Gunnar Bentz, Becca Mann are Golden at FINA World Junior Championships
DUBAI – Highlighted by a gold medal and championship-record swim from Gunnar Bentz (Atlanta, Ga.) in the men’s 400m individual medley and a victory by Becca Mann (Homer Glen, Ill.) in the women’s 1500m free, the United States claimed five total medals Friday on day five of the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships at the Hamdan Sports Complex.
Through five days of swimming, Team USA has captured 23 medals at World Juniors – seven gold, seven silver and nine bronze. Competition runs through Saturday with evening sessions slated for 10 a.m. Eastern.
In addition to Bentz and Mann’s gold medals, Team USA also earned bronze medals from Clara Smiddy (Miami, Fla.) in the women’s 50m back and Isabella Rongione (McLean, Va.) in the women’s 1500m free. The women’s 400m free relay team also won bronze.
In the men’s 400m IM, Bentz won gold and broke the championship record, finishing in 4:14.97. In the process, he completed a sweep of the gold medals in the 200m and 400m IM events at World Juniors. Russia’s Semen Makovich placed second in 4:15.89, and Japan’s Keita Sunama won bronze in 4:17.67. Team USA’s Jay Litherland (Alpharetta, Ga.) came in sixth in 4:19.64.
After winning silver earlier this week in the 400m IM and 800m free, Mann touched first in 16:23.89 to win gold in the women’s 1500m free. Rongione earned the bronze in 16:35.28. Linda Caponi of Italy took silver, finishing in 16:33.62.
In the closely contested women’s 50m back, Smiddy won bronze in 28.86, while Kathleen Baker (Winston-Salem, N.C.) finished fourth in 28.88. Garbrielle Fa'Amausili of New Zealand finished first in 28.64, and Russia’s Daria Ustinova took second in 28.71.
The women’s 400m free relay team claimed bronze, touching in 3:43.04. Cierra Runge (Cochranville, Pa.) led off the relay, followed by Kathryn McLaughlin (Dana Point, Calif.), Alexandra Meyers (Fox Point, Wis.) and Mimi Schneider (Western Springs, Ill.). Russia’s team took the gold, breaking the championship record in 3:41:40, and Australia earned silver in 3:43.03.
In other finals, Justin Lynch (Vallejo, Calif.) and Matthew Josa (Fort Mill, S.C.) placed fifth and sixth in the men’s 50m fly finishing in 24.11 and 24.13, respectively.
In addition to Friday’s finals, semifinal races were held in a number of events with the top eight qualifiers advancing to Saturday’s finals. In the women’s 100m fly, Courtney Weaver (Davison, Mich.) qualified fourth in 1:00.04, and McLaughlin qualified seventh in 1:00.67. In the women’s 50m free, Team USA’s Abbigail Weitzeil (Saugus, Calif.) tied for the fourth-fastest qualifying time in 25.56, while McLaughlin finished 15th in 26.48. Carsten Vissering (Bethesda, Md.) qualified for tomorrow’s final in the men’s 50m breast semifinals, with the sixth-fastest time of 28.37.
In the men’s 100m free Caeleb Dressel (Glen Cove Springs, Fla.) qualified first in 49.57, while Paul Powers (Clermont, Ga.) finished in a three-way tie for eighth in 50.37. Powers touched second in the subsequent swim-off, just missing the final in 50.18.
Complete event results are available online.
Men’s competitors at the FINA World Junior Championships must be between the ages of 15-18 as of Dec. 31, 2013, while women’s swimmers must be between 14-17 years old as of Dec. 31, 2013. For complete information on the 2013 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, please visit fina.org.