Belgrade 2023: Lana Pudar wins European 100m fly crown in new record time

István Derencsényi – LEN

By Nick Hope
Aquatics correspondent in Serbia

Lana Pudar claimed the European Junior 100m butterfly title and set a new European Junior Championship record on the third evening of finals in Belgrade, Serbia.

The 17-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina swimmer finished in 56.95 seconds, to smash the previous mark of 57.39 secs, which had stood since 2019.

Martine Damborg of Denmark (58.35) and Sweden’s Emmy Hallkvist (59.50) took silver and bronze respectively.

Pudar was not the only swimmer to break a record in Belgrade with Kuzey Tuncelli of Turkiye impressively lowering the previous men’s 1500m freestyle European Junior Championship record of 15 minutes and 1.59 seconds with a new landmark of 14:58.89.

It followed a gruelling race and fascinating battle which saw countryman Emir Batur Alabayrak take bronze (15:00.57) after being edged out of silver by just 0.06 seconds.

Romanian Vlad-Stefan Stancu claiming the silver medal.

Miroslav Knedla of Czechia secured his second gold medal in as many days by following up his 50m backstroke success on Wednesday with a dominant display in the 200m individual medley final.

He finished in 2:00.26, clear of chasing Italian Christian Mantagazza (2:01.10), with Matthew Ward (2:01.10) of Great Britain wining his second bronze of the competition.

István Derencsényi – LEN

2022 World junior silver medallists Sara Curtis had secured lane four and the ‘pre-race favourite’ billing ahead of the women’s 50m freestyle after impressive performances en route to the final.

The Italian looked confident ahead of the start and delivered a strong sprint with her ‘windmill’ technique powering the 16-year-old to victory in 25.14 seconds ahead of German Nina Jazy (25.38) and Skye Carter of Great Britain (25.41)

The last final of the evening saw eight teams battle it out for the 2023 LEN European Junior Swimming Championships 4x200m freestyle relay title.

Hungarian Nikolett Padar, who won two gold medals on Wednesday, gave her nation a strong first-leg lead which Lili Gyurinovics and Dora Molnar helped maintain.

Lilla Minna Abraham then brought the team home with their seventh title of the tournament in eight minutes and 0.25 secs, with Italy (8:03.22) and France (8:05.62) taking silver and bronze.

István Derencsényi – LEN

LEN EJSC 2023 DAY THREE RESULTS AND REACTION:

WOMEN’S 50M FREESTYLE FINAL:

István Derencsényi – LEN

GOLD – Sara Curtis (25.14) – Italy

SILVER – Nina Sandrine Jazy (25.38) – Germany

BRONZE – Skye Carter (25.41) – Great Britain

“I’m very, very happy,” Sara Curtis told LEN. “There was a little bit of pressure as it is before the Europeans as it’s an important event and I was excited, but I really wanted to do a good race. It was incredible (to see she my name as number one) and I looked to my Italian friends and they also were very happy, so it was a lot of emotion. Again, I’m very happy.”


MEN’S 200M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY FINAL:

István Derencsényi – LEN

GOLD – Miroslav Knedla (2:00.26) – Czechia

SILVER – Christian Mantegazza (2:01.10) – Italy

BRONZE – Matthew Ward – (2:01.17) – Great Britain

“It definitely felt that way (controlled), we train for this event a lot with all our practices,” said Miroslav Knedla. “Before I won, I didn’t think I’d go faster than my PB as I thought it was unbeatable or me. The crowd helped me. Family cheered me, friends and my coach is a big part of my gold medal.”


WOMEN’S 100M BUTTERFLY FINAL:

István Derencsényi – LEN

GOLD – Luna Pudar (56.95) – Bosnia and Herzegovina

SILVER – Martine Damborg (58.35) – Denmark 

BRONZE – Emmy Hallkvist (59.50) – Sweden

“It means so much, especially because the World Championships are coming this month and it means I’m in good form and I’m really happy to finally swim under 57 seconds so it really means a lot to me,” Lana Pudar told LEN. “I really like to compete and I’m really happy as this competition in Belgrade is really close to my home so a lot of my friends and family are here supporting me so I was really excited for this race and this competition so I’m really enjoying this.”


MEN’S 1500M FINAL

GOLD – Kuzey Tuncelli (14:58.89) – Turkiye

SILVER –  Vlad-Stefan Stancu (15:00.51) – Romanian

BRONZE – Emir Batur Alabayrak (15:00.57) – Turkiye

“I’m really happy and I didn’t expect that time so I’m feeling so good right now,” said Kuzey Tuncelli after the final. “My opponents were strong and I would like to congratulate them, but I am of course very happy with the gold medal as it was my plan to try and win.”


WOMEN’S 4x200m FREESTYLE FINAL

István Derencsényi – LEN

GOLD – Hungary (8:00.25) – Nikolett PADAR, Lili GYURINOVICS, Dora MOLNAR, Lilla Minna ABRAHAM.

SILVER – Italy (8:03.22) – Matilde BIAGIOTTI, Emma Vittoria GIANNELLI, Giulia ZAMBELLI, Giulia VETRANO.

BRONZE – France (8:05.62) – Valentine LECLERCQ, Maeline BESSARD, Albane CACHOT, Giulia ROSSI-BENE.

“I was pretty confident in our team, I think our girls are amazing, we came to win, we did it and I’m proud of team Hungary,” said Lilla Minna ABRAHAM. Team-mate Dora Molnar added; “I thought it would be painful but it was really good, so I’m really happy I could swim the relay and that we won it.”