2022 EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Tuesday, July 5th – Sunday, July 10th
Otopeni Olympic Swimming Complex, Bucharest, Romania
Prelims: 10 a.m. local / 3 a.m. ET
Finals: 5 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET
Looking at the overall swimming medal table after 3 days of competition at these 2022 European Junior Championships, we have a new leader atop the standings.
After 17 events, Romania has now moved into the top spot atop the medal table, with the nation earning one individual gold tonight in front of a home crowd.
Taking the boys’ 1500m freestyle was Vlad-Stefan Stancu of the host nation, posting a winning effort of 15:05.47. That beat the field by just about 8 seconds en route to coming within 4 seconds of the meet record.
The 16-year-old’s performance also scored a new Romanian national record, overtaking the previous standard of 15:06.33 that’s been on the books since way back in 2004. His time also would have placed 8th in the final at this year’s World Championships.
On his record-setting performance, Stancu said post-race, “The race was planned and built according to our plans. I knew that if I could switch gears as expected, then I would win this race, though I didn’t know how the others would react. I’m happy that I succeeded like this. It was amazing to compete here, in my hometown, in front of our fans, it was fantastic!”
At the 2021 edition of these European Junior Championships, Romania ultimately finished 5th in the medal table, racking up a total of 4 medals. 3 of those came in the form of a golden treble by phenom David Popovici across the sprint freestyle events, while the Romanian boys’ 4x100m freestyle relay snagged silver.
Already through just 3 days of competition, Romania has met that 4 medal total with the competition only halfway through.
Additional gold medalists on the evening included Yigit Oktar of Turkey in the boys’ 200m IM (2:00.68), Nina Jazy of Germany in the girls’ 50m freestyle (25.22) and Roos Vanotterdijk of Belgium in the girls’ 100m butterfly (57.85).
Vanotterdijk’s time beat out Bosnian & Herzegovinian Lana Pudar by only .03 in the super close race, with the former establishing a new national record en route to gold. Vanotterdijk’s effort surpassed the previous Belgian record of 57.91 Kim Buys logged in 2017.
On her race, Vanotterdijk stated, “I usually don’t start so strong, relying more on my second 50m. I didn’t look around, I didn’t know where Lana (Pudar) was swimming, I focused only on myself, on my swim. Well, this has been a hard year for me so far, I did not come here with big expectations. Then yesterday I felt really good, for the first time in the season, and I thought, OK, that might be a personal best, or something nice. But winning, it didn’t cross my mind, so I’m really happy now.”
On the relay front, the Hungarian girls’ 4x200m freestyle relay got the job done to top the podium, hitting the only 8:00 time of the field in 7:59.04. In fact, the nation beat teh field by over 9 seconds in their decisive victory.