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6th FINA World Junior Swimming ChampionshipsAugust 23 - 28, 2017
Day one finals of the 6th FINA World Junior Championships from the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis are in the books. There were a lot of great races and moments Wednesday night, but here are our top five.
At the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, host country Hungary shocked by jumping on the podium for bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay with a 3:11.99 behind Brazil (silver) and the United States (gold). A huge contribution in that relay came from 17 year-old Nándor Németh on the second leg with a blazing 48.04 split. Németh has continued his hot streak, leading the Hungarians to gold Wednesday night in the same event with a 48.24 split -- the fastest by far in the field. Kristoff Milak -- the World Championship silver medalist in the 100m butterfly -- was also on the gold-medal winning relay leading off with a 49.08.
1.) 17 Year-Old Hungarian Nándor Németh Drops 48.24 Split
2.) Italian Nicolò Martinenghi Smashes 100m Breast WJR With 59.01The recently turned 18 year-old Italian has been on a warpath in 2017. Nicolò Martinenghi popped a 59.01 in semifinals of the 100m breaststroke -- 1.32 seconds ahead of second seeds Reece Whitley (1:00.33) and Michael Andrew (1:00.33). That time for the Italian breaks his own World Junior Record of 59.33 set in prelims of the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest last month. If Martinenghi can sneak into the 58-second barrier Thursday night, he will firmly solidify himself as a medal favorite in Tokyo.
In the first semifinal heat of the 100m backstroke, Canadian Taylor Ruck threw down a monster 59.28 -- good for a new World Junior Record and a time that would have placed sixth in the same event in Budapest last month. Regan Smith of the United States -- who placed 8th in the 200m back in Budapest -- showed she had some speed as well with a 59.41 in the second semifinal. Ruck and Smith are poised for a battle Thursday night and could potentially sneak under 59.
3.) Taylor Ruck & Regan Smith Post 59-Second 100m Backstrokes
The 2016 co-Olympic Champion in the 100m freestyle -- Penny Oleksiak of Canada -- teamed up with a trio of other Canadian stars to dominate the women's 4x200m freestyle relay. Oleksiak threw down a 1:56.86 on the second leg to blow the lead wide open. With a quick turnaround from the 100m back, Taylor Ruck anchored the relay in 1:56.94, propelling the Canadian squad to gold in 7:51.47 -- over five seconds under the previous World Junior Record. Astonishingly enough, that time is four seconds faster than Canada's time from the World Championships.
4.) Penny Oleksiak Leads Canada To Relay Gold
The brightest spot for the American team was Andrew Abruzzo and his gold-medal performance of 3:49.19 in the 400m freestyle. Abruzzo sat fifth at the 200m mark, but dropped a pair of 28's and 27 on the last three 50's to catapult himself into the lead. That was the lone victory for the United States on the night. Abruzzo was in a good position to make the World Championship team in the 1500m freestyle at the U.S. Nationals in June -- sitting in the top two for most of the race -- but was unable to maintain his pace and faded to fourth. Wednesday night's swim was a fantastic follow-up performance and builds momentum for Team USA.
5.) American Andrew Abruzzo Takes 400m Free In 3:49.19