14-Year Old Wins 200 Breast at Russian Nationals; Efimova Out of Top 2

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 28

April 10th, 2019 News


Another day at the 2019 Russian Swimming Championships resulted in another big breakthrough for a Russian athlete.

While Vladislav Grinev’s semi-final Russian Record in the 100 free on Tuesday stole the show, his finals swim could not recapture that emotion. He still won the race, in 47.65, but was two-tenths short of his best time from a day earlier.

Vlad Morozov (48.04), Evgeny Rylov (48.33), and Andrei Minakov (48.50) will join him on the relay, with Kliment Kolesnikov falling to 5th in 48.52 (and likely a relay alternate spot).

The big story of the day, however, was the breakthrough of Evgenia Chikunova in the women’s 200 breaststroke. Born in 2004, the 14-year old swam 2:22.67 to win the title and break the Russian Junior Record in the event. The old record of 2:23.06 was set by Mariia Astashkina in 2015 at the European Games. Astashkina is currently living in the US and training at Louisville, and didn’t swim in this race.

Previously too young even to compete at the European Junior Championships or Youth Olympic Games, Chikunova’s previous best time in the event was a 2:32.20 set in May of 2018.

Her swim was not totally without expectation though: her older sister Daria Chikunova has been as fast as 2:23, and finished 6th on Wednesday in 2:26.24.

Chikunova just turned 14 in November, making her the youngest champion so far at this meet. Maria Temnikova placed 2nd in the event in 2:23.45, and in a shocking development, Yulia Efimova took 3rd in 2:23.88 and, in theory, will be left off the team for Worlds in this event. Efimova is the defending World Champion in the 200 breaststroke.

Other Day 3 Winners:

  • In a historically-weak event for the Russians, nobody hit the Worlds selection criteria in the men’s 200 fly. Alexander Kudashev won the race in 1:56.71, which missed the standard of 1:56.48. There was a glimmer of hope in the men’s final, though. 17-year old Egor Pavlov took 2nd in 1:56.81. That broke the Russian Junior Record of 1:56.90 that was set in 2016 by Daniel Pakhomov. Pakhamov was just 5th in this race in 1:58.13.
  • Andrey Zhilkin won the men’s 200 IM in 1:58.35. He was the only swimmer under 2 minutes, and the only swimmer under the invite standard for Worlds. The time was just .18 seconds away from his own Russian Record in the event.
  • Maria Kameneva became the first multi-event qualifier of the meet when she won the women’s 50 back in 27.66. That just out-touched Daria Vaskina, who finished 2nd and broke the Russian Junior Record in 27.74. Veteran 28-year old Anastasia Fesikova, the Russian Record holder and National Team captain, was 3rd in 27.82.
  • Andrey Nikolaev won the men’s 50 breaststroke in 27.12. Not only is that a lifetime best for him, by .02 seconds, it’s a pretty significant return-to-form for a swimmer who was only 5th at the last two Russian National Championships in the event, but won the race in 2016. The defending champion, Oleg Kostin, was just 4th in 27.67 (though he’s already secured his spot on the team via a Russian Record in the 50 fly). National Record holder Kiril Prigoda took 2nd in 27.17 and he too will head to Worlds in this race, while Ilya Khomenko was 3rd in 27.50.
  • Anastasia Kirpichnikova won the timed final of the women’s 1500 free in 16:16.04. She was 26 seconds ahead of the field in that event, and undercut her own lifetime best by more than 8 seconds. Her time cleared the Worlds selection standard in the event.

Noteworthy Semifinals Results:

  • After a disappointing 200 fly, Svetlana Chimrova returned to form in semi-finals of the women’s 100 fly. She swam a 57.63 that, if repeated in the final, would secure her spot on the Worlds roster.
  • If the men’s 200 backstroke is going to live up to its billing as a highlight race of the meet, times will have to get a lot faster in the finals. Roman Larin qualified 1st in 1:59.54, and none of the stars broke 2 minutes in the semi-finals. The top placer of the ‘big 3’ backstrokers was Grigory Tarasevich, who swam a 2:00.41. He was the fastest of that group into finals of the 100 back as well, though he only wound up 3rd. Kliment Kolesnikov qualified 5th in 2:00.82, while Evgeny Rylov was 6th in 2:00.98.

World Championship Qualifiers After Day 3


Alexander Krasnykh 400 free 3:45.55
Martin Malyutin 400 free 3:46.67
Oleg Kostin 50 fly 22.74
Andrey Zhilkin 50 fly 23.06
Evgeny Rylov 100 back 52.84
Kliment Kolesnikov 100 back 53.03
Anton Chupkov 200 breast 2:07.00
Alexander Palatov 200 breast 2:08.70
Ilya Druzhinin 1500 free 14:59.86
Vladislav Grinev 100 free 47.65
Vlad Morozov 100 free 48.04
Andrey Zhilkin 200 IM 1:58.35
Andrey Nikolaev 50 breast 27.12
Kiril Prigoda 50 breast 27.17


Yulia Efimova 50 breast 30.43
Anna Belousova 50 breast 30.98
Veronika Andrusenko 400 free 4:06.01
Anna Egorova 400 free 4:06.79
Anastasia Avdeeva* 200 back 2:09.89
Daria K. Ustinova* 200 back 2:10.30
Maria Kameneva 100 free 53.8
Evgenia Chikunova 200 breast 2:22.67
Maria Teminkova 200 breast 2:23.45
Maria Kameneva 50 back 27.66
Daria Vaskina 50 back 27.74
Anastasia Kirpichnikova 1500 free 16:16.04

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2 years ago

Hi, Daria Chikunova and Evgenia Chikunova are not sisters

2 years ago

Queen Yulia DIED in the last 25m. 🙈🙈

Reply to  KnifeSmile
2 years ago

She must’ve ran out of the goodies

Reply to  Hswimmer
2 years ago

the supply tank went dry …..

2 years ago

Are we all thinking the same thing?

Reply to  Marley09
2 years ago

She will participate at Worlds 😉
The NT coach said the winner will go to Budapest for Junior Championships

Reply to  rusfed
2 years ago

I get that a lot of nations do this but I really hate it. We want to see the in form people swimming. I suppose Yulia has time for a microdosing cycle before world’s though.

Reply to  Tim
2 years ago

You sound like an expert in dosage indeed, but I’ve just shared the latest news to the topic

Reply to  rusfed
2 years ago

I didn’t mean to suggest any criticism of you. It’s really great of you to post the update as I am not able to watch it and I don’t speak Russian so would never have known.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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