There were familiar faces on the podium at the Natatorium on day five of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, as Russian duo Andrei Minakov and Daniil Markov celebrated a fifth medal each, and Australia’s Kaylee McKeown grabbed a gold, her fourth medal.
An exciting day of action in the pool started with Vietnam’s Huy Hoang Nguyen winning gold in the men’s 800m freestyle. Nguyen clocked an impressive time of 7.50.20, and finished 3.65 seconds ahead of Japan’s Keisuke Yoshida, in silver, and 5,61 seconds ahead of Italy’s Marco de Tullio.
Then came a remarkable showdown between Minakov and Markov in the men’s 50m butterfly, as well as red-hot Italian Thomas Ceccon, who had already won five medals, and Hungary’s world junior record holder Kristof Milak.
Minakov came out on top followed by Markov, who tied with Norway’s Tomoe Hvas to collect his second individual silver to add to his three gold medals.
The Russian competitors shared a bear hug during the victory ceremony, and afterwards both competitors admitted having help to deal with the intensity of the action.
“We had support from Russia, our team, our coaches, but it’s very challenging,” said Markov, who gave up his seventh seed in the men’s 100m freestyle semi-final on Thursday night to focus on the butterfly sprint.
“I just try to keep my mind out of swimming, thinking about something else. It really helps,” added Minakov. “I thought I would make the top three, but I didn’t know if gold, silver or bronze. The water charged us.”
Minakov said he had been working on the second 50m of his 100m butterfly and was impressed by his own results. “I made it almost a second faster than three months ago and I’m really happy with that.”
His second part of the 100 fly is very well - it’s awesome.Daniil MARKOV Russian Federation
Australia’s McKeown earned her first individual gold in the women’s 50m backstroke for her fourth medal overall in Buenos Aires. She clinched silver in the 100m backstroke and women’s 4x100m medley relay, and bronze in the 200m backstroke.
“It’s really not very often you get to experience a Youth Olympic Games, so to come here and be with Australians and cheer on my teammates is something spectacular that I’m just going to cherish for the rest of my life.” said McKeown.IOC/OIS
She beat Russia’s Daria Vaskina by just 0.10.
“It’s just about whoever swims best on the day,” McKeown said. “I mean I love swimming and it’s just been part of my life and I just take it day by day.”
In the last race of the day, Russia won gold in the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay final, finishing ahead of Brazil, who finished with a silver medal, and Japan bronze.