European U23: World Junior Record Holder Petar Mitsin Claims Gold for Bulgaria on Night Two in Dublin

Istvan Derencsenyi/LEN

by Lydia Ferrari Kehoe

A sell-out arena was the backdrop for the second night of finals at the European U23 Swimming Championships, which delivered another fantastic evening of racing in the Irish capital.

It was World Junior Record Holder, Petar Mitsin, who caused an upset in the Men’s 400m Freestyle to become European champion against home favourite and fastest seed into the final, Daniel Wiffen (IRE). 

Mitsin looked in control from the beginning of the race, eventually hitting the wall in a time of 3:46.16 to earn Bulgaria its first medal at this meet. 

Wiffen, who won the 1500m Freestyle yesterday, won Ireland’s seventh medal of the event so far with his time of 3:47.57. In third was 200m Freestyle champion and Greek Record Holder, Dimitrios Markos (GRE), with 3:50.42. 

Ireland’s Mona McSharry was in the first event to take the pool yet again in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke, kicking off the action by claiming a second European U23 title (1:06.69). 

She did the double alongside her 50m win from the day before where she became the first ever European U23 Swimming Champion in history.

Speaking after her race, McSharry said: “I was really just pushing, it was a really tight race; I could see her right there and I knew it was all going to be in the last few metres and I was just trying to push to the finish.”

There were some familiar faces on the podium as Kaitlyn Dobler (USA) was the second swimmer home in 1:06.70. The silver medal went to Anita Bottazzo (ITA) in 1:07.17 with bronze going to Danish Olympian Clara Rybak-Andersen in 1:08.12. 

Keeping with the sprint events, South Africa’s Pieter Coetze was the only man under the 25-second mark in the Men’s 50m Backstroke final with a time of 24.89. 

Jonathon Adam (GBR) was the first European home to win gold in 25.12, while Evangelos Makrygiannis (GRE) claimed his first podium finish of the meet finishing second in 25.13 with Miroslav Knedla (CZE) third in 25.30. 

A dominant display from USA’s Emma Sticklen saw her victorious in the Women’s 200m Butterfly, stopping the clock over a second quicker than the rest of the field (2:08.50). 

It was another gutsy swim from Keanna Macinnes (GBR), who stormed down the last 50m to take her first win of the meet, adding to her silver medal in the 100m fly on night one. 

A battle between the Scottish athlete and Anja Crevar (SRB) saw them fighting until they hit the wall, finishing in 2:09.73 and 2:10.02, respectively. Juliette Marchand (FRA) claimed bronze in 2:11.45. 

On a night where the Greek team frequented the podium, Stergios-Marios Bilas added to their tally with a gold medal in the Men’s 50m Freestyle (21.83). That swim makes him the second man ever from Greece to break the 22-second mark, with his previous PB sitting at 22.44. 

It also secured him a consideration time for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which he said was the ultimate goal for his race. 

Norway’s Nicholas Lia claimed silver in 21.95 with the bronze medal going to Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR) in 21.96. 

History repeated itself in the Women’s 400m Freestyle with Germany teammates Isabel Gose and Leonie Maertens claiming gold and silver, respectively. 

They replicated the same finish in the 400m distance as we saw yesterday in the 800m Freestyle, with the defending European champion stopping the clock in 4:05.96, and Maertens coming in at 4:08.57. 

Speaking after the race, Gose said: “It’s not my best time but it’s my second final and second gold so I’m happy with it.”

Portugal’s Francisca Martins, who took silver in the 200m Freestyle, finished third in 4:08.92. 

19-year-old Adela Piskorska continued her strong form in the Women’s 100m Backstroke, finishing ahead of the European field with a time of 1:00.31 to win gold. 

USA’s Isabelle Stadden swam her way to a commemorative medal (59.27) as the only athlete to break the minute-mark. Silver was won by Lotte Hosper (NED) in 1:01.37, with third going to Bertille Cousson for her second bronze of the meet (1:02.01). 

An electric display from Neza Klancar (SLO) in the Women’s 50m Freestyle saw her becoming European U23 champion in a new personal best of 24.76. 

Swimming faster than she did at the recent World Aquatics Championships in Japan, Klanar said she was “really surprised” with her result. 

Kornelia Fiedkiewicz (POL) claimed silver in 25.06, with Teresa Ivan (SVK) completing the European podium in 25.24. Nothing separated her and Jula Dennis (USA) who claimed a commemorative medal by posting the same time; her countrymate Grace Cooper also took home a commemorative medal (24.84). 

Krzysztof Chmielewski of Poland put on a domineering display in the Men’s 200m Butterfly, touching ahead of the rest of the field at every point throughout the race. 

1:54.68 won the race for him, while his twin brother, Michal Chmielewski, joined him on the podium with another bronze medal for Poland’s collection, touching in 1:56.72. Noyan Taylan (FRA) took home silver in 1:56.42. 

Ireland’s Ellen Walshe claimed her second European title for the meet in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley, touching just outside her personal best with a time of 4:42.37. 

The 400m distance gave another opportunity for Walshe and USA’s Justina Kozan to go head-to-head, making it one of the highlight events of the evening. 

A strong freestyle leg from Kozan saw her edging ahead of the home favourite to take a commemorative medal in 4:40.97. 

Anja Crevar (SRB), who also appeared on the 200m Butterfly podium tonight, put together a strong race for bronze in 4:46.86. 

A nail-bitingly close finish in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley delivered another highlight for the evening; one that saw Matthew Sates (RSA) securing the overall win over Cedric Buessing (GER) by just 0.01 of a second (4:14.73, 4:14.74). 

Hungary’s Gabor Zombori completed the podium with his time of 4:15.47. 

In the night’s other results, Lucien Vergnes (FRA) was victorious in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke in 2:10.04. Luca Janssen (NED) also slipped under the 2:11-mark, finishing his swim strong in 2:10.79 to claim silver, with Maksym Ovchinnikov (UKR) third in 2:11.02. 

Tactics came into play for the men racing in the 50m Freestyle Skins, with six athletes lining up to take on the knockout-style race. 

Winner of the earlier Men’s 50m Freestyle final, Bilas (GRE), went out after the first round, with Remi Fabiani (LUX) leading the way to round two. 

After round two, it was Jere Hribar (CRO) and Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR) who faced off in the final, with Bukhov finishing as overall winner in the final round with a time of 24.49. 

Consistency proved to be the winning formula for Neza Klancar of Slovenia as she came out victorious in the Women’s 50m Freestyle Skins. 

The champion in the individual 50m Freestyle from earlier in the evening, Klancar stayed within touching distance of her personal best (24.80) over the three rounds, posting 25.37 in round one, 25.85 in round two, and 25.83 in round three. 

Second-place went to Julia Dennis (USA) who joined Klancar in the final round and posted 26.66.