16-year-old Eneli Jefimova wins swimming gold for Estonia in Sweden
16-year-old Eneli Jefimova took gold in the women's 100m breaststroke at the Stockholm Swim Open this weekend. With a swim of 1 minute 06.36 seconds, Jefimova also set a new Estonian record and met the World Aquatics 'A' standard needed to qualify for this summer's World Championships in the process.
Eneli Jefimova took gold for Estonia with a time of 1 minute 06.36 seconds ahead of Sweden's Sophie Hansson in second (1 minute 06.85 seconds) and Ida Hulkko of Finland in third (1 minute 08.32 seconds).
"I am really happy with this swim and especially with the first 50 meters. I started with small strokes in a very good time. I have never swum so fast with such small strokes before. I'm very happy with it," said Jefimova.
With her win in Stockholm, Jefimova beat her own Estonian national record for the women's 100 meters breaststroke, which had stood since she swam 1 minute 06.47 seconds at the European Junior Championships in Budapest two years ago.
"I'm even happier about this one, because I made a lot of attempts to beat it, and have come within a hundredth and three hundredths of a second (before)," said Jefimova.
"It makes me very happy and shows that I am still capable of improving. These two years have been a bit tough for me, but now I'm back in the game!"
Jefimova also took silver in the 200m breaststroke in Sweden on Saturday.
"The morning was a bit of a disappointment for both of us. We were expecting a faster time first thing in the morning, so then we had a bit of a serious chat. But you could see that she drew her own conclusions, pulled herself together really well and was definitely ready to swim to this standard," said Jefimova's coach Henry Hein.
"It's really good to see how, even as a young athlete, she can make the most of these finals and tense situations."
Asked about Jefimova's final swim, Hein said it had all gone according to plan. "Everything clicked, (it was) exactly the number of strokes we wanted to swim now. And based on that, I knew she would come back and swim beautifully," said Hein. "She's both started and finished faster, but I'd say this was the most complete 100 meters she's swum."
With Jefimova now ranked eighth place in the world for the season, preparations will begin for the big events to come in the summer.
"We will now fly to Turkey for two weeks for a (training) camp, where the new cycle begins, and then it's the summer competitions - the European Junior Championships and after that, the World Championships. The main focus now will be on the adult World Championships," said Hein.
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Editor: Michael Cole