micka of Czech Republic. In a repeat of the medals for the 800m freestyle, Pawel Furtek of Poland won bronze.

Horton was happy to have won, but disappointed with the time, "I was trying for low 14:50s, that would've been good. But I've enjoyed this event, I've gained a lot of experience and got more confident, particularly for the shorter events." Horton finished the meet as the top male medal winner, and will now turn his attention to preparing for the Commonwealth Games trials in April next year.

From golden boy to golden girl, the next event featured the Lithuanian superstar, Ruta Meilutyte, in the 50m freestyle. Meilutyte had already collected 3 gold and 2 silver medals, and did not disappoint in her final race of the programme, finishing first in 25.10, touching out Russia's Rozaliya Nasretdinova, with Hong Kong's 100m freestyle gold medallist Siobhan Haughey taking bronze.

Meilutyte was delighted with her time, saying, "This is amazing for me, I'm very, very pleased with my performances this year. I never really get a chance to give other events a try so I proved to myself that I am capable of them. I've had a really busy week but I really enjoyed it." The Championship record fell again in the next race, the boys 200m butterfly. Andrew Seliskar of the US touched first in 1:56.42, ahead of Masato Sakai of Japan and Alexander Kudashev of Russia.

Seliskar said "I have really enjoyed swimming here, it's a great venue. I'm tired now but it's been really good".

Peter Stevens on Slovenia followed up his Championships record breaking win in the heats of the boys 50m breaststroke with a gold medal in the final, finishing in 27.98. Kohei Goto of Japan collected a silver to go with his bronze in the 100m breaststroke, and Vsevolod Zanko of Russia took bronze.

It was Slovenia's first and only medal of the meet and Stevens was thrilled. "I am very happy with that, in fact I'm speechless. It was my season goal. The organisation here was been great too, so I've had a great time".

Italy topped the podium for the second time in the next event, the girls 200m freestyle, as Diletta Carli surprised all by taking gold. Maria Baklakova of Russia collected the silver, to go with her gold and 2 silvers from the relays. Quinn Carrozza of the USA took bronze.

The 4 x100m medley relays provided a thrilling finish to the event, with both winning teams breaking Championship records. The boy's event saw Japan break though for their first relay gold in 3:38.13, with Russia in second place and South Africa taking their first medal of the meet, the bronze. The USA had secured the bronze, but were later disqualified for an incorrect change, to give South Africa their first podium.

The final event of the championships, the girls relay, had the crowd on their feet, as Russia touched first 4:04.48. The team of Daria Ustinova, Anna Belousova, Svetlana Chimrova and Rozaliya Nasretdinova claimed Russia's ninth gold medal of the meet. Great Britain put in a strong performance to take the silver, with the USA finishing in third.

The final awards of the event were for the overall best women's team, overall best men's team and overall best team. In the women's rankings, the USA placed first, followed by Australia in second and Russia in third. The men's was also won by the USA with Russia in second and Australia in third. The combined rankings saw the USA take the honours as the best team of the meet, with Australia in second and Russia in third.

While the USA won the awards, the Australian team marked its resurgence in international swimming, topping the medal table with ten gold with the USA and Russia both with nine. USA topped the total medal table with 28, to Russia's 26 and Australia's 18. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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