BALCAN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS -2015 -IZVORANI-ROMANIA-by RUMEN ATANASOV AND ALEXANDER KONKEEV


Румен-Атанасов1konkeew_1Traditionally for nearly two decades female swimming competitions are less mass spread and bigger on participants. There is no point here for fortunetelling. There are several girls born in the years 1999 and 2000 that have the opportunity to be invited to the national team. However the maturity of these fair maidens comes at a much earlier age than that of boys and life pumps strong in their veins presenting them with the allure of life. Be it friends, fashion, boys, a fairy tale about an underground life or school they spin the head of these grown up kids making them say a hasty „Goodbye“ to swimming. The strongest of them will just have to keep walking down the road they have chosen with even more burdens.

Ten girls will prepare for the Balkans Swimming Competition at the city of Izvorani, out of them most will travel to there. Bulgaria finally won its first golden medal   at that event 3 years ago, after many years of oblivion, thanks to a young female swimmer who I shall not name because she asked me, to my surprise. This time I will comply with that. After that followed two consecutive years of victories and 6 gold medals from the phenomenal Georgia Kadoglu, Gabriela Georgieva, Boyana Tomova and the medley relay. The challenge is looking right at us because on one side we don’t have many representatives and on another the competition is extremely strong. With countries like Serbia, Turkey, Greece, Moldova and even Montenegro bringing their strongest champions the stakes are really high, with the exception of the „unfortunate“ Romanians who sadly could not bring forth a feasible representative. Here our dear friend Alex Konkeev would confirm this saying with a deep sigh „Oh my, oh my Rumka, Rumka“.

 

Free style – just like our situation the situation here isn’t looking bright, the only noticeable name you can see here is that of Diana Petkova from Plovdiv and possibly if they make it the names of Sofiya Naidenova and Daria Markova from the capitol of Sofia. At the long distances we will be represented by Konstantina Petkova.

The Serbian team has names like Anya Crevar, Jovana Djuric, Jelena Jetcanski and Vanya Murtin, they form the 4 x 200m team which by far is very strong, however at the sprint they lack impressive times.

The Greeks are counting on Despina Markade to regain their positions as dominants in short distances, keeping her company are Filio Raitopulou and Georgia Pavlopulou. In the middle and long range distances they have Evangelia Kukulia, Paraskevi Kritikou and Afrodita Katziara who are not to be underestimated.

The Turkish team is strongest at short distances where they have Sezun Eligul, Betul Gungogdu and Zeineb Odabashi other than them the only one that can be mentioned by name is Sezal Ai.

Romania like mentioned above will be humble with only Christina Schnaider and Stefania Dospin as known names.

 

Predictions:

50m   – D. Markade (GRE), B.Gungogdu (TUR), S.Eligul (TUR)

100m – D.Markade (GRE), B.Gungogdu (TUR), Z.Odabashi (TUR)

200m – A.Crevar (SRB), Z.Odabasha (TUR), P.Kritikou (GRE)

400m – A.Tcrevar (SRB), I.Djurich (SRB), P.Kritiku (GRE)

800m – I.Djurich (SRB), P.Kritiku (GRE), E.Kukula (GRE)

 

Backstroke – Here lies our greatest question, will our Boyana Tomova, from V. Turnovo, be able to get the gold for us after the 3 silver medals from Larisa 2014. With her is also Bozhidara Kodinova from Plovdiv. Together they will face a strong competition from the other teams.

Greece will be counting on their champion from last year Joana Saha, fortunately she doesn’t like the sprinting. Along with her are also Olga Dala and Despina Markade.

Turkey have several contenders for the title here – the sprinter Sezul Eligul, Zeineb Bairamcheli and their new star Eker Lizan.

Moldova will be represented by Alexandra Degtyaryova who lives in Tiraspol and trains in Odesa.

Romania and Serbia have a few representatives here but none of them really stand out, except maybe Ielena Ietcanski, personally I wouldn’t be surprised if Kseniya Milutinovic (Montenegro) takes the gold at 50m from the reaching hands of everyone else.

 

Predictions:

50m   – B.Tomova (BUL), S.Eligul (TUR), K.Milotinovic (MNE)

100m – I.Saha (GRE), O.Dala (GRE), BTomova (BUL)

200m – I.Saha (GRE), O.Dala (GRE), B.Lizan (TUR)

 

Breaststroke – the girls representing Bulgaria are Venilina Mihneva and Ilina Yozova. The two are from Sofia and Veliko Turnovo, they both have the chance to be at all 3 finals, getting the medal is a bit more complicated however. That is because we don’t know if the kind wonder Beste Samanci (TUR) would be taking part in the competition. She shocked the world 2 years ago with her gold medals at the World Swimming Age Group 2013. She keeps going strong as show by last years results, however her coach seems to be an odd bird. He takes her himself to races without others, strives away from the national team and he has a temper but even so he is an excellent specialist at what he does. So the question is if he will let to run here or save her for the Baku  and Singapore events. Turkey will also bet on Djeren Kutlu and Yuksel Deniz.

Moldova has been preparing their star Alexandra Vinchenko at Moscow, the Tiraspolian has been preparing to be the next wonder at Singapore and Baku. I wish to see if the Moscow academy training will help her against Samandja and her talent at the 200m for the gold.

Greece will offer us Anastasiya Sirigou, who just recovered, and Eleni Kodogyorgu.

Serbia are counting on Mila Medic and Sara Peichic in the fight for the medals and considering that Romania is bringing forward their strongest asset Elena Yonasku the race will be thrilling.

 

Predictions:

50m   – B.Samanci (TUR), A.Vinichenko (MDA), M.Medic (SRB)

100m – B.Samanci (TUR), A.Vinichenko (MDA), M.Medic (SRB)

200m – B.Samanci (TUR), A.Sirigou (GRE), A.Vinichenko (MDA)

 

Butterfly – after the disappointment at Larisa 2014 of our representative we will yet again have no real presence in this discipline. Only Diana Petkova will attempt to enter the finals quota at 50m and 100m but it will look like an impossible task for her. The other teams have been very well prepared and eager to fight for the gold medals.

The Greeks have their star Elektra-Varvara Lebl, who only appeared last year and in a flash of lightning took the gold at 50m and 100m, she is considered the prime contestant for the gold here as well. Supporting her, also for Greece, are Xanti Mitzakou and Paraskevi Hadzipavlaki.

Serbia revealed they will send in Vanya Murtin and also for the 200m Anya Crevar.

Turkey counts on the strong performances of Sezal Eligul and Bashak Azman for the 50m and the 100m dash.

Romania will be present with Christina Schnaider and Sabrina Skarlatesku but talking about medals for them is slim at best.

 

Predictions:

50m   – EV.Lebl (GRE), S.Eligul (TUR), Z.Sertyuk (TUR)

100m – EV.Lebl (GRE), S.Eligul (TUR), X.Mitzakou (GRE)

200m – A.Crevar (SRB), V.Murtin (SRB), X.Mitzakou (GRE)

 

Individual Medley – There is no more Georgia Kadoglu for us here, since she moved to the higher age group. You can say that at best we will get a 6th place here by either Diana Petkova or Venelina Mihneva because the competition here is merciless.

Greece will send Elektra-Varvara Lebl and Joana Saha, Serbia will send the phenomenal Anya Tcrevar  and Ielena Ietcanski and Turkey will send the tireless  Sezal Elingul, Bashak Azman and Asude Kopuz. However, their plans for the gold may be foiled by the presence of Kseniya Milutinovic from Montenegro and Alexandra Vinichenko from Moldova.

 

Predictions:

200m – A.Crevar (SRB), EV.Lebl (GRE), J.Saha (GRE)

400m – A.Crevar (SRB), EV.Lebl (GRE), J.Jecanski (SRB)

 

Medley relay 4x100m – the medal allocation here is a complete mystery and your guess is as good as mine. Most stands the Greek team with Saha, Sirigou, Lebl and Markade for the gold. The Turkish team is not far behind with Samanci, Lizan, Eligul and Gyungogdu and ofcourse Serbia will count on Jecanski, Medic, Murtin and Crevar. Out representatives, Tomova, Yizova, Mihneva and Petkova, will just have to fight for the 4th place with the Romanian team lead by  Kolti-Dumitresku, Jonasku, Dospin and Schnaider.

 

by Rumen Atanasov and Alexander Konkeev.

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