European Jr. Champs + German Champs

Drowning kills more American children aged 1-4 than anything else.

Morning, Nerd.

Welcome to the Swimnerd Newsletter where each week we highlight the most interesting stuff going on in swimming. This week...

  • 🌎 Fast Swims Around the World

  • 📰 Drowning #1 Killer of Young Children

  • 📜 Set of the Week

  • 🤡 Swimming Meme of the Week

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European Junior Championships

The best and brightest youngsters from the Old World met at the European Junior Champs this week.

Bosnia & Herzegovenia’s Lana Pudar was the cream of the crop on the girls’ side. The butterflier swept her specialty stroke in 26.10/56.95/2:06.26 - all three swims meet records, and the 200 an overall European junior record. Interesting to note that while she’s no slouch underwater, that’s definitely where she has the most improvement she could make:

The best performance on the boys’ side came on the last day. Bulgarian Petar Mitsin gave a little appetizer with a 1:46.50 200 free win and a 7:47.47 meet record 800, both world class times in their own right (the 800 slotting in at eleventh in the world this season) but seems like between those is his sweet spot as he blasted a 3:44.31 400 free for a World junior record (breaking Mack Horton’s old record) and the fourth ranked swim on the season. That’s also a drop of almost four seconds.

Though, to be fair and respectful to Ian Thorpe, the World Junior Record is actually 3:40.59 set at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Other swims of note:

  • Italy ended up winning the medal table with 9 golds, 8 silvers, and 4 bronzes. They swept the 4×100 free and medley relays and won the men’s 4×2 as well. Individually, they swept the 50 frees (Sara Curtis 25.14, Lorenzo Ballarati 22.56. Andrea Commozzi took the 2 fly (1:58.59) and Emanuele Potenza took the 400 IM (4:21.90)

  • Kuzey Tuncelli of Turkey cracked the 15 minute mark in the 1500 for the second time this season with a 14:58.89 meet record. Turkish men’s distance swimming is looking really strong, as they had 2 finalists in each of the 400, 800, and 1500.

  • Great Britain’s Leah Schlosshan collected her own meet record with a 2:12.41 200 IM. GB’s 200 IM pedigree continues from Siobhan-Marie O’Connor to Freya Colbert and Katie Shanahan and now Schlosshan.

  • Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zheltyakov had a banner week, knocking out his own Ukrainian record in the 200 back by over a second for a 1:55.79. He also came close to his own record in the 100 back with a 54.18, and took second in the 50 in 25.10 (missing the national record by .01).

  • Winner of that 50 back, Czech Republic’s Miroslav Knedla (24.88), ran away with the 200 IM in 2:00.26. That broke his national record by a second.

  • Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova uncorked 30.33/1:06.81 to win the sprint breaststrokes. She’s got some of the best front end speed in the stroke in the world, junior or no.

German Championships

Some good stuff from the Germans and some internationals later in the week. Mostly a tune-up for Worlds, but a good chance to peak for high-level swimmers that didn’t otherwise qualify for Fukuoka.

  • Lukas Matzerath and Melvin Imoudu had a heck of a sprint breaststroke showdown. First, Matzerath got the win in the 100, 59.12 vs 59.17. Those are PRs for both men, with Matzerath’s a tune-up for World Champs, and Imoudu his first time under 60 seconds in the event. Imoudu got the upper hand in the 50 on the final day, his 26.79 a new German record, breaking Hendrik Feldwehr’s 14-year-old supersuited 26.83. Matzerath finished second in a still-respectable 27.20. Imoudu actually swam the same time in both trials and finals.

  • Isabel Gose nabbed a 1500 free PR, 15:56.80 putting her at 6th in the world. Leonie Martens finished second in the race in 16:08.54 for 12th in the world. Gose also went a 4:04.23 400 free to come within a second of her PR and German record less than a month from World Champs.

  • Martens’s brother, and apparently Gose’s significant other, noted distance freestyle Lukas, took the 200 back in 1:58.26. That’s actually his first German championship, which shows the strength of German distance swimming recently.

  • Angelina Kohler was on a gold medal rampage, taking the 100 fly (57.95), 400 medley relay, 50 fly (25.99), and 50 free (25.00).

  • Sven Schwarz put down some strong distance times, with 3:45.92/7:47.55.

  • D2 UIndy NCAA swimmer Cedric Buessing took the 400 IM in 4:17.63, the fastest he’s been in the event since winning 2021 European Juniors.

  • Fellow NCAA swimmer, for Indiana, Rafael Miroslaw came within a half second of his 200 free best with a 1:46.28 win.

  • Lithuanian teen stud Tajus Juska posted a 50.52 in the 100 Free — not too shabby for a 14 year old.

  • Another American college name, Texas’s Anna Elendt had a nice breaststroke week, sweeping the sprints in 30.58/1:06.92.

  • Ramon Klenz (1:57.19) got the best of David Thomasberger (1:57.98) and 2012 Olympic champ Chad le Clos (1:57.99) in the 200 fly.

  • Of note, a celebration was held for some recently-retired German athletes, a veritable who’s-who of the country’s last generation of national teamers, with names like Fabian Schwingenschlogl (just had to remember and type that name with a baby and a 3.5 year old making music next to me), Franziska Hentke, Damian Wierling, Dorothea Brandt, Jacob Heidtmann, and Reva Foos.

US Club Swims

  • Luca Urlando continues to make his way back from a shoulder injury last winter. He popped 50.11/1:48.15/3:53.60 frees and a 53.18 100 fly for his first butterfly splash since November.

  • Rex Maurer hit a PR 55.02 100 back - he could be a factor in that stroke for Stanford next year depending on how they want to develop him.

  • Some Texas Longhorn women made an appearance at Austin Sectionals only a week after Nationals. Grace Cooper and Dakota Luther almost duplicated those Nationals swims, with the former going 25.04/55.22 in the sprints and the latter going a 2:07.67 200 fly, while Olivia Bray tried out some different events, going 55.97/2:00.77/4:13.17 frees.

  • 14-year-old 400 IM and distance free prodigy Kayla Han went 2:01.70 200 free and 2:16.19 200 IM PRs. She already had the top time in the age group for the year in the 2 free, but she now clears the field by over two seconds.

  • 15-year-old Annie Jia broke 60 in the 100 fly for the first time and got her first Olympic Trials cut with a 59.93 effort.


Thank you, Emily Baumgaertner, for writing this piece in the NY Times.

It serves as a call to action to the US government by discussing the critical issue of drowning deaths among children in the United States and the disparity in such deaths among racial and socioeconomic groups.

Drowning (4,000 deaths annually with 1,000 being child deaths) is the leading cause of death for American children between 1 and 4 years old.

And, the US lacks a federal plan to address this issue, despite calls (finally!) from the United Nations.

Despite the urgency of this year-after-year, decade-after-decade, century-after-century problem, the US does not have a national action plan to tackle the issue. Countries like Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa have such plans in place.

The National Institutes of Health and the CDC are endeavoring to understand drowning prevention strategies and factors contributing to childhood drownings. “Little is known” they say about which methods work. This is such a typical public health nerd, response. What a bunch of malarkey.

However, a group of nonprofits has launched the U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan, whose mission is to make every American water safe in, on, and around water.

This issue is a significant public health challenge, requiring not only community action but government policy changes and interventions for effective resolution.

It further underscores the importance of universally accessible life-saving skills such as swimming and the reality of disparities that persist.

It’s time for the United States to step up.

“A man is not learned until he can read, write, and swim.” - Plato

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