Day 2 of the 2013 Russian Cup, their National Championship and World Championship qualifying meet, is in the books in Kazaan, the host site of this summer’s World University Games, and plenty of swimmers ensured their places for Barcelona.
The big final of the day was the men’s 100 backstroke; there, University of Florida-trained Arkady Vyatchanin won in 53.47 and USC-trained Vlad Morozov took 2nd in 53.70. For both swimmers, that’s about half-a-second faster than they were in prelims on Tuesday.
Vitaly Borosov, meanwhile, jumped to 3rd place in 54.33, while Anton Butymov added and slid back to 5th; he’ll be the man expected to challenge Vyatchanin in the longer 200 meter race.
In the men’s 100 breaststroke, Kirill Strelnikov won in another new lifetime best of 1:00.18. That pulls the 20-year old to within three-tenths of the old National Record held by the now-retired Roman Sloudnov. Vyacheslav Sinkevich followed him under the FINA A-standard with a runner-up time of 1:00.71, which is a lifetime best for him as well.
This Russian breaststroking group last year was a huge weakness, and it seemed like things would only get worse this year with Sloudnov’s retirement; instead, it has soared with two qualifiers for Worlds. Strelnikov still hasn’t broken out in the 200 like he has in this 100, but expect Sinkevich to be under 2:10 later in the meet.
Absent again defending Olympic silver medalist Anastasia Zueva, 14-year old phenom Daria Ustinova turned on her burners in finals to win in 2:08.39. That’s a huge drop after cruising to just a 2:12 in the semi-finals, and the swim pushes her to a tie for second in the world with Australian Meagen Nay. They both sit behind Missy Franklin in those rankings, and for those wondering – Ustinova is already eight-tenths faster than Franklin was at the same age. That swim breaks the Russian Junior Record.
Maria Gromova was 2nd in 2:11.29, which won’t be good enough to send her as a second entrant in this race. After a foot injury to Zueva in the fall, she’s opting to just swim the 100 at this meet, but there’s still a chance that the Russians will award her the second spot based on her Olympic performance.
In the two 50-meter finals of the night, It was Evgeny Koptelov who won in 23.43, followed by Nikita Konovalov in 23.49 and Olympic 100 fly silver medalist Evgeny Korotyshkin in 23.69. That’s not a good sign for Korotyshkin, after telling media yesterday after the meet that he was having some financial issues since London. 16-year old Evgeny Sedov was 4th in 23.87.
Svetlana Chimrova won the women’s 50 fly in 26.33, which is a new Russian Record. That broke her own 26.62 from late last year; runner-up Daria Tsvetkova was also under the old mark with a 26.41. What’s really scary about those marks is the fact that they’re both just 17 years old (Chimrova’s birthday was on Monday.)
The star freestyler of the women’s program, National Record holder Veronika Popova, got her meet underway Wednesday with the prelims and semi-finals of the 100 free. In the semis, she swam a 54.69.
Following her are a big group of swimmers that will hope to join her under the FINA automatic qualifying standard, including second-seed Margarita Nesterova (55.22) and 16-year old Maria Baklakova (55.57).
The women’s 100 breaststroke semi-final saw less depth than we’re used to, but much of the group should be faster in finals. Anna Belousova took the top seed in 1:07.98 and the star Yulia Efimova going for the 2nd seed, just behind her, in 1:08.00. That’s easily a best time for the 16-year old Belousova, but she’ll have to hold on in finals with swimmers like Irina Novikova and Daria Deeva (the latter a 2012 Olympian) chasing behind in the final. Anastasia Chaun will be the 6th seed in 1:09.71; her better bet is in the 200.
Semen Makovich led the men’s 200 IM semi-final in 2:01.10; he’s only 17 years old. He was followed by Dimitry Zhilin in 2:01.25; Zhilin should be closer to, or under, two minutes in finals, though he didn’t have a great year in 2012.
And finally, we saw the first appearance on Tuesday from up-and-down freestyle star Danilla Izotov in the semi-finals of the men’s 200 free. He took the top seed in that race in 1:47.19, followed by Nikita Lobintsov in 1:47.69 and Alexander Sukhorukov in 1:48.00. The Russian 800 free relay again looks deep, but at the last two global championships (the 2012 Olympics and the 2011 World Championships) they failed to even make the finals, despite having 4-5 guys who can flat-start under 1:48.
Full, live meet results available here.