Fifteen-year-old Israeli swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko, Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov, and Kristof Milak of Hungary were the stars of the show as the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games action got under way at the Natatorium on Sunday.
Victorious in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay the day before, Kolesnikov powered to the 100m backstroke gold in a time of 53.26, with Romania’s Daniel Cristian Martin and Italy’s Thomas Ceccon completing the podium. The young Russian is the only world record holder competing at Buenos Aires 2018, having set a new best of 24 seconds dead in the 50m backstroke at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow in August.
Milak picked up his second medal of the YOG in the 200m freestyle, topping the podium in a time of 1:47.73, with Sweden’s Robin Hanson taking the silver and Israel’s Denis Loktev the bronze. Milak also won 400m freestyle gold on the opening day of the Buenos Aires 2018 swimming competition.
Delighted with his country’s second swimming medal of the YOG, after Anastasia Gorbenko’s gold in the women’s 200m individual medley 24 hours earlier, Loktev said: “After watching Anastasia win last night I felt hungry and excited. I’m very proud because we are a small country. We have some very good youngsters coming through.”
Also delighted to be on the podium was Denis Petrashov of Kyrgyzstan, who took silver behind China’s Sun Jiajun in the 100m breaststroke, with Japan Taku Taniguchi coming home third. The 18-year-old Petrashov, who also represented his country at Rio 2016, said: “There aren’t many swimmers in my country, and I just came here on my own with my team-mate. I’m very happy. I get a lot of support back home and that’s part of the reason why I won the medal.”
In the day’s other men’s final, Italy’s Ceccon collected his second medal of the day, a silver behind Tomoe Zenimoto Hvas of Norway in the 200m individual medley. Finlay Knox won Canada’s first swimming medal of the YOG behind them.
There was more gold medal joy for Hungary in the first of the day’s four women’s finals, as Blanka Berecz took the honours in the 200m butterfly in a time of 2:10.37. Dune Coetzee of South Africa finished over a second behind in silver and Michaela Ryan of Australia collected the bronze.
Agnė Šeleikaitė of Lithuania secured her country’s first medal of Buenos Aires 2018 with victory in the 50m breaststroke. Her time of 31.37 gave her gold by 0.05 seconds from Chelsea Hodges of Australia, with Tina Čelik of Slovenia a further 0.33 seconds back in third.
Daria Vaskina picked up another swimming gold for Russia in the 100m backstroke, clocking a time of 1:00.45 to beat Australia’s Kaylee McKeown to the touch. Rhyan White of the USA won the bronze.
The final gold of the day went to China in the 4×100m medley relay. The quartet of Peng Xuwei, Zheng Muyan, Lin Xintong and Yang Junxuan touched home in a time of 4:05.18 to edge out an Australian four featuring McKeown, Hodges, Ryan and Abbey Webb. Vaskina collected her second medal of the day as Russia took the bronze. She was joined on the third step of the podium by Anastasia Makarova, Polina Egorova and Elizaveta Klevanovich.