16-year-old Franko Grgić Takes Home World Juniors Gold, Sets Croatian Swimming Record

Daniela Rogulj

August 23, 2019 – Franko Grgić took the World Junior Championships title on Thursday in the 800-meter freestyle race.

Earlier this year, young Split swimmer Franko Grgić hit the Olympic standard for Tokyo 2020. Today, his excellent form has only strengthened as he brings home the gold medal from the World Junior Championships in Budapest, reports 24 Sata

“I do not know what others expected and whether this was a surprise for them, but it is definitely no surprise to me because I was preparing for this,” said the new Croatian record holder after taking part in the Croatian team championships back in March at the Kantrida pool in Rijeka, where he broke the Croatian record for 1,500 meters (14:56.55), thus hitting the Olympic standard for next summer. 

Today, Grgić has only gotten better.

Namely, the 16-year-old won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Budapest in the 800-meter freestyle! Grgić celebrated with a score of 7:45.92 ahead of Russian Ilia Sibirtsev and Australian Thomas Neill, who were more than two seconds behind him.

Franko’s previous career-fastest in the 800-meter free was achieved in Zagreb in March where he swam 7:53.75. In Budapest, however, Grgić was 8 seconds faster, thus breaking the Croatian record held by Marin Mogić (7:51:78). 

Grgić is thus the 25th fastest performer of all-time, any age, in this 800 meter freestyle, reports SwimSwam.com

The young Jadran Split swimmer is on his way to becoming one of Croatia’s greats. In an interview for 24 Sata back in March, he described his ‘champion schedule’.

“I get up at 5:00, have a quick breakfast because I’m already in a training session at 6:00 that lasts an hour and a half. From the pool, I hurry to school, which starts at 8:00 and lasts until 14:00, then back to the pool, to another training session that lasts from 14:45-17:30, sometimes until 18:00. After that, I eat well, study for a little while, and at 9:30 pm I go to sleep. I am saved by my parents who take me and bring me to the pool. Otherwise, I would not have a way to get there.”

Franko’s schedule is a nightmare for most sixteen-year-olds.

“When my peers go out, I’m already in bed. It’s not always easy, but when you have a goal in front of you that you want to reach, it’s easier. Sometimes I go out with friends to a cafe, but swimming is always first,” said the 187 cm tall and 70 kg swimmer and the great hope of Croatian sport.

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