Viktoria Gunes Takes 4th Gold in 2:19.6 WJR; Kyle Chalmers 48.47 CR – Australia Win Meet

Viktoria Zeynep Gunes - four golds and a stunning WJR - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Eleven finals to farewell Singapore. A big moment unfold in the second curtain-closing final: Viktoria Gunes (TUR) established herself not only as the girl and swimmer of the meet with a 2:19.64 World Junior Record victory in the 200m breaststroke for her fourth solo title of the week but the time makes her a candidate for Olympic gold at Rio 2016 next year

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Eleven finals to farewell Singapore. A big moment unfold in the second curtain-closing final: Viktoria Gunes (TUR) established herself not only as the girl and swimmer of the meet with a 2:19.64 World Junior Record victory in the 200m breaststroke for her fourth solo title of the week but the time makes her a candidate for Olympic gold at Rio 2016 next year

Comments

Eugene

2:19?! OMG. I am Ukrainian and that makes me a bit sad 🙁 Good look to Victoria in Rio though.

Eugene

*luck

aswimfan

Gunes will out-watanabe Watanabe in Rio: medaling in both 200 breast/IM

These two girls are so similar: crazy fast in 200 breast at 13/14 yo, continued their development curve in 200 breast while crashing in 200 IM, and getting faster in 100 breast.

aswimfan

Ok, I am making a very early prediction: Gunes will win 200 gold in Rio.

aswimfan

^ obviously in 200 breast

commonwombat

An extraordinary swim by Gunes ! My one cautionary note to our colleagues predicting gold in Rio is that it is straight heats to finals here whereas there’s the extra round at senior Worlds & in Rio.

This performance must, undoubtedly, put her in the frame but DO take note of her performances in Kazan. She was outstanding in the heats in both 100 & 200 but, in both events, failed to replicate in semis & didn’t make finals.

felix

Ok I will say she won’t win it…Magnussen has his work cut out for an individual swim in Rio. Have to think Chalmers will be close to 48.0 fresh at trials and Mag will have a very limited race prep.

commonwombat

I’m a tad more cautious, Felix. We have some front-liners, but not many, who are generally fast “in season”. I’ll be watching how Chalmers is tracking through the AUS championships season before making any time predictions.

Ger

Swim of the meet for Gunes….outstanding. Chalmers was holding something back it seems and a days rest was no harm either; a definite threat for an individual spot in Rio. Rooney too, would appear to have a strong chance of making the relay squad in both the 100 and 200 free (possibly even ind. spot?).

Craig Lord

Note I say a candidate and agree that caution is wise, given that the form guide has a long year ahead… as for Kazan, her semis efforts might have been deliberate… the target ahead of her.

Danjohnrob

Great coverage overall of the World Junior Meet, Mr Lord! I’m annoyed I couldn’t watch it live, because the clips I’ve seen suggest this was a fast, excitingly competitive, fun event! Now I have to live through withdrawal symptoms…

Ger

Michael Andrew gets swimmer of the meet?
And thus invents a new stroke (of luck). No disrespect to him, but it just goes to show, again, that the selection method needs “re-wiring.”

aswimfan

The swims at both Kazan and Singapore by Chalmers are mature swims given his age, especially so because he’s just turned 17.

It’s nice to see having followed his development for several years and been hoping he turns into a real deal.

commonwombat

Largely agree, ASW, although I’ll be closely tracking his results during the AUS summer/autumn championships season before making any reasoned calls as regards his prospects.

He also had a close shave with his changeover in the medley relay. There was no reason for him to take a flyer as he was in clear water in 3rd & not the faintest hope of catching 2nd. One hopes the message registers !!

paolo rubbiani

I think that is pleasant reading every youth swimming-meet in perspective (sorry Commonwombat for this hazardous previews..) and so I will prize 3 different categories: swimmers of the meet, strongest swimmers of the meets and my favourite swimmers of the meet

1) Taylor Ruck (2000) among women and Hugo Gonzalez (1999) are the swimmers of the meet, because they had the most unexpected performances and also very promising performances for their future. Ruck is a “cristallo di Boemia” considering her physical structure (so slim and she’s become very tall in a few months) but, if “handled with care”, could become an incredible 100-200 free-styler.
Hugo Gonzalez swims very well backstroke but also the medleys, and he has finished this meeting in great progression with gold in 200 back and the best lead-off (54.81) in 4×100 medley.

2) The strongest swimmers of the meet are Victoria Gunes (Solnceva) (1998) among women and Kyle Chalmers (1998) among men.
Gunes had that fantastic performance in 200 breaststroke, after already 3 PBs in 50, 100 breaststroke and 200 im.
Chalmers has been capable to swim a PB in 100 free (48.47) after a long season, and to win 50 free as well.

3) My favourite swimmers of the meet are Rikako Ikee (2000) among women and Maxime Rooney (1998) among men.
Ikee is small-sized but with great technique and the ability to swim her best performances in the finals (she won 50 and 100 fly, second in 50 free and fourth in 100 free). I think that she’ll improve also in next year, northeless many japanese swimmers have an early development.
Maxime Rooney is a blessing for Usa’s relays already for next year.
First under-49″ (48.87) today in 100 free and a 200 split of 1.46.55 (with 0.52 at the start). Solid improvements every year for a solid young man.

And, obviously, Michael Andrew is the best 50-specialist swimmer of the meeting.
For the prizes above we have to expect a wiser schedule of races from him.

paolo rubbiani

Ah..I forgot to mention Minna Atherton, and I award her as special swimmer of the meet.

Today she has swum 59.61 in the lead-.off of the medley relay. Other great performance.

She’s incredibly talented in backstroke and, already next year in my preview, she’ll be ready for an incredible challenge: a spot in a backstroke individual race for Rio2016.

Sceptical Commonwombat? See you here in the early months of 2016, for aussie trials..

commonwombat

With regards to Atherton, Paolo, if she were most any other swimming nationality at this point; I would readily agree that she’s a very strong candidate for Olympic selection.

Problems for her are:

1. She still needs to drop at min 0.5sec/possibly a second to be in the mix with Seebohm & Wilson in the 100. Seebohm has matured from the flaky performer of London & before into a formidably consistent 100swimmer and has to be considered the top of the tree in this event at this time. Wilson proved in Kazan that she can perform in the big time. They’re not going to hand over a Rio swim easily.

2. The 200 is even tougher. Hocking is back in the water & competing (swam at US Nats) and she’s been a regular 2.06. Seebohm may seems to be getting better in this event. Wilson will have been peeved at missing this event in Kazan & it would not surprise to see her around 2.06/2.07. Atherton is currently at 2.09low. She’s probably needing to drop 2sec min to be even a chance of fighting it out.

3. Whilst she’s been a massive improver, she certainly can’t count on Seebohm & Wilson just staying where they are. Both could conceivably drop lower in either or both distances.

Whilst it’s certainly possible for her to qualify for Rio; she’s got an enormous task ahead of her. I WILL agree that tracking the form of the top 3-4 AUS female back-strokers leading into AUS Trials will be very interesting.

commonwombat

The Furry Curmudgeon’s Awards for the meet

Swimmer of the Meet: Gunes. Whilst there were a smattering of performances which have some senior “international significance”, her 200BRS was on a level a number of tiers above anyone else.

High Distinctions: (F) Taylor Ruck, Minna Atherton, Rikako Ikee, Tamsin Cook. (M) Anton Chupkov, Maxime Rooney, Kyle Chalmers (Criteria being the merits of their performances in “Real World”/senior international terms in Olympic events)

Best relay nations: AUS 6 medals (3G/2S/1B) from 6 Olympic relays; Total 8 medals (3G/4S1B) from 8 relays. RUS 5 medals (2G/1S/2B) from 6 Olympic relays. Total 7 medals (3G/1S/3B) from 8 relays

Major Concerns per Nation:
USA – failure of ANY female relay to medal. No signs here of any Messiahs on the female sprint FS front.
AUS – chronic weaknesses in WBRS/MFLY/IM both genders in senior ranks very much mirrored here in juniors.
GBR – pleasing medal tally but very shallow with only 3 medalists.
BRA – some promising prelim & semis performances but probably less pleasing “conversion rate” in finals.

The WTF Swimmers Schedules Award: has to go to “Team Human Headline” for Michael Andrew’s incomprehensible race schedule. “Honourable Mention” to AUS with Tamsin Cook skipping the 200fs.

The Much Ado About Not Very Much: No; NOT the Human Headline but Reece Whitley. Almost as much hype as for MA but realistically a looong way from being “ready for prime-time over either 100 or 200BRS.

Craig Lord

Agree with Gunes and the high distinction – relays always interesting for the moment and a touch for what’s to come. A thought on Nations, commonwombat: success may well be taken as significant to what follows at some level and some swimmers in particular; but fairly insignificant the other end of the scale in my view. USA: Phelps, Ledecky, etc, never raced as ‘juniors’, so it only takes a real head-of-curver to show up to change the picture radically come the deep end. Some nations have folk back home who will show up in senior waters doing significant stuff but they weren’t in Singapore.

DDias

commonwombat,
Brazil had his best world junior champs, ever.
Even the girls, was really good(for Brazil standards). In most girls relays, Brazil was one swimmer short to be “big”, like 4x200free(2:01,2:00,2:02 and 2:07!). In other champs, it was one good name and that’s all.The good:The best one, Rafaela Raurich is only 14(8th in 200free final), and there is some new names coming to light.

beachmouse

Vollmer and Beisel also went straight onto USA senior international rosters at age 13.

It used to be that once you made a senior international squad, you were seen as having ‘aged out’ of American juniors, but there seems to have been a shift with that to some degree since Sierra Schmidt did Pan Ams and then went to junior worlds.

commonwombat

Craig, I completely agree with your further comments. There are those, especially in the major swimming nations but point still relevant elsewhere, who may still be eligible for “age competition” but who have already converted to the top levels in senior competition.

Olympic Trials always throw up their “bolters” .. of any age. In many cases, this proves to be the one “golden” meet of their careers where they hit a level never attained before or again but a few DO go on & perform in the big time.

There were very many highly creditable performances at this meet and they should be lauded as such but the prism through which I graded them was that of “real word”/senior “relevance.

I’ve tried not to put any national slant on these or any other assessments. “Class” in ANY field of endeavour is often very difficult to define but to paraphrase a former US Supreme Court justice “you know it when you see it”. Furthermore, it transcends all boundaries whether they be language, nationality or race.

paolo rubbiani

In the medal table lacks a bronze for China, because I remember in the first race of the meeting, the men 400 free, two chinese swimmers behind the winner Shoults for Usa.
I think Qiu was third.

Personal Best

That 2:19 is ridiculously impressive.
It’s not necessarily too surprising that a ‘junior’ swam that time – after all, there are many examples of juniors swimming to golds in senior meets and some setting WRs.

The time though points to someone who is the real deal.

Kyle Chalmers breaks into the Aussie all time top 10… bumping Ian Thorpe out. He’s now almost as fast as the senior relay team mates.

aswimfan

Michael Andrew winning male swimmer of the meet title is the biggest joke since….. Sun Yang winning it in Kazan.

I would have given it to Chalmers for his two Olympics events golds with fastest ever times for 17 yo and relays swims.

gheko

I do not think it is too far fetched to consider Minna a spot for Rio, she trains with Emily Seebohm, and Madi Wilson last year had not broken the minute for 100m back, and Minna will also drop time, could be swimming 58 high also next year!

DDias

gheko,
incredible will be 3 swimmers in 58 range and one of them will not go to Rio…

aswimfan,
his 100 is fastest ever, but it is his 50 too?Sedov don’t have something like 22.0 at 17?

felix

Michael Andrew didn’t win a real event. Massive joke. Chalmers and Chupkov equally as impressive for me. But they really don’t mean a lot, so many of these impressive juniors particularly the Russians don’t go on to do anything of note in the senior events. I’m quite amazed that the USA even with the team they had did not have 1 quality female sprint freestyler. Britain very solid in the 200+ distances, good signs of a nation continuing to head in the right direction. In regards to comments regarding Fa’amasuili I will be very surprised if she ever makes an Olympic team, her physique will hinder her ability to be a world class 100 swimmer, regardless of how good Polianski is (and he clearly is good, building a very good team over the past 15 years) there are absolutely 50m specialists. Gichard looks the goods, now can the coaching staff in NZ take her to a world class open swimmer…..they have failed miserably with all the other NZ juniors who have medaled at world level. And the legacy of Duncan Laing and his influence on swimming NZ has unfortunately faded all too quickly.

Danjohnrob

@commonwombat: I agree with most of your assessments of this meet and the athletes who performed well, but I think it’s worth remembering these athletes are still KIDS! Andrew is 16, Whitley is 15; they’re not old enough to drive or vote for God’s sake! They may not have even finished growing in height, nevermind filled out their frames with muscle! Neither may ever achieve international greatness, but let’s cut them and the rest of these hard-working young people who have excited and entertained us for the last 6 days a little slack and be respectful of their efforts at LEAST until they qualify for their first SENIOR international team! How many people can say they won individual World Junior Championship medals or a FINA Swimmer of the Meet award in their entire lives? They have nothing to feel ashamed about!

@aswimfan: As far as MA not deserving his award, as long as the selection criteria were decided and published in advance, the selection is fair! Maybe it was MA’s goal to win that award all along? If so, he did a great job, and his decision to swim so many events is justified! It sounds like more of a “high-point” award than Swimmer of the Meet, I agree, but FINA does things its own way. Ridiculing the accomplishment of a 16 year old boy because you don’t agree with FINA’s rules is immature and in very poor taste, in my opinion!

This is a public forum! I assume the people commenting here are adults. I suggest that we act like adults and exercise a little restraint with regard to these young people. I happen to know that many of these athletes and their families read these articles and may read your comments, so keep that in mind.

Garry COx

Bravo Danjohnrob- people are writing off 15 and 16 year olds- kids that have more talent and dedication to the sport in their little fingers than I have in my whole 50 year old body!
Lets hope they prove the doubters wrong and go on to great things! If not they have had a great chance to shine on the world stage.
Off to book my tickets for the womens backstroke at the Aussie trials….among others!

beachmouse

Junior success often has a fairly relevant correlation with earlier puberty. It sometimes seems that at these kinds of meets, making it to that level while still looking rather like a child than like an adult is a signal that there’s more going on with an athlete than just hitting their final growth spurt early.

Michael Phelps in Sydney had a certain boy competing against grown men to him, a scary sign for others that someone could make an Olympic final and seem to still have some growth and development yet to come. In contrast, Andrew and Whitley seem much more physically developed at 15.

gheko

Kyle Chalmers managed to step up again in Singapore and will take home a total of seven medals, including three gold, three silver and one bronze from this meet – great job!

commonwombat

Fair points, Mouse.

Gheko, we cannot know at this point that Atherton WILL break 59sec next year. She may but we can never predict anyone’s future trajectory with any certainty, let alone someone at that age. Progress is rarely even or regular.

Dan; I point no personal animus towards Michael Andrew or Reece Whitley. In an overwhelming majority of cases, the conduct & demeanour of the people in question bear zero resemblance to that of their cheersquads.

My barbs are therefore at the grossly OTT hype generated on US based sites/sources who sought to portray this meet as their due “coronations” and affirmations of them as “wonders of the world”.

And, yes, we on the other side of the world know “over hyping” of junior prematurely anointed “Next Thorpey”/”Next Susie” etc. I’ve lost count of the media reports we would see/read of some junior breaking “X/Y/Z’s” age records ….. and then 12-18months later they may be out of the sport completely.

I DO hope that they continue to progress & find success but the evidence of their performances tell the tale that the hype generated around them is far in advance of their current “real world” status.

Re the MA “Male Swimmer of the Meet”; the criteria for the awarding of this title clearly explain how & why he won & that cannot be debated.

What is very much open to debate is whether the system in place is actually rewarding the most industrious swimmer rather than those who have delivered the most outstanding performances ?

I’m struggling to recall any performance by MA that could be classified as “internationally significant” whereas the likes of Chupkov, Chalmers & Rooney each delivered a number of these. We can probably name others.

Craig Lord

Danjohnrob, of course no one should ridicule anyone’s achievements – and I know you mean well. I don’t think ridiculing the swimmer was what folk are doing here. Here we have another example of FINA causing schism in the sport, causing argument where argument could, with sound thought and care, have easily been avoided: clearly MA was NOT the male swimmer of the meet … he wouldn’t even make my top 5, with some of his own teammates more ‘deserving’. FINA and its stupidity are likely to do far more damage to the 16-year-old – whose trophy is not quite pyrrhic but could well turn into such a thing – than any comments here. Beyond that, we have to note that although this swimmer is indeed 16, he is ‘pro’, in purely U.S. terminology, and is backed by sponsors and others with decent financial packages. There are parts of his journey in the control of others that suggest folly at play. That may not be the boy’s fault but he is the name in the frame. I hope it goes well for MA and I hope he enjoys his days as a swimmer. Those around him have held him up as a headline that, right now, he is simply not.

aswimfan

DanJohnRob,

You seem to have had difficulty in understanding what I wrote.
Please read Roy’s comment above for my “male swimmer of meet is biggest joke” comment.

aswimfan

DanJohnRob,.
Also please read Craig Lord’s comment above for more elaborate explanation of what many of us here mean by “male swimmer title joke”.
It’s mostly not a reflection of Andrew or his achievements so you can relax…

Danjohnrob

I want to clarify that I am not defending FINA’s “Swimmer of the Meet” award, which I personally think should be retitled “World Jr Championships High Point Award” or should have its selection criteria overhauled. I’m just saying that Michael Andrew won it objectively according to the rules rather than subjectively by getting votes from FINA representatives, so it is not “a joke”! Go ahead and call FINA or the rules it endorses a joke, but I think you walk a fine line when commenting about a minor child, online or otherwise, between acceptable and rude.

I think the anonymity of online forums like this make people feel uninhibited and say things they wouldn’t say if their identity was known. I’m suggesting that if you wouldn’t walk up to a 15 year old boy and say something to him, then maybe you shouldn’t write it about him here. I have literally heard Reese Whitley say that he obsessively checks swimming fan sites like this throughout the day! I would counsel him not to read the comments, but who can tell a 15 year old what to do… I have also (multiple times) encountered instances of family members of swimmers people have trashed in comment sections like this roused to defending their loved ones. The swimming community is pretty small in the great scheme of things and these kids and their families are swimming fans like us!

Craig Lord

Yes, Danjohnrob – all the more reason for them all to ask their federations to ask the federation who oversees them all, one ring to rule them all, to GET IT RIGHT. Nothing will change too fast or in the right direction unless the system changes (including being completely replaced)

aswimfan

I didn’t say Michael Andrew is a joke, I am saying Michael Andrew declared “mae swimmer of the meet” is a joke. He totally deserves the award of course.

But I (and I am sure countless others) have totally different understanding of “swimmer of the meet”, and hence the joke part.

aswimfan

A few weeks ago I said Sun Yang declared male swimmer of the meet is a joke. I cannot say any other way about Michael Andrew getting the same title just because he is an american and Yang is a chinese. That would be hypocritical of me.

Craig Lord

Yes, it would, aswimfan. I think your argument is consistent. I can well understand why there is upset when the achievements of any 16-year-old appear to be undermined… but what undermines them is not criticism of a system but the very system that causes schism and argument when no such thing need be part of it. Debate we can expect but argument on obvious points is something FINA ought to take account of and do something about.

Danjohnrob

Let the record show that I made no reference to the nationality or race of any swimmer being discussed here because I think the worldwide character of our sport has it perfectly clear that athletes from every corner of the globe can reach the top of the podium.

My argument has only to do with the age of the swimmer being discussed. After age 18, or maybe once an individual qualifies for their nation’s senior team, I suppose the “kid gloves” can come off; although I still believe it is possible to criticize an athletes actions or words rather than the athlete him/herself. If one is criticizing FINA, rather than an athlete competing at a FINA competition, I think there is a way to phrase a comment accordingly.

Craig Lord

Language is important, thanks for your note, Danjohnrob. English not the native one for many of our readers … and you’re right to note that nationality makes no difference to the ability to achieve (I hadn’t read anything you wrote as suggesting otherwise); it is the circumstance surrounding events that often sets things apart – and sometimes the young swimmer does indeed get caught in the crossfire. I feel sure that no-one here has intended their comments to be a criticism of MA when it comes to the FINA award – the giver is at fault not the receiver.

Danjohnrob

Mr. Lord: By the way, I think your description of MA’s award as a “Pyrrhic honor” was extremely apt, and I agree with your repeated assessment that he would benefit from a little less hype and little more time to develop as an athlete. Believe it or not, I’m not much of a Michael Andrew fan, I just think people can be much too harsh in their assessment of young athletes like him. Thank you for moderating this discussion!

Craig Lord

Thanks Danjohnrob, I think it right to think about the athlete, esp. teens … I wish those pulling strings would do that to – not only with care but with more intelligence, as taking a wider view often requires.

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