konkeew_1Румен-Атанасов1As you already know we spoke about the upcoming swimming events this year but I feel the need to tell you about one in particular. It will be the one that has the highest number of Bulgarian representatives so far. The Balkan swimming competition in Izvorani (Romania) will start at the end of April and the young swimmers with the best times will qualify for the World swimming championship in Singapore and the Olympic games in Rio 2016 age 15. Speaking of best times, my work regarding the rank list table World Swimming Age Group Top 15 2014 is going with full steam, the data for the boys born  between 1996-2003 is ready and so is the data for the girls born between 1998-2000. An astounding presence on our part, way to go kids! I doubt that would bring joy to anyone in the Bulgarian swimming sports federation, since every time some succeeds that reveals the painful truth for them that our swimming isn’t as bad as they want it to be, in fact its only getting better and stronger but let us resume the topic of the Balkan competition. In it will take part teenage boys born between 1997-1998 and girls born between 1999-2000. I can assure you that me any my friends Sasho Konkeev and Valyo Balkanski will be present at the event seating. The distance to go see the race for us is just one gas tank away to Bucharest, a small sacrifice to see something so important for us. in a previous article we spoke about our expectations and hopes, so this time let us compare them with the achievements of our competition.



Freestyle – we are hoping to see here Georgi Stoyanov, Stoichko Stoikov, Venelin Smukov, Georgi Georgiev, Arseni Beketov and Dimitar Atanasov. With them we can compose a reasonable relay in the freestyle and with the possible presence of Kaloyan Nikolov and Dimitar Manolov we can also make a decent medley relay. Our kids have the chance to take at least one medal in each distance and to take part in 4-5 finals (up to the 8th position or higher) and although we have representatives the competition has swimmers with better times and more endurance.

Romania has a phenomenal strong presence here with names like Robert Glinta, Gabriel Sonok, Bogdan Scarlat, Radu Duican, Bogdan Petre, Florin Coste and Mihai Nas. The chances for them to win 2-3 goldmendals and a dozen other are quite real.

Greece has a relatively weak generation of sprinters here and it really depends if their star Teodoros Benehoutsis will fly over the Indian Ocean from Melbourne to Bucharest to take part, but its very unlikely. Even so they are left with Dimitrios Dimitriou, Dimitros Negris, Atanasios Kinigakis and Mihail Javanas, who will in fact compete with Scarlat for the gold at 400m and 1500m. We are expecting at least two other medals for them and at the short distance only Georgios Harizis can have a say for a medal. I expect the Greeks to get a medal at 4x200m and to be out of the 4x100m race.

As always Turkey keeps the suspense by not revealing if they will send in their best youngsters like last year or the second (reserve) team, in my opinion they will in fact send the best and we will be able to see them in action. In Izvorani they will probably send Emre Sakchi, Ecem Gezmis, Altai Yonal and the fast paste Ozdjan Caan and Gyokhan Bozadjit. For them I predict a medal at 4x100m and a few other medals at 50 to 200m distances.

Serbia yet again has created a champion – Andrei Barna. This boy wonder is from the north parts of Serbia (city called Subotitca) and has Hungarian roots which means he may even compete for the Hungarian national team at the world series, but for now he is loyal to the Serbian flag, but just for now. He will most likely take a gold and a few other medals also an interesting swimmer is Matiya Pucharevic who will once again lead the sprint. However they are the only recognizable names on the Serbian team, everyone else after them have slim chances for even a final and presence at the relay events is mostly unthinkable.

The Cyprus team has one interesting name – Kiriakos- Andreas Papaadams. He trains in Greece and America and although he is an individual medley swimmer I wouldn’t be surprised if he jumps in at the 1500m for a gold medal. This was the case with Yakovos Hadjikonstantinou two years ago when he became a champion at the 1500m event out of thin air.




50m            – A.Barna(SRB), R.Glinta(ROM), E.Sakchi(TUR)

100m         – A.Barna(SRB), R.Glinta(ROM), E.Sakchi(TUR)

4x100m     – Romania, Turkey, Greece

200m         – A.Barna(SRB), D.Dimitriou(GRE), E.Gezmis(TUR)

4x200m     – Greece, Turkey, Romania

400m         – D.Dimitiou(GRE), D.Negris(GRE), B.Scarlat(ROM)

1500m       – D.Negris(GRE), A.Kinigakis(GRE), B.Scarlat(ROM)


Backstroke – a difficult style for our team, we have no chance for a medal and presence at the finals is problematic. Most likely we will see Vladimir Vladimirov, Dilyan Zhelyazkov and Bogomil Yakovchev. We will be witness to the strugle between Greece and Romania for the medals.

The Greeks will yet again throw another one of their stars Nikos Sofianidis along with Konstantinos Drigutis.

Romania will be counting on Robert Glinta who is among the top 15 in the world. To keep him company there is also Radu Duican, both of them live in France but they are training hard in Izvorani for the race.

Turkey has a few feasible swimmers for the 3rd place like Berk Yozkul, Elif Basher and Furkan Turan.

Serbia is feeling weak in this style after the departure of  Vuk Celic for the adult male team. Their best representative is Sekul Sekulovic and at the 200m distance they will also have Nikola Adzic



50m            – R.Glinta(ROM), N.Sofianidis(GRE), B.Yozkul(TUR)

100m         – R.Glinta(ROM), N.Sofianidis(GRE), B.Yozkul(TUR)

200m         – N.Sofianidis(GRE), R.Glinta(ROM), B.Yozkul(TUR)


Breaststroke – here we are the strongest. Ivan Gerov and Mateu Tcenkov work good together and we have the chanse to steal a couple of medals here and a gold. There is also Matei Rezashki who is eager to join the battle for the medals and maybe even replace one of the others.

Turkey will be represented by Kemal Kumkumoglu and Berk Ogreter, and at the 50m Emre Sakchi, he is very fast.

Greece has had problems finding a good breaststroker in the past few years but now they are counting on Konstantinos Meretsolias and Georgios Franudakis and possibly Hristos Muzas.

Serbia is traditionally represented by a strong swimmer, this time it is Kristian Lakatos, he has Hungarian roots as well and hails from the city of Voevodina.

Romania will have little to show here with only Adrian Bria who is only taking part in the medley relay.

Interesting is the presence of Ilias Tomazou from Cyprus.



50m            – E.Sakchi(TUR), M.Tcenkov(BUL), K.Simic(SRB)

100m         – G.Franudakis(GRE), E.Kumkumoglu(TUR), M.Tcenkov(BUL)

200m         – E.Kumkumoglu(TUR), K.Meretsolias(GRE), K.Lakatos(SRB)


Butterfly – we have quite a few difficulties in this event but we will be counting on Kaloyan Nikolov, Georgi Georgiev and possibly Lubomir Borisov. Our chances for a medal are slim and getting to the finals will be lucky.

The Turkish team is very formidable with 4 competitors with equal times and skill, it won’t be a surprise if they take 5 medals two them being gold. They will be betting on Taha Adabeke, Ozdjan Caan, Berk Yozkul and Batuhan Yildiz.

The Greeks are also serious pretender for the titles with Hristos Papadopulos, Atanasios Kinigakis and Georgios Harizis in the sprint.

Serbia will throw in Matia Pucarevic and Romania will send Robert Glinta in the sprint and Paul Pavala in the 200m distance.

I anticipate with great interest the performance of Takis Papadopulos from Cyprus, he used to be in the top 5 in the world when he was younger (11-13) but after a downfall he is condidered only a mediocre at best.



50m            – B.Yildiz(TUR), B.Yozkul(TUR) G.Harizis(GRE)

100m         – E.Gezmis(TUR), M.Pucarevic(SRB), H.Papadopulos(GRE)

200m         – O.Caan(TUR), T.Adibeke(TUR), A.Kinigakis(GRE)


Medley – 3 years ago Nikola Dimitrov won the first gold medal for Bulgaria after a period of no medals for us at the race in Krushevatc. Now is Kaloyan Nikolovs’ turn to do the same but only in the 400m distance. His chances are good considering the other competitors. He will be accompanied by Dimitar Manolov in the event.

Turkey has 3 strong swimmers here, Furkan Turan, Saamet Alkan and Eup Tashpinar. They will likely take medals and possibly gold.

Their direct competitors will be Fotios Kurgias from Greece and Radu Duican and Bogdan Petre from Romania. The interesting factor here is Kiriakos Andrea Papaadams from Cyprus. This lad has an Anglo-Saxon heritage and trains in the United Kingdom, it would be a delight if he steals the medal in the 400m distance from under the nose of the Turks.



200m         – F.Turan(TUR), S.Alkan(TUR), K.Meretsolias(GRE)

400m         – S.Alkan(TUR), F.Kurgias(GRE), K.Nikolov(BUL)

4x100m     – Turkey has the most all around even team (B.Yozkul, K.Kumkumoglu, E.Gezmis and E.Sakchi), after them Greece (N.Sofianidis, G.Franudakis, H.Karelos and G.Harizis), and third Serbia (S.Sekulovic, K.Lakatos, M.Pucarevic and A.Barna). Romania has a weak breaststroke and we are lacking backstroke and freestyle.


I would like to note that I have left a few last words for the several „IF“, that we accumulated so far.

If Teodoros Benehoutsis flies over from Australia then the medal table turns in favour of Greece. He will definitely take the gold at 200m freestyle and will increase the Greek time in the relay by 30% for two possible gold medals.

If Turkey send in their, reserve, second team then their medal table will drop in half (50%) leaving more medals for Greece and Romania.

Finally if Robert Glinta does go to all 5 individual medley and 3 medley relay events he will most likely take the 200m gold. If he doesn’t sink in the firs 50m he will drown the others with his other 3 strong styles.

Regarding our little heroes, me and Sasho Konkeev think they will bring back 2-3 or a couple medals from the breaststroke and the medley but for a gold I am unsure …


By Rumen Atanasov and Alexander Konkeev


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