On the first night of competition of the World University Games in Kazan, Russia the home country collected gold in three of the four finals that were swum.
Women’s 400 IM
Russian Yana Martynova, who was a hometown favourite as she attends Kazan Federal University, won the women’s 400 IM in a time of 4:39.02, which is currently ranked 12th in the world, which she will be looking to improve on in Barcelona. The time is a season’s best for Martynova who swam a 4:41.23 in April. She currently holds the Russian national record with a time of 4:36.25 was posted in heats of the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she eventually finished seventh.
Martynova also competed in the 400 IM in London where she finished 24th.
USC’s Megan Hawthorne was well behind at the 200 meter mark and had an outstanding breaststroke leg to reel in the Russian, although she closed the gap she did not have enough to over Martynova and eventually finished second in a time of 4:40.40, which is just off her lifetime best of 4:40.00 which she swam last year.
Sakiko Shimizu of Japan finished third in a time of 4:42.09, well of her season’s best of 4:40.35 which she posted at the Japanese national championships in March.
Barbora Zavadova of the Czech Republic was fourth in a time of 4:43.73, Marni Oldershaw was fifth 4:44.47, her Canadian teammate Tianna Rissling was sixth in a time of 4:44.62, Sarah Henry of the United States was seventh in a time of 4:46.02 and Victoria Malyutina of Russia was eighth in a time of 4:46.18.
Men’s 400 freestyle
The men’s 400 freestyle was a thrilling race between Australian Olympian Ryan Napoleon and Japan’s Kohei Yamamoto. The lead went back and forth with Napoleon leading at the 100 by 12 one-hundredths of a second, Yamamoto lead at the 200 mark by 13 one-hundredths of a second, at the 300 mark Napoleon took a lead of five one-hundreths of a second and eventually won the event in a time of 3:48.96 with Yamamoto finishing second in a time of 3:49.03.
Napoleon’s time is well off his season’s best of 3:46.26, which currently ranks seventh in the world and he will be looking to improve on in Barcelona.
Yamamoto’s time of 3:49.03 beats his season’s best of 3:50.37.
Fumiya Hidaka of Japan finished third in a time of 3:50.63.
Evgeny Kulikov of Russian finished fourth in a time of 3:50.72, American Alex Wold finished fifth in a time of 3:51.68, Canadian Eric Hedlin finished sixth in a time of 3:52.01, Jacob Ritter of the United States finished seventh in a time of 3:53.68 and George O’Brien of Australia finished eighth in a time of 3:54.03.
Women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay
Winning the Russians second gold medal of the evening was the relay team of Veronika Popova, Viktoriiya Andreeva, Magarita Nesterova and Daria Belyakina. The Russian quartet set a new games record in the preliminaries of 3:40.40, beating the record of 3:40.03 which was held by the Australians and broke their own record in the evening winning the event in a time of 3:38.15.
Popova – 54.35
Andreeva – 54.80
Nesterova – 54.33
Belyakina – 54.67
The win was not an easy one for the Russians as Megan Romano swimming the anchor leg for the Americans split an incredible 52.90, almost catching Belyakina. The American team of Rachel Acker (55.82), Andrea Murez (54.48), Liv Jensen (55.40) and Romano (52.90) finished in a time of 3:38.60. The Canadian team consisting of Sandrine Mainville (55.19), Carolina Lapierre Lemire (54.82), Paige Schultz (55.42) and Brittany MacLean (55.28) finished third in a time of 3:40.71.
The Australians finished fourth in a time of 3:41.89, the Italians finished fifth in a time of 3:42.81, France finished sixth in a time of 3:43.34, Japan finished seventh in a time of 3:43.45 and Sweden finished eighth in a time of 3:45.46.
Men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay
Russia’s win in the women’s freestyle relay was impressive, but their win in the men’s event was a dominating performance by a team made up of Andrey Grechin, Nikita Lobinstev, Vlad Morozov and Danila Izotov won the event in a time of 3:10.88, almost a full six seconds ahead of the field. The team set a games record in the morning qualifying for the final in a time of 3:13.70, beating the American record of 3:14.74 and broke it once again with evening performance of 3:10.88.
Grechin – 47.98
Lobinstev – 47.92
Morozov – 47.14
Danila Izotov – 47.84
The Australians team, of Andrew Abood (49.61), Justin James (49.11), Jayden Hadler (48.84) and Daniel Arnamnart (48.77) won a battle with the Italian team, of Ginluca Maglia (49.78), Lorenzo Benatti (49.26), Stefano Pizzamiglio (49.14) and Michele Santucci (48.46), for silver in a total of 3:16.33 compared to the Italians 3:16.64.
The American team finished fourth in a time of 3:17.60, Japan finished fifth in a time of 3:17.97, Poland finished sixth in a time of 3:18.05, Canada finished seventh in a time of 3:20.50 and Switzerland finished eighth in a time of 3:21.01.
Women’s 50 butterfly
Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus qualified first in the 50 butterfly posting a time of 26.09. That is a season’s best for Herasimenia and is the seventh fastest time in the world this year. Canadian Katerine Savard qualified second in a time of 26.34 followed by Darya Tsvetkova of Russian who recorded a time of 26.49.
Men’s 100 backstroke
Yuki Shirai of Japan was the fastest qualifier in the men’s 100 backstroke recording a season’s best time of 53.97. Ben Treffers of Australia qualified second in a time of 54.10 followed by American Jacob Pebley who qualified in a time of 54.14.
Men’s 100 breaststroke
Yasuhiro Koseki of Japan was the fastest qualifier in the men’s 100 breaststroke posting a time of 1:00.03, which is currently ranks sixth in the world. Russian Kirill Strelnikov qualified second in a time of 1:00.37 followed by American Mike Alexandrov.
Women’s 200 backstroke
Daryna Zevina of the Ukraine, who is currently ranked seventh in the world with a season’s best of 2:08.97, was the fastest qualifier in the women’s 200 backstroke recording a time of 2:10.36. She was followed by Hayle White of Australia who posted a time of 2:10.52 only one one-hundredth of a second faster than her Aussie teammate Madison Wilson who qualified in a time of 2:10.53.
Men’s 50 butterfly
Andrii Govorov of the Ukraine set a new national record of 23.27 on his way to being the fastest qualifier for the final of the men’s 50 butterfly. The previous record of 23.35 was set by Sergiy Breus in 2009. Yauhen Tsurkin of Belarus qualified second in a time of 23.49 followed by Piero Codia of Italy who posted a 23.49.
Medal totals at the end of the first day:
Russia - 3 Gold
Australia - 1 – Gold 1 – Silver
United States - 2 Silver
Japan - 1- Silver 2 – Bronze
Canada - 1 – Bronze
Italy - 1 – Bronze
Full results can be found here