Vilnius 2024: Eneli Jefimova wins fourth straight title & Sara Curtis claims sixth gold as Italy top the medal table

Credit to: European Aquatics

Eneli Jefimova won her fourth straight 100m breaststroke title and Sara Curtis claimed her sixth gold medal on the final day of the European Junior Swimming Championships in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Curtis split 53.68 to anchor the Italian women to victory in the 4x100m medley relay to claim her third relay title to add to her three individual golds.

Italy also won the men’s medley relay to conclude the programme at the Lazdynai pool in the Lithuanian capital.

The continental competition concluded with Italy dominant at the top of the medal table with 13 golds, nine silvers and three bronze medals.

Hungary finished second with four golds, three silvers and four bronzes followed by Türkiye (4g, 3s, 3b), Romania (4g, 2s, 1b) and Lithuania (4g, 1s, 2b).

Kuzey Tuncelli produced the outstanding performance of the week with a World Junior record of 14:41.89 in the men’s 1500m freestyle before completing the distance double with victory over 800m.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Jefimova was seeking her fourth consecutive crown following victories at Roma 2021, Otopeni 2022 and Belgrade 2023.

The 17-year-old was also looking to add the European Junior title to the crown she had lifted at the European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024.

Jefimova set an Estonian record of 1:06.08 in the semifinals on Saturday and she made a superb start to the final, turning in 30.86.

A first voyage to 1:05 appeared on the cards but she fell just shy in 1:06.12 ahead of Smilte Plytnykaite as the Lithuanian added 100m silver to 50m gold in 1:07.92 with Theodora Taylor of Great Britain third in 1:08.59.

Evangelos Efraim Ntoumas of Greece won the men’s race in 1:00.80 with Spain’s Nil Cadevall Micolau and Bulgarian Maksim Manolov sharing silver in 1:01.10.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Tajus Juska produced a scorching men’s 100m freestyle that left the 15-year-old in shock up in lane one.

The Lithuanian teenager, who won 50m freestyle bronze, reached the turn in third before coming back in 25.33 to take the title in 48.74, 0.06 ahead of Croatia’s Vlaho Nenadic who took silver in 48.80.

Carlos D’Ambrosio of Italy claimed bronze in 48.99.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Curtis took over on anchor with Italy second behind Denmark although a superb start saw her take about three metres off the field.

She split 25.18/28.50 as she followed Benedetta Boscaro (1:03.44), Irene Mati (1:08.76) and Caterina Santambrogio (58.60) with the quartet clocking 4:04.48.

France were second in 4:05.46 with Denmark third in 4:05.85.  

On top of the medley relay, Curtis leaves Lithuania with golds in the 50/100 freestyle, 50m backstroke and women’s and mixed 4x100m freestyle relays.

Daniele del Signore (54.56), Lorenzo Fuschini (1:02.55), Daniele Momoni (51.89) and Carlos D’Ambrosio (48.13) combined to secure the men’s title in 3:37.13.

Spain were second in 3:38.09 with Great Britain in bronze in 3:38.09.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Minna Abraham enjoyed a comfortable victory to complete the 200/400 free double.

The Hungarian went away on the final 50 to take the touch in 4:09.85 ahead of Lucrezia Domina of Italy (4:11.01) and Sarah Dumont of Belgium (4:11.58).

In the men’s event, Alessandro Ragaini made his move going into the 300m mark after he had gone stroke for stroke with Ahmet Burak Isik of Türkiye.

The Italian came home in 3:47.96 ahead of Isik (3:48.53) with Johannes Liebmann third in 3:49.32.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Laura Cabanes Garzas fended off a challenge by her rivals on the final 50 to win the 200IM.

The 18-year-old, who was selected to the Spain team for the Olympics on Saturday, led throughout and although her deficit was reduced on the last length, she enjoyed what was ultimately a comprehensive win in 2:13.25.

Phoebe Cooper, who had qualified fastest, was second in 2:14.27 with Italy’s Giulia Pascareanu taking bronze in 2:14.37.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Daria-Mariuca Silisteanu timed her attack perfectly to overhaul leader Lara Komoroczy in the 100m backstroke.

The Romanian moved on to the Hungarian’s shoulder in the last 25m before going past the defending champion in 1:00.72 to 1:01.39.

Estella Tonrath won bronze in 1:01.49.

Daniele del Signore came from third at halfway to win the men’s 100m backstroke in 54.68 with John Shortt charging to silver in the final metres in 54.74.

Jakub Jan Krischke took bronze in 55.78.

Teo del Riego Torres, who set a CR of 23.41 en-route to top seed, won the men’s 50 fly in 23.44 ahead of Daniele Momoni of Italy (23.54.

Martine Damborg and Jana Pavalic shared the women’s title in 26.21