Greek Swimmer Papastamos Breaks World Junior Record; Izaak Bastian, Gaby Banks Post Highest Finishes On Day Five Of The 7th FINA World Junior Championships

By Sharon Robb

BUDAPEST, Hungary, August 24, 2019—Apostolos Papastamos of Greece broke the world junior and championship records in the 400-meter individual medley on Day Five of the 7th FINA World Junior Championships Saturday at state-of-the-art Duna Arena.

Papastamos dominated the field and dropped eight seconds from his prelim time to win in 4:11.93. It was also a Greek national record breaking the previous mark of 4:14.41.

The U.S. won its first gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay in 3:37.61 with Gretchen Walsh, Torri Huske, Grace Cooper and Amy Tang. The time was just a second-and-a-half off the world junior and championship record.

Other individual winners:

Aussie teenager Lani Pallister, 17, won the 1500-meter freestyle in a championship record 15:58.86. She won the mile by 16 seconds and completed her hat trick after also winning the 400- and 800-meter freestyles.

Italian Thomas Ceccon won his second gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly in 23.27 just ahead of Russian Andrei Minakov in 23.29.

Australia won its second gold of the night with Bronte Job in the 50-meter backstroke in 27.87. Jade Hannah of Canada and Daria Vaskina of Russia tied for the silver in 27.91.

Florida Gold Coast past and present swimmers:

7. Izaak Bastian, Bahamas, St. Andrew’s, Florida State, 50-meter breaststroke, 28.25/semifinals, 9. 28.39, reserve.

19. Jamaica, women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay, 4:00.09, Zaneta Alvaranga, Sabrina Lyn, Gaby Banks, Emily MacDonald.

35. Gaby Banks, Jamaica, Cypress Bay/SOFLO, 50-meter freestyle, 26.87.

78. Luis Bucaro, Guatemala, Cypress Bay/TS Aquatics, 100-meter freestyle, 54.59.

86. Nicolas Vale, Jamaica, Pine Crest Swimming, 100-meter freestyle, 55.40.

“My swims this meet haven’t been great, but I have learned a lot from Junior Worlds, seeing all these fast people swim and all these fast times and how difficult it is to make it to semi-finals and finals,” Vale said.

“It definitely motivates me more to train harder and work more on my details and my techniques and based on what I have learned from the faster swimmers, there are details in my stroke that I can work on.

Around 800 young promising swimmers ages between 15-17 (women) 14-18 (men) are competing in the six-day competition, which has produced many of today’s swimming stars.

A total of 125 National Federations are represented at Duna Arena, the venue that staged the 17th FINA World Championships in July 2017 and has been the background to many FINA high-profile competitions since then such as the FINA Champions Swim Series and Swimming World Cup.

Daily heat sessions are at 9:30 a.m while semifinals and finals are at 5:30 p.m. The championships end Sunday.

All sessions are being live streamed on FINAtv and daily news reports will be available on FINA website. Results are available immediately after each event on FINA website and on FINA mobile app.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS NOTEBOOK, Issue Five: Greek Wins Men’s Open Water Gold, American Meyer Fourth

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS NOTEBOOK, Issue Five: Greek Wins Men’s Open Water Gold, Ameican Meyer Fourth

July 20, 2011


Spyridon (Spyros) Gianniotis of Greece will be making his fourth appearance at the Summer Olympic Games next year in London.

The 31-year-old won the men’s 10K open water gold medal Wednesday at the XIV FINA World Aquatic Championships at Jinshan Beach in Shanghai.

Gianniotis overtook Britain’s Daniel Fogg at the 1200-meter mark and defending champion Thomas Lurz, 31, of Germany in the final 100 meters and won the sprint to the finish line to finish in 1 hour, 54 minutes and 24.7 seconds, just 2 ½ seconds ahead of Lurz, defending world champion and most decorated men’s open water swimmer.

Russian Sergey Bolshakov took the bronze.

American Alex Meyer of Ithaca, N.Y. finished fourth just 8.4 seconds (1:54.33) behind Gianniotis and qualified for an Olympic berth. He is the first U.S. swimmer to qualify for London 2012.

“Alex swam smart, tough like a champion,” said Harvard coach Tim Murphy, who served as head open water coach. “His success is much deserved, he has trained very well over the past year to lead up to this. Alex’s next goal is to win a medal in London.”

The moment was bittersweet for Meyer, good friends with Fran Crippen, who tragically died last October at a FINA-sanctioned 10K open water event in United Arab Emirates where safety was an issue. U.S. teammate Sean Ryan finished25th in 1:55.35.

“My main goal coming here was to make the Olympic team,” Meyer said. “It’s kind of a bittersweet moment because Fran Crippen is not here. That was a dream we shared to go to the Olympics together and it’s not going to happen now.”

Fogg, borrowing a page from Brit teammate Keri-Ann Payne, the women’s 10K winner who led from the beginning, led the field of 67 swimmers for more than 8 kilometers. Gianniotis’ strategy was to race a strong 7.5K and then turn it on in the final stretch.

“I raced a strong 7.5K and then endured the hell of the last 2.5K,” Gianniotis said. “I am a guy who waits and keeps his mind focused and maintains my strength. For me, the best tactic is to keep my energy for the sprint. It can’t be a sprint for 10,000 meters but sometimes it feels like it is.”

Gianniotis, a former pool swimmer, was 20 when he competed in the 400-meter and 1500-meter freestyle events at the 2000 Sydney Games. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens he was fifth in the 1500 and seventh in the 400 in his home country. At the 2008 Beijing Games, he competed again in the 400 and 1500 but admitted had his sights set on open water swimming.

“The older you get the better you are able to compete and to keep your mind focused,” Gianniotis said. “This is hard to do when you are younger.”

Gianniotis admitted he felt uncomfortable for the first 6K because of the water temperature. He was also frustrated with the close physical contact of the other swimmers.

“I was frustrated with the elbows and the contact while debating with myself, I can, I cannot, I can. But when I picked up the pace at the 8K I just felt stronger and I was eager to qualify for London. It was very hard for me but now I have my first gold medal in a FINA World Championship.”

The remaining Top 10 finishers were Australia’s Ky Hurst, Spain’s Francisco Hervas Jodar, Belgium’s Brian Ryckeman, France’s Julien Sauvage, Russia’s Vladimir Dyatchin and Germany’s Andreas Waschburger.

The remaining 15 Olympic spots will be filled at the 2012 Olympic 10K swim qualifier in Portugal June 9-10. One of the 15 will be reserved for an athlete from the Olympic host country.

The 5K open water team event will be held on Thursday.


University of Miami grad Brittany Viola finished 12th in the women’s platform semifinals to earn the U.S. its first spot in next year’s Olympics. She finished with 294.25 points to earn the last qualifying spot in the final. The top 12 finishers earn Olympic spots for their countries. The women’s platform finals are Thursday.

“Coach told me it was extremely close and I had no control over it,” Viola said. “I had given it everything I had and it was God’s will at that point. I was going to be satisfied no matter what place I got because I was happy with my performance. I had so much fun out there. It was amazing when I saw I was 12th. It’s a time to celebrate where I’m at with my diving.”

Synchronized swimming

Russian legend Natalia Ishchenko put up an unbeatable score of 98.550 points in the solo free competition to win the gold medal and her 14th

world title. Spain’s Andrea Fuentes took the silver with 96.520 in her first solo performance. Wenyan Sun of China took the bronze with 95.840.

Water polo

The U.S. men’s water polo team was dealt another blow with an 8-5 loss to Italy while world champion Serbia moved another step closer to the quarterfinals with a 12-5 rout of Romania. Dusko Pijetlovic scored four goals and Vanja Udovicic added three goals for Serbia. Brian Alexander led the U.S. with two goals. The Americans are 0-2 in pool play. In other games, Croatia beat Canada, 11-4; Japan beat Brazil, 13-11; Germany routed South Africa, 16-8; Montenegro edged Spain, 9-7; Hungary beat Kazakhstan, 16-4; and Australia beat China, 12-7.

Brazilian Pleads Doping Case

Brazilian Olympic and world champion Cesar Cielo pleaded his case on Wednesday before a special assembly of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to avoid a doping ban that could not only keep him out of the world championships but the Olympics as well. The 24-year-old and three other teammates tested positive for the diuretic Furosemide but received only a warning from the Brazilian swimming federation. FINA challenged the warning and now Cielo could be suspended up to two years. A ruling is expected no later than Friday. 

Sharon Robb can be reached at