World Junior Championships: Lana Pudar, Maximus Williamson Set Meet Records in Victories on Day Two

Women 200m Butterfly
Lana Pudar: Photo Courtesy: Istvan Derencsenyi/LEN

World Junior Championships: Lana Pudar, Maximus Williamson Set Meet Records in Victories

On either end of the second finals session of the World Junior Championships, Lana Pudar and Maximus Williamson set meet records to claim gold on Tuesday.

Pudar set the meet mark in the women’s 200 butterfly, an event in which the Bosnia and Herzegovina swimmer was favored to win after finishing fourth there at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka earlier this summer. Williamson’s result came tinged with controversy after top seed Tomoyuki Matsushita was disqualified. Williamson’s was one of four golds for the United States on the day; his feverish final leg on the mixed medley relay secured the final one.

All the action from the second day of competition in Netanya, Israel:

(All event finals unless noted)

Men’s 100 backstroke

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zheltiakov scored the victory with a stellar back half, edging out a crowd to win in 53.73 seconds. His final 50 was 27.87, the third-fastest in the race to pull him from third at the wall to the gold.

Miroslav Knedla of the Czech Republic scored a rare medal for his country in second at 54.01. He had led the way over the first 50 meters and was the top seed from prelims. Italy’s Christian Bacico finished third. He was fifth at the midpoint and brought it back in 27.59.

The U.S.’s Daniel Diehl finished fifth in 54.37, with Ulises Saravia of Argentina fourth.


Women’s 200 butterfly

Lana Pudar delivered the authoritative swim you’d expect from her, going 2:07.20 to win by nearly two seconds. She was first at every wall, head and shoulders above the field.

It’s slightly shy of the 2:07.05 that got her fourth in Fukuoka. Her time chopped a half-second off the meet record, set in 2017 by Great Britain’s Emily Large at 2:07.47.

Second was Australian Bella Grant, who had been the top seed out of prelims. She secured silver in 2:08.97. Bronze went to Italy’s Paola Borrelli in 2:10.89. The Americans were in the running for 150 meters before fading badly, Hannah Bellard dropping from third to sixth in 2:11.26 and Bailey Hartman from fourth to seventh in 2:11.67,


Men’s 200 freestyle

Much like the men’s field, the boys 200 free is deep, talented and prone to producing surprises. While Flynn Southam winning isn’t exactly a shocker, he did do it from Lane 2, with plenty of competition.

Southam went 1:46.57 to steadily pull away from the field. He made his distance on the third 50, with a split of 27.28, that opened up a lead of nearly a second over the field. While others charged, he had plenty of cushion to play with.

The final margin was 0.71 seconds over Alessandro Ragaini of Italy, who had been eighth after 50 meters but steadily churned his way to 1:47.28. Australia’s Anders McAlpine was a bit of a surprise in bronze, charging from eighth at 150 to a medal with a final 50 split of 26.98.

Petar Mitsin, who set the second-fastest time in prelims, slid to fourth in 1:48.06. Neither American was a factor, Cooper Lucas seventh in 1:48.53 and Jason Zhao eighth in 1:48.62.


Women’s 50 breaststroke

A day after setting the meet record in the event, Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova didn’t quite go as quick Tuesday. But her time of 30.42 seconds was enough to secure gold. She had set the meet mark at 30.19 seconds.

Monique Wieruszowski of New Zealand was second in 30.68. Piper Enge joined them under 31 seconds to grab bronze in 30.74 for the U.S.


Men’s 100 butterfly semifinals

Wang Xizhe claimed the top seed in finals with a time of 52.49. He edged out Casper Puggaard of Denmark, who had posted the top prelims time. Puggaard was second in 52.61. Maxim Skazobtsov of Kazakhstan, Austria’s Lukas Edl and Filip Senc-Samardzic of Canada were also under 53 seconds to comprise the leading pack.

The final will proceed without an American: Jacob Wimberly was 10th in 53.71, after Ethan Harrington was eliminated in prelims in 21st.


Women’s 100 freestyle semifinals

It’ll be two Aussies and two Americans leading the final. Olivia Wunsch led the Dolphins to the top seed with a time of 54.08. She edged countrywoman Milla Jansen by an even tenth of a second. Anna Moesch of the U.S. was another quarter second back in 54.41.

There’s a gap back to Erika Pelaez in fourth, her 55.26 leading the crowd of 55-lows to make the final.


Men’s 100 breaststroke

Given the American struggles early in the session, Joshua Chen provided a shot in the arm to get the U.S. its fourth gold medal of the World Junior Championships. He roared home after being tied for sixth at the midpoint of the 100 breast with a race-best split of 31.59 to win in 1:00.70. His final 50 was seventh tenths quicker than anyone else.

It left him a clear half-second up on Yamato Okadome of Japan, who claimed silver in 1:01.20. Okadome closed hard to nudge Watson Nguyen down a step on the podium. Nguyen led the race midway through but ended up with bronze in 1:01.22.


Women’s 100 backstroke

The Aussies claimed a 1-2 in the 100 back, Jaclyn Barclay leading the way. She posted a 59.47 for a wire-to-wire win. Countrywoman Iona Anderson rallied from fourth to second with the second-quickest final 50 of the race, getting her hand to the wall in 59.88.

The fastest final 50 belonged to Erika Pelaez, who zoomed from seventh to bronze. She went 59.94 on the back end of a quick double, coming home in 30.09. She pipped teammate Teagan O’Dell to a medal, the latter fading to 1:00.07 for fourth.


Men’s 200 individual medley

All eyes were on Tomoyuki Matsushita, after the Japanese swimmer set the World Junior Championships record in prelims. But he was disqualified out of lane four, opening the door for the field.

Maximus Williamson surged into the space. He was first at every wall, obliterating Matsushita’s hours-old record. Where Matsushita clipped four hundredths off the mark, Williamson routed it by more than a second, going 1:57.29.

He was clearly ahead of the pack, with his nearest company countryman Daniel Diehl, who went 1:58.62 for silver. Lorne Wigginton took bronze in 1:59.44, edging out Zhang Zhanshou of China by .05 seconds.


Women’s 800 freestyle

American Kayla Han took control early and coasted to victory in the 800 free, the 15-year-old going 8:29.6. She was four seconds clear of the field.

Mao Yihan of China picked up silver in 8:33.66. She held off the late charge from Argentina’s Agostina Hein, who earned the bronze in 8:33.90. A big split went back to the fourth-place finisher, Ruka Takezawa leading fellow Japanese swimmer Niko Aoki to the wall. Lyndsey Bowen, the other American, was sixth. The top Aussie, Amelia Weber, finished ninth.


Mixed medley relay

Make it three-for-three for the Americans on relays at the World Junior Championships, though it took a bit of drama to get there.

The American squad of Teagan O’Dell, Watson Nguyen, Leah Shackley and Maximus Williamson went 3:45.62 to notch the victory, ultimately surging to a 3.56-second margin over Australia. But that conceals the slow burn of it, with Williamson leaping into the pool in sixth place, more than three seconds off the pace.

Australia finished second, with Italy third. Canada was just off the podium in fourth.

The Americans – weak in male butterfly, and with top female freestyler Erika Pelaez already having swim twice – went with a tack that would have them chasing. Williamson was fine with that, splitting 47.74 off the end to go from sixth to first. He outsplit the Aussie male anchor, Edward Sommerville, by 0.96 seconds.

Joshua Chen, winner of the men’s 100 breast, swam prelims, which gave Nguyen the finals spot. His 1:00.66 was .78 faster than his Aussie counterpart and quickest of the six male breaststrokers. O’Dell got the U.S. out fifth, the fastest of four female backstrokers, and Shackley’s 57.71 was the best of five female butterfliers (and 1.5 ticks faster than Australia.)

The Aussies (Jaclyn Barclay, Gideon Patrick Burnes, Isabella Boyd and Sommerville) clocked in at 3:49.18. Sommerville clawed back 6.5 seconds on Italian female anchor Matilde Biagiotti. Biagiotti joined Christian Bacico, Christian Mantegazza and Paola Borrelli for the Italians, who led at each of the first three handoffs, to go 3:50.09.


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