Which World Juniors Have A Serious Shot At Rio 2016 On The Trail Of Tokyo 2020?

Spot the pace-setters: world junior trail-blazers of 2015 [main image, Minna Atherton, courtesy of swimming Australia]

Viktoria Gunes was the obvious choice when it came to noting the names of those likely to follow world junior success with a shot at the Olympic podium next year. Who else could be joining her on a flightpath down to Rio next year after six swift days in Singapore?

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Viktoria Gunes was the obvious choice when it came to noting the names of those likely to follow world junior success with a shot at the Olympic podium next year. Who else could be joining her on a flightpath down to Rio next year after six swift days in Singapore?



If you’re going to have relays as allowed criteria for Swimmer of the Meet, then you really have to have some sort of mechanism that can both award relay split excellence and not penalize the Kirsty Coventry types who pretty much are their country’s entire elite swimming population. Not sure how often, if ever, Zimbabwe even enters a women’s relay into a global meet prelims.

Which suggests allowing some sort of subjective criteria back into the mix.

Craig Lord

beachmouse, yes, I believe that the way I have it speaks to what you suggest: solo events have the far greater weighting, with 10 points for a win, much less for a relay win – a reflection of relay splits would also be useful, as you suggest.

I understand what you mean about KC and perhaps some form of split recognition could be made but in general that thought works the other way round, too: why should swimmer X and his/her nation be penalised for having a great swim program – or are we to encourage nations to get weaker and shed their swimming culture a little so as not to be unfair to the rest? When the likes of France and Britain stand up in relays it isn’t because they’ve got the numbers that go through the USA program, nor the advantages of geography and history (sport) of Australia… it is because they focussed on such things, spent money, time, research and put other resources into the program as a whole… I can’t see why such commitment should not be recognised just because some other nations can’t put a decent 4x200m free quartet together.

Michael Phelps’ tallies are what they are in part because of relays – yet those relays are a plus in the count not something to discard because he swims for the most successful nation in the water.

V Gunes won the girl’s award with no relays – yes, she needed a 4th gold to do so – and that speaks well to your point.

Even so, I don’t call objective something that counts solo 1st to 4th and ignores every other achievement, relays, relay world records etc. Seems to me that’s a form of subjective, too – inevitably, there will always be a touch of subjective in it if you want the general feel of folk to be reflected in the vote. From what I’ve seen, a great many folk think Sun Yang was the wrong choice and, for reasons that deviate from those in Kazan, many cannot see how MA is a good reflection of the best male performance of the meet in Singapore. Clearly, his overall efforts were not the most outstanding, nor the most attention-grabbing nor the best in terms of junior waters nor the best in terms of how it converts to senior waters. At no level was he the best male of the meet; he was the best 50 backstroke speedster of the meet.


Either Chalmers and Chupkov is the finest candidates for the male swimmer of the meet title, but I have to give the tip to Chalmers. For a 17 yo, it is more difficult to swim competitive times in sprint free events than in 100/200 breast.

Craig Lord

There are several arguments in favour of both men having the edge but the edge seemed too close to call for me. Beyond that, aswimfan, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was biased against Russians (which I’m not – I just think that nation has a specific problem in general with bad culture among old coaches and and others close to sports schools and team programs who seem to think doping is a prerequisite to success, which it is not; I’d say the same about certain quarters of track and field in US and many other places – quarters of cycling in general etc etc).


Mr. Kyle Chalmers had very good and consistent performances in both Kazan and Singapore. An interesting possibility for him, though perhaps not for Rio, is to focus also on the 100m butterfly. Australia has been having problems in (among others) 100m male butterfly, specially in the medley relay. I remember Mr. Chalmers had a mean 50m butterfly last year at Australian selection trials. Perhaps with focused training he could help Australia improve its chances in the medley relay. The hope, of course, is that he could be a more consistent freestyle/butterfly sprinter than Mr. D’Orsogna.


For, with regards to Chalmers & fly, he DID NOT enter any fly events at 2015 Nationals so I think that any foray in that direction may be post Rio with sole focus being upon FS.

Hadler, the possessor of a LESS distinguished international record than D’Orsogna swam the fly leg in the Kazan final but put out a time that was slower than that swam in the heats by Morgan who is primarily a 200 swimmer. Clearly that selection was brought on by the coaches/selectors making an estimation of D’O’s relay reliability.

Looking at the semis & finals fields at 2015 Nationals AND the performances at Junior Worlds, there certainly does not appear to be any Messiah on the horizon/coming through the system so it MAY, indeed, require some sort of manufactured fix in the medium term.

Craig Lord

Kyle C did a 53.14 at Age nationals… quite a way from where he’d need to be … not to say he can’t, of course … but his freestyle is much more cutting edge…

paolo rubbiani

Ok, I agree with Craig’s opinion and his choices made considering races won and medals gained (and I’ve indicated Chalmers as strongest male swimmers of the meeting), but I think that for a junior’s meeting his also interesting try to examine swimmers performances in perspective.

So, I think that particularly Hugo Gonzalez (and also Cesar Castro’s swims in 800 and 1500 free to mention) has had breakthrough swims with great PBs in 400 im and 200 back for a swimmer in his 16th year of age, showing a very good tecnique.

Chalmers and Chupkov were well-known swimmers already at the beginning of these Junior Champs, because they both were in Kazan and had great PBs.
Gonzalez’s gold in 200 back in 1.58.11 (previous PB 2.00.59) or bronze in 400 im in 4.18,14 (previous PB 4.22.23) have been much more unexpected performances, so I like to point out his name, like, among girls, that of Taylor Ruck, because who would have thought her swimming 1.56.71 that 200 free-relay split and 53.92 in the 100 free?


There’s a whole raft of 52sec swimmers and 2-3 who can swim sub52 to make a team …… but never when it counts in international competition.

Chalmers could certainly make a foray into fly but I can’t see it until after Rio.

Craig Lord

I agree (and have noted) with the Gonzalez mention, Paolo… just that the times don’t yet stack up as others do and the next two seasons will tell us more about where he’s going …

find it hard to talk too much about breakouts, when dealing with Juniors… they’re all breakouts 🙂 and progressing and growing at different rates…


Have to agree, Craig. Some WERE straight out of age-group events at domestic level whereas at the other end of the scale you had a handful or so who had senior international exposure at World level. However, many from the stronger countries have been competing concurrently in Open competition domestically alongside their age-group events for a few years; many at National Trials level.

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