Russia was the most successful nation
Antwerp (pps) Russia, Italy, and Germany were the big winners at the 39th European Junior Swimming Championships in Antwerp. These three nations not only topped the medal table after 40 events on Sunday, 8 July, they also collected nearly half of the 121 medals awarded at the “Wezenberg 50m pool” in the Belgian port at the estuary of the Scheldt River.
Whereas Italy and Germany remained in second and third place in the medal table there was a change at the top. Great Britain, the most successful nation in 2011 with 6 gold, 6 silver, and 7 bronze (total of 19) was replaced by Russia. The Russians clearly dominated the Championships with 12 gold, 6 silver, and 3 bronze (total of 21 medals). Italy (7 gold) beat Germany (6) by only one gold medal, although the Germans won more medals in total (23) than Italy (14). 43 of the 51 LEN Member Federations competed at the European Junior Championships and 21 of them were represented in the medal table with at least one medal. Moldova (1 gold: Danila Artiomov, 100m breaststroke) and Georgia (1 bronze: Irakli Bolkvadze, 200m breaststroke) won their first ever medals at European Junior Swimming Championships.
The most successful male athletes were Italian Gabriele Detti with three gold (400/1500m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle) and Germany’s Maximilian Oswald. Oswald achieved a total of six medals (two titles in the 50m and 100m freestyle, silver in the 200m freestyle, bronze in the 50m butterfly, and two further silver medals with the German freestyle relays). Detti recently earned a fifth (800m freestyle) and a sixth place finish (400m freestyle) at the Europeans in Debrecen in May and will be on the Italian team for the Olympics in London. His “long distance rival”, German Rob Muffels achieved gold in the 800m and silver in the 1500m freestyle. The 2011 European Open Water Swimming Junior Champion will now try to defend his title at the OWS Junior Europeans about to begin in Kocaeli (Turkey).
The most successful female athletes: Russian Mariya Baklakova, who won five gold medals in Antwerp (100 and 200m freestyle plus all relays). Her compatriot Iuliia Larina took three gold (200m backstroke, 400m IM, and 4x100m medley). “Danish dynamite” Mie Ø. Nielsen, the most successful female athlete in 2011, defended her titles in the 50m and 100m backstroke and won a bronze medal in the 200m freestyle.
The best performances were delivered by Russia’s Oleg Utekhin in the 50m breaststroke (27.57sec) and Diletta Carli from Italy for her victory in the 400m freestyle (4:09.36min). Two bronze medals were awarded in the men’s 50m backstroke when Viktar Staselovich from Belarus and Russian Nikita Ulyanov tied for third place in 25.88sec. With Mie Ø. Nielsen (50/100m backstroke), Anna Sztankovics (HUN/100m breaststroke), Louise Hansson (SWE/50m butterfly) and Mihael Vukic (CRO/50m butterfly), four swimmers successfully defended their 2011 titles.
Although the Belgian hosts did not win a medal in the 110th year of their foundation, the Royal Belgian Swimming Federation again proved to be an excellent organiser of the Championships, which were held in Antwerp for the fourth time after 1991, 1998 and 2007. The 40th European Junior Championships (Swimming, Diving, and Synchronised Swimming) will take place in Poznan (Poland) in July of 2013.
Medal Table – 2012 European Junior Swimming Championships