Tuesday, 16 August 2011

World Junior Swimming Championships Watchlist

It doesn't matter what sport you follow, there is always one constant. There is nothing quite like seeing new talent coming through. It is human nature to take one performance from a youngster and optimistically project their future development... which is hugely unfair on the kid, but also a lot of fun. We'll get a great chance to do just that during this week's World Junior Swimming Championships (it starts today Start List / Results).

A host of stars have emerged from the first two times this competition took place in 2008 and 2009: including Tyler Clary, Mireia Belmonte, Anastasia Zueva, Camille Muffat, Jemma Lowe, Luca Dotto, Danila Izotov, Elizabeth Pelton and Dagny Knutson.

World Junior Swimming Championships Watchlist

Matthew Johnson is arguably the brightest prospect to come from Britain on the men's side for a generation. He has completely rewritten the British Junior record books since the age of 13 and now gets a chance to challenge himself against the world's best juniors, albeit most of them being a year or two older than him. He is already ranked in the Top 10 in Britain for 400 IM (4:20.87, 7th) and 200 Fly (2:00.46, 9th).

• Australia's Bronte Campbell, USA's Lia Neal and Canada's Chantal Van Landeghem are split by just 0.2 on the girls 100 Free start list. Watch out particularly for Van Landeghem who blasted an incredible 53.76 relay split in Shanghai. Sidenote: How did Dutch swimming let someone with the name Van Landeghem slip from their grasp?

• There is no shortage of quality in the girls 800 Free. USA's Gillian Ryan has just been 8:27.64 at US Nationals, while Spain's Claudia Dasca has a best of 8:31.92 this year. Here's something to bear in mind - it took 8:28.75 to final in Shanghai. The race also features European Junior Champions past (Slovenia's Tjasa Oder) and present (Donata Kilijanska), as well as Australia's new distance hope Bonnie Macdonald.

• Spain's Judith Ignacio will be looking to get over Shanghai disappointment with a bounce back to form in the 200 Fly. Having been 2:07.87 at Spanish Nationals in April, she could only manage 2:10.48 in Shanghai (good enough for =19th). Hell hath no fury like a disappointed Spanish 200 Flyer.

• Germany's Christain Diener swept the Backstroke events at this year's European Junior Champs... and by some distance. In Lima he will come up against the new era of Backstrokers including USA's Ryan Murphy, Jack Conger and Jacob Pebley. They might all end up battling for a silver medal due to the presence of Japan's Back/IM supremo Kosuke Hagino.

• Back in May I fired up the Kanako Watanabe hype machine. Still ranked 3rd in the world in the 200 Breast with her 2:23.90, despite not making the Japanese team for Shanghai. If you are lucky enough to find a bookmakers taking bets on this event, put the house on Watanabe in the 200 Breast. I'm no expert on the mysterious art of breaststroke technique, but she looks good to me:

• This could turn into Japan's meet with top ranks from Hagino (boys 100 Back, 200 Back, 200 IM), Watanabe (girls 200 Breast - on best times, not the psych sheet) as well as Miyu Otsuka (girls 400 IM, 200 Fly), Fumiya Hidaka (boys 200 Free, 400 Free), Rino Hosoda (girls 100 Fly), Emu Higuchi (girls 200 IM) and Kenta Hirai (boys 200 Fly). Don't say I didn't warn you about Japan's new crop of youth.


  1. Never mind the Dutch, how did we Canadians let Missy Franklin get away from us....she's got dual citizenship!

  2. Good point. That one is going to sting even worse in approx. 350 days.

  3. Cameron Mcevoy from AUS, actually broke ian thorpe's AUS record in 100free as a 16yr old as our age nationals. Goes 1.50for the 200 as well in the middle of hard training!

  4. Juniors -up one year /down the next/out o'there soon after.