The great progress made by Turkey in recent years in swimming is reflected in the team’s roster for this year. Having improved their global standing as a whole and breaking 14 national records in 2020, Turkey was awarded the National Development Swammy.
The Turkish Swimmer M. Tuncel Olympic Games
The Turkish team headed to Tokyo has already broken ten more national records this year, continuing the country’s impressive run of form into 2021.
Among these world-beating athletes is M. Tuncel, a breakout star who has made a name for herself in the distance races during the past few years.
M. Tuncel recently won all three of the individual freestyle events at the 2021 European Junior Championships, setting new Turkish records in the 400, 800, and 1500 metres. In her first Olympic competition, she will be a formidable threat in the women’s distance events with her times of 4:06.25, 8:21.91, and 15:55.23.
Juniors Deniz Ertan and Beril Böcekler will join M. Tuncel, who has been the driving force behind Turkey’s distance dominance. Earlier this month, both Ertan and Bocekler attended Euro Juniors and came away with medals of their own.
Ertan finished second in the 1500-meter event in 16 minutes, 14.26 seconds, and Bocekler was second in the 800 in eight minutes, 33.52 seconds. Ertan will represent Turkey in the 800 and 1500 metre freestyles, while Bocekler will compete in the 400 metre freestyle.
Defne Taçyildiz, who swims the 200 butterfly, and Viktoria Gunes, who swims the 200 individual medley, are the other two women on the Turkish team.
Although Gunes has traditionally been more well-known for her breaststroke, she has also been a serious contender in the IM events, and she currently holds the 200-meter IM records from the 2015 World Championships, having swam a time of 2:11.03. In April of 2021, she swam a 2:12.37, qualifying her for Tokyo.
A New Turkish Record in the 200 Butterfly
Tacyildiz, meanwhile, will be making her Olympic debut in Tokyo after setting a new Turkish record in the 200 butterfly with her 2:09.37 swim in the 2-21 Edirne Cup earlier this year.
In addition to the women’s team, the Turkish men had a strong showing at the 2021 European Junior Championships. Yiit Aslan won the 800 metre freestyle in 7 minutes, 51.20 seconds, while Berke Saka placed second in the 200 metre backstroke in 1 minute, 59.02 seconds, for a total of four medals.
A new Turkish record was set by Aslan in that swim, whereas Saka’s personal best in the backstroke was a slightly slower 1:57.36 set in April 2021. In Tokyo, Aslan and Saka will only compete against each other in the 800 free and the 200 backstroke.
Turkish Record Holders in the Men’s 100 and 200 Breaststrokes
Emre Sakci and Berkay Ogretir, the Turkish record holders in the men’s 100 and 200 breaststrokes, respectively, will be competing in the Olympics.
At the 2019 World Championships, Sakci slashed the 100-meter record to 58.85, and he’ll be one of many guys who have broken the 58-second barrier in the 100-breaststroke event and will be aiming for a 57 and a podium finish.
Ogretir will also compete in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 59.23 seconds, but the 200-meter breaststroke, in which he set a new Turkish record of 2 minutes, 9.86 seconds at the 2020 Turkish Winter Championships, is his primary focus.
Umitcan Gures, competing in the men’s 100 butterfly, and Baturalp Ünlü, competing in the men’s 200 free, will round up the Turkish Olympic team.
Unlu swam a 1:47.08 in the 200 free in December 2020, and Gures decreased the 100 butterfly record to 51.91 at the 2021 Turkish Championships in April.