The final night of racing at the World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships delivered six two-time world junior champions as the United States of America’s Maximus Williamson, Canada’s Alexanne Lepage, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zheltiakov, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Lana Pudar, Turkiye’s Kuzey Tuncelli and Australia’s Olivia Wunsch all won their second individual gold medal of Netanya 2023.
Men’s 100m Freestyle | A star is born – USA’s Maximus Williamson
The United States of America’s Maximus Williamson (48.45) has secured an unprecedented world championships double by winning the final of the Men’s 100m Freestyle to add to his Men’s 200m Individual Medley gold medal earlier in the week. No male swimmer at a senior or junior World Aquatics Championships has ever won both events at the one championships and the 17-year-old is definitely one of the breakout stars here in Netanya.
“I’m so happy, never in a million years I thought I would be here,” said Williamson in his post-race interview.
“I always have fun racing and it’s always an honour.”
Italian sprint powerhouse Lorenzo Ballarati (49.05) won silver from lane eight, while Australian
Edward Sommerville (49.53) secured his first individual medal of the championships with bronze.
Women's 200m Breaststroke | Canada’s Alexanne Lepage wins breaststroke double
Canada may have found their breaststroker. Tonight in Netanya Alexanne Lepage (2:24.70) delivered another come-from-behind win, this time in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke as she powered home in a 36.88 to move from second to first over the final fifty.
“I’m so excited I love representing Canada,” Lepage told World Aquatics after her race.
Men’s 200m Backstroke | Zheltiakov’s inspirational second gold in Netanya
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zheltiakov (1:56.13) is now a two time world junior champion taking out the Men’s 200m Backstroke on the final night of racing in Israel. The 17 year-old broke away from the field with a ‘sub 30’ final lap to touch ahead of the United States of America’s Daniel Diehl (1:58.93) and Italy’s Christian Bacico (1:59.33).
“I feel so great, it’s so hard to prepare for a world championships in September, but I had to do it for my last World Junior Championships and it took all of me,” said Zheltiakov in his post-race interview.
Zheltiakov, who has persevered though well documented challenges with his training facility over the past eighteen months, now returns home to Ukraine as world junior champion in both the Men’s 100m Backstroke and Men’s 200m Backstroke
Women’s 100m Butterfly | A determined Pudar finishes junior career as dual world champion
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Lana Pudar (57.77) closed out the Women’s 100m Butterfly with one of the grittiest final laps here in Netanya to get her hands on the wall first ahead of the United States of America’s Leah Shackley (58.29) and defending champion Japan’s Mizuki Hirai (58.35).
“I really wanted it after I came second in the 50m Butterfly,” Pudar told World Aquatics.
“I wanted to get my gold medal back and I really gave it my all. It really hurt and I’m so happy I achieved it.”
Pudar has been making history for her nation since her international career started at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and she returns back home with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first two world junior titles and as just the second female swimmer ever to claim the 100m-200m Butterfly double at a world junior championships.
Men's 1500m Freestyle | Turkiye’s Kuzey Tuncelli now two-time world junior champion
Turkiye’s Kuzey Tuncelli celebrated his sixteenth birthday on day one of the meet and it looks like the presents have kept coming this week for the breakout Turkish star.
After delivering an upset of sorts in the Men’s 800m Freestyle on night three, this evening Tuncelli switched up to his preferred distance in the Men’s 1500m Freestyle and delivered a twelve second win over the field touching in 14:59.80.
“Thank you to everyone it is so incredible to race and I am so happy right now,” Tuncelli told World Aquatics in his post-race interview.
While Tuncelli took the lead at the 150m mark and extended the margin on every turn, the real race was with the clock after the Republic of Korea’s Kim Junwoo (15:01.94) swam a thirty second personal best in this morning’s slowest heats. Being a junior world championships swimmers only complete one 1500m swim, and while the fastest eight swimmers race off in the night session, the gold medal is won with the fastest time across all heats.
Tuncelli did just enough to become the first male swimmer from Turkiye to win two junior world titles, with Kim second, and the People’s Republic of China’s Zhang Zhanshao (15:13.00) third.
Women's 50m Freestyle | Wunsch the green & gold’s new golden girl
Olivia Wunsch is Australia’s new golden girl. The 17-year-old has become just the second female swimmer from Australia to win the Women’s 50m Freestyle at a World Junior Swimming Championships after Bronte Campbell’s win in Lima in 2011.
Wunsch clocked another career-best time and equalled the Championship Record with a 24.59. The United States of America’s Annam Olasewere (24.95) equalled her career-best time from the semi finals to take silver, while Australian Hannah Casey (25.07) took bronze from lane two.
Wunsch has been one of the breakout stars here in Netanya winning gold in the 50m Freestyle, gold in the 100m Freestyle, and gold in all three of Australia’s world junior championships winning relays.
Men's 200m Butterfly | Wang Xizhe claims China’s first gold medal
The People’s Republic of China’s Wang Xizhe (1:56.22) has won the country’s first gold medal in Netanya with a stunning final split of 28.94. Wang was fourth at the final turn and then powered past leader Petar Mitsin and the United States of America’s Drew Hitchcock. Mitsin (1:56.73) managed to hold on for silver while Hitchcock dropped out of the placings.
Italy’s Alessandro Ragaini (1:57.79) delivered the only other ‘sub 30’ final lap to move from sixth place on the final turn to third at the wall.
Men's 50m Breaststroke | Indonesia’s first world champion - Felix Viktor Iberle
Indonesia has a world champion with international newcomer Felix Viktor Iberle (27.39) taking out the Men’s 50m Breaststroke final.
Iberle is a recent phenomenon having only broken onto the world scene over the past four months. He is Indonesia’s only swimmer at these championships, is in town for just one event, and has had to wait until the final night of racing to get his shot at gold.
After breaking the Championship Record in the heats and going just 0.01 outside the World Junior Record, Iberle touched in 27.39 in tonight ahead of Denmark’s Jonas Gaur (27.55) and the United States of America’s Watson Nguyen (27.85).
Iberle’s gold is Indonesia’s first medal of any colour at a junior or senior World Swimming Championships.
Women's 200m Freestyle | Worth the wait – Sauickie wins first individual gold on night six
The final individual race of the ninth edition of the World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships delivered the closest result of the week with the United States of America’s Addison Sauickie (1:58.09) touching out Julie Brousseau (1:58.10) by just one one-hundredth of a second, with bronze medallist Leah Hayes (1:58.19) just a tenth of a second further behind.
“I could tell it was really close and I do have trouble seeing on one side,” Sauickie told the Netanya crowd.
“I just kept telling myself I want this so bad. I could tell it was a really tight race and I just tried to bring it home as best I could.”
Israel’s Daria Golovaty (1:59.92) delivered the home nation’s best result of the championships placing sixth.
Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay | USA complete men’s relay clean sweep
The United States of America (3:35.98) has won their fifteenth gold medal in Netanya with Daniel Diehl, Joshua Chen, Jacob Wimberly and Maximus Williamson making a clean sweep for Team USA in the male relay events.
Italy (3:38.00) delivered their best relay result of the championships to win silver, while the People’s Republic of China (3:39.81) came from last after the first two relay legs to snatch the bronze medal from Japan (3:39.94) and Australia (3:40.07).
The United States of America’s Jacob Wimberly, who was elevated to his first finals swim of the meet after three preliminary swims, told World Aquatics he was grateful to be part of a finals session on the last day of racing.
“It’s amazing - I can’t give enough thanks for this team,” said Wimberly.
“Swimming for the US means so much; they all trusted me and gave me the opportunity.”
Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay | Australia take final gold medal of ninth world junior champs
Australia has taken out the forty-second and final gold medal of Netanya 2023 after a drama-filled final event that saw the United States of America and New Zealand disqualified for relay changeover violations.
The Australian team of Jaclyn Barclay, Hayley Mackinder, Isabella Boyd and Olivia Wunsch touched second in 4:00.86 but were elevated to first, with Canada (4:01.96) winning silver and Italy (4:03.34) bronze.