Future stars smash junior records in Ontario to round out successful 2023

Some of Great Britain’s future swimming stars rounded out their 2023 by breaking a number of junior records in Canada for the Ontario Junior International (OJI).

The OJI is an 18 and under junior meet which provides one of the last short course racing opportunities of the year.

The event has featured the likes of Freya Anderson, Imogen Clark and Matt Richards in the past, as well as a number of other top athletes that have gone on to represent the nation.

This year’s contingent featured a number of Swim England’s Youth Performance Squad members as the British team gained vital international experience ahead of an exciting 2024, which includes the European Junior Swimming Championships in July.

The group flew out early last week and after acclimatising to the time difference, they were prepared to dive straight into the action on Thursday for four days of competition at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

In 2022, Great Britain came away with an incredible 36 medals from the competition, but they managed to better that total with 45 this time around.

Amongst the medal success were world, European and British junior record breaking times as the GB squad continued their fine form.

The standout from a number of big swims was the Mixed 4x50m Freestyle Relay team of Jacob Mills, Skye Carter, Nick Finch and Eva Okaro going inside the world junior record time to win gold on the opening night.

The quartet set a time of 1:31.23, which was more than four seconds quicker than their nearest challengers, in a stunning performance from the British group.

It was one of seven relay events throughout the competition in which GB took to the podium in all seven – winning five.

It was a clean sweep in the women’s relays, with both Carter and Okaro also being a part of the gold medal winning 4x100m Freestyle with Sophie Davies and Theodora Taylor.

Okaro then won gold in the 4x100m Mixed Medley squad which set a new European junior record time.

Taylor, Evie Dilley and Pheobe Cooper joined Okaro to set a 4:02.05 that was three seconds clear of the University of Calgary Swim Club.

Basildon and Phoenix’s Carter also found success in the 4x200m Freestyle winning team with Cooper, Evie Dilley and Davies.

The pair were then separated by just 0.01 in the individual Women’s 50m Freestyle final.

It was Carter who came out on top with a 24.80 to win gold, but it was Okaro who broke the British junior record in the event after her time of 24.77 in the heats.

Blocksidge breaks two of her own British bests

Amelie Blocksidge ended the calendar year by breaking both of her own British junior records in the Women’s 1500m and 800m Freestyle events.

The Swim England Talent Athlete of the Year set a 15:48.49 in the 1500m event, which was a new record for the OJI event and just two seconds off the British senior record.

The 14-year-old led a British one-two ahead of Lucy Fox, who also took bronze in the 800m and gold in the Women’s 200m Butterfly final.

Blocksidge was the only swimmer to go under 16 minutes at the event and is one of only a small collective of female British swimmers to have beaten the mark.

She later added the 800m crown, finishing 10 seconds faster than her nearest opponent to set a time of 8:19.85.

Jersey swimmer Filip Nowacki also had an impressive four days in Canada.

He won three individual golds with a breaststroke hat-trick in the 50m, 100m and 200m events. Charlotte Bianchi swam well in the women’s breaststroke events, taking the title in the 200m final.

Nowacki’s time in the 100m Breaststroke was a new national junior record – sneaking under the one-minute barrier for the first time in his career with a 59.81.

And Team England’s Commonwealth Youth Games star, Finch, also came away with individual success with a medal of each colour.

He came away with the Men’s 100m Butterfly gold, 50m Butterfly bronze and 50m Freestyle silver.

You can find all the results from the OJI event here and you can see all the British medalists below.

Images – British Swimming

Great Britain’s Ontario Junior International 2023 medalists

Day one

  • Silver – David Annis – Men’s 200m Individual Medley
  • Bronze – Edward Marcal Whittles – Men’s 200m Individual Medley
  • Gold – Amelie Blocksidge – Women’s 1500m Freestyle
  • Silver – Lucy Fox – Women’s 1500m Freestyle
  • Bronze – Luke McGee – Men’s 800m Freestyle
  • Gold – Jacob Mills, Skye Carter, Nick Finch and Eva Okaro – Mixed 4x50m Freestyle

Day two

  • Gold – Theodora Taylor – Women’s 100m Breaststroke
  • Gold – Filip Nowacki – Men’s 100m Breaststroke
  • Bronze – Amelie Blocksidge – Women’s 400m Individual Medley
  • Silver – David Annis – Men’s 400m Individual Medley
  • Bronze – Edward Marcal Whittles – Men’s 400m Individual Medley
  • Gold – Nick Finch – Men’s 100m Butterfly
  • Silver – Dean Fearn – Men’s 50m Backstroke
  • Gold – Phoebe Cooper, Evie Dilley, Sophie Davies and Skye Carter – Women’s 4x200m Freestyle
  • Gold – Evan Davidson, Jacob Mills, Luke Hornsey and David Annis – Men’s 4x200m Freestyle

Day three

  • Gold – Skye Carter – Women’s 50m Freestyle
  • Silver – Eva Okaro – Women’s 50m Freestyle
  • Silver – Nick Finch – Men’s 50m Freestyle
  • Gold – Lucy Fox – Women’s 200m Butterfly
  • Silver – Conor Cherrington – Men’s 100m Backstroke
  • Bronze – Dean Fearn – Men’s 100m Backstroke
  • Silver – Amelie Blocksidge – Women’s 400m Freestyle
  • Bronze – Phoebe Cooper – Women’s 400m Freestyle
  • Silver – David Annis – Men’s 400m Freestyle
  • Bronze – Luke Hornsey – Men’s 400m Freestyle
  • Gold – Eva Okaro – Women’s 50m Butterfly
  • Silver – Hollie Widdows – Women’s 50m Butterfly
  • Silver – Dean Fearn – Men’s 50m Butterfly
  • Bronze – Nick Finch – Men’s 50m Butterfly
  • Gold – Charlotte Bianchi – Women’s 200m Breaststroke
  • Gold – Filip Nowacki – Men’s 200m Breaststroke
  • Gold – Skye Carter, Sophie Davies, Theodora Taylor and Eva Okaro – Women’s 4x100m Freestyle
  • Silver – Jacob Mills, Angelo Giani Contini, Evan Davidson and Nick Finch – Men’s 4x100m Freestyle

Day four

  • Silver – Eva Okaro – Women’s 100m Freestyle
  • Bronze – Evie Dilley – Women’s 200m Backstroke
  • Silver – Conor Cherrington – Men’s 200m Backstroke
  • Bronze – David Annis – Men’s 200m Backstroke
  • Silver – Theodora Taylor – Women’s 50m Breaststroke
  • Bronze – Mabli Collyer – Women’s 50m Breaststroke
  • Gold – Filip Nowacki – Men’s 50m Breaststroke
  • Gold – Amelie Blocksidge – Women’s 800m Freestyle
  • Bronze – Lucy Fox – Women’s 800m Freestyle
  • Bronze – Luke McGee – Men’s 1500m Freestyle
  • Gold – Evie Dilley, Phoebe Cooper, Theodora Taylor and Eva Okaro – Women’s 4x100m Medley
  • Silver – Conor Cherrington, Nick Finch, Filip Nowacki and Jacob Mills – Men’s 4x100m Medley