World Juniors: American Max Williamson wins 7 medals

Ian Thorpe Sets + Diana Nyad's Cuba Swim Denied Ratification + Rylov Out of Olympics

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

  • 📰 Swimming Headlines

  • 📜 Set of the Week

  • 🤡 Swimming Meme of the Week

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World Junior Championships

Many of the finest junior swimmers in the world met in Israel for the World Junior Champs. We saw a nice mix of senior Worlds finalists (among them Lana Pudar and Flynn Southam) and fresher breakout faces.

The biggest winner of the weekend was the USA’s Maximus Williamson with 7 medals, 6 of them gold. The 17-year-old (he actually turned 17 during the meet) broke the championship record in the 200 IM with a 1:57.29, which makes him the fastest 17 year old in history - that’s a time faster than Michael Phelps’s first world record in the event. Check out his last 50 meters below…

His other individual event was also a win, with a 48.45 100 free, but his relay exploits were where he really shined. He popped 3 different sub-48 100 free splits, culminating with a 47.57 4×100 medley relay anchor win. That really quickly vaults him into position as one of the fastest 100 free relay swimmers in the entire US, faster than 3 of the men who put up flying splits in the US’s world champs 4×100 free relays (prelims and finals). Of immediate interest, his team’s 4×100 free relay nipped the WJR in the event - Diehl (49.93), Williamson (47.78), Williams (49.14), and Zhao (48.64) taking off three tenths from the US’s Jr Pan Pacs relay last year with a 3:15.49.

In the same vein, Australia’s Olivia Wunsch was the biggest winner on the women’s side with 5 golds and a bronze, and her relay exploits were the biggest story. She blasted two sub-53 splits to anchor her teams to golds in the 4×100 free and 4×100 medley relays, the fastest a 52.61. She was part of the other WJR set on the week, the mixed 4×100 free relay, where Southam (48.58), Sommerville (48.54), Wunsch (53.62), and Jansen (53.55) took a good second and a half chunk off the old record.

That 52.61 wouldn’t have quite been enough to make it on Australia’s 4×100 free world record swim at senior Worlds, but that’s more a testament to that country’s ridiculous sprint depth than anything else. She also won the 50 and the 100 free, the former tying the meet record.

On the topic of meet records, IM wunderkind Leah Hayes collected both the IM records in 2:10.24/4:36.84, while Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsushita ensured a record clean sweep of IM records with a 4:10.97 in the men’s 400 IM.

That gives Japan 8 of the top 25 400 IMers on the year, the most of any country in the world. Also of note in that race, China’s Zhanshuo Zhang went a 4:12.44 to become the fastest 16 year old in the history of the event.

Other swims of note:

  • Lana Pudar didn’t hit any best times, but did take the 100/200 flies in 57.77/2:07.20, the latter a meet record. She ended up the women’s Swimmer of the Meet.

  • Turkish distance ace Kuzey Tuncelli, who only turned 17 a couple weeks ago, broke 15 in the 1500 for the third time this season with a 14:59.80 win. More impressively, he popped a 7:48.75 800 free PR to out-back-half 400 free WJR holder Petar Mitsin. His teammate Emir Elbayrak went 7:58.42/15:21.96 to continue Turkey’s impressive junior distance swimmer showings this year.

  • Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zheltyakov consolidated his country’s backstroke records with 24.91/53.73/1:56.13, the former two PRs and the latter two event wins. Those swims garnered him men’s Swimmer of the Meet.

  • The breaststroke events saw breakouts for a few new names. In the women’s races, Canada’s Alexanne Lepage nipped Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova (who broke the meet record in semis) with a big PR 1:06.58 (she only broke 1:10 for the first time this year), and followed that up with a dominant 2:24.70 200 win courtesy of the fastest last 50 in the field. Canada's been looking for a relay breaststroker for awhile, and Lepage has as good a shot as anyone to take that mantle. Back-halfing was the name of the game for men’s 100 breast champ Josh Chen as well, who touched 6th at the 50 but came home in 31.59 for a 1:00.70 win. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Felix Iberle took that country’s first World Junior Champs gold in the 50 breast, his high water mark a 26.98 prelims swim a hundredth off Nicolo Martinenghi’s WJR; while Hong Kong’s Adam Mak scared that country’s national record with a 2:11.84 200 breast win.


Over the weekend, the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA), now under new management, has come out and said that they will not ratify her 110 mile swim from Cuba to Florida.

“During our evaluation, we came across rules from an association whose existence at the time of the swim, or at any point, could not be verified. We found a document with rules that seemed to have been retroactively dated, and there were inconsistent statements from crew members. Observers who play a vital role in recording swim details and ensuring rule compliance, often holding more significance than GPS data, had missing entries for a span of over 9 hours. In light of these factors, we’ve chosen to preserve the sport’s integrity by denying the ratification of the swim.” - WOWSA Advisory Board

Questions have been raised about the legitimacy of her swim for quite some time now, led by Daniel Slosberg, the author of where he paints a picture of Diana lying about and exaggerating her swims throughout her life. The lead title on his website is: “Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad began lying about herself and her career 50 years ago and never stopped.”

Nyad admits she should have shared more evidence to back her claims. She also concedes she would now accept her swim as an "assisted swim." While she initially aimed for her record to be "unassisted", she's willing to accept the presented classification as her effort was fair and square.

Netflix’s documentary starring Annette Bening and Jodie Foster comes out November 4th.

Last week, World Aquatics announced guidelines that they will allow Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete at World Champs and at the Olympics. But one major stipulation will seemingly leave the defending 100 & 200 Backstroke Olympic champion out in the cold…

“No support for the war in Ukraine. Any form of verbal, non verbal or written expression, explicit or implicit, at any time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, in particular public statements, including those made in social media, participation in pro-war demonstrations or events, and the wearing of any symbol in support of the war in Ukraine, for example the “Z” symbol, are considered to be acts of support for the war in Ukraine.”

Rylov was suspended back in 2022 for showing support on stage at a rally in Moscow, leaving him ineligible to defend his titles next year.

My gut tells me this will be changed at some point in the next 10 months and we will see him in Paris.

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This week on INSIDE with BRETT HAWKE...


#334 Zac Stubblety-Cook

90 minutes with Australian breaststroke extraordinaire, Izaac Keith Stubblety-Cook!

This thorough conversation touches on a host of areas, from Zac’s meticulous training strategies for breaststroke, racing and losing to Qin Haiyang at World Championships, his wholehearted effort to win the Olympics, to his relationship with the media and public exposure.


Here are a few Ian Thorpe sets he did as a teenager…

5 x 100m kick (with a kick board) on 4:00. All five were done at 1:01

7 x 200m swim on 5:00. He averaged 1:51. The last one was sub-1:50.

20 x 400m swim done as 5 x (4 x 400):

4 on 4:50. He swam all under 4:40

4 on 4:40. He swam all under 4:30

4 on 4:30. He swam all under 4:20

4 on 4:20. He swam all under 4:10

4 on 4:10. He averaged 4:02


Jake, swimming’s #1 meme man, is on vacation saving lives.

No - seriously - he saved this girl’s life by hitting her with an epi-pen after just 1 bite of delicious fish.

Here’s proof:

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