Estonian swimmer Jefimova wins three golds at European Junior Championships

Eneli Jefimova with her trainer, Henry Hein.
Eneli Jefimova with her trainer, Henry Hein. Source: Estonian Swimming Association

15-year-old Estonian swimmer Eneli Jefimova won three gold medals in a near flawless performance at this year's European Junior Swimming Championships in Bucharest.

Jefimova completed her hat-trick of golds on Sunday, winning  the 100-meter breaststroke final in a time of 1 minute 6.50 seconds, 2.3 seconds ahead of her nearest rival and just three hundredths of a second off the Estonian national record.

Earlier in the competition, Jefimova also took first place in both the women's 50 and 200 meter breaststroke, setting an Estonian national record in the latter, adding to the 100m gold she won in the 2021 European Junior Championships in Rome.

"Everything went as expected," Jefimova's coach Henry Hein told ERR. "Especially in the 50 and 100 meters, where we knew that if Benedetta Pilato was not there, [Jefimova] would have no more competitors in Europe at the moment. In the 200, Eneli was actually fourth in Europe in the juniors this season, there was nothing easy there, last year's champion was there and in good form. There was a lot of tension in the air and, in the end, the win by one hundredth (of a second), shows that the levels were much more even."

Jefimova's focus now turns to the senior European Aquatics Championships, which take place in Rome in next month.

"At the moment you can see that she stayed in good shape after the World Championships, everything was top notch during the one-week break. Now we have a month left, we will take two days off, then train for ten days in Estonia and, after that, fly to Slovakia for a (training) camp," said Hein.

"The main goal is to reach the final, and anything is possible in the final, especially as the European Championships in Rome will be held in an outdoor pool. The results might not be good in terms of speed, but it's how many times you put your hand against the wall that counts."

According to online swimming magazine 'Swim Swam', Jefimova dedicated her victory in the 100m breaststroke to her grandfather, whose birthday was the day before the final. "I couldn't be with him, because I'm here, so I thought this gold would be a nice present," she said.

The European Championships in Rome start on August 11.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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