2021 Russian Olympic Trials: A Synopsis


Swimming news has been coming fast and furious in recent weeks. If you weren’t able to keep up, the Russian Olympic Trials in Kazan produced several eye-popping results, and some intriguing storylines emerged as the nation boasts a formidable lineup for this summer’s Olympic Games.

Here’s a rundown of everything that went down.

National Records

A total of seven events saw new Russian Records set, including one Continental mark from Evgeny Rylov in the men’s 200 backstroke.

  • Rylov set new European and Russian Records in the 200 back, clocking 1:53.23 to lower his previous mark of 1:53.36 set in 2018.
  • The men’s 100 back saw several fast swims through three rounds of action, with Kliment Kolesnikov first equalling Rylov’s National Record of 52.44 in the prelims. Rylov has gone 51.97 on a mixed medley relay, but it does not appear as though the Russian Swimming Federation recognizes that as an official record. Kolesnikov then lowered the record down to 52.42 in the semis, and then Rylov reclaimed it in the final, touching in 52.12 to Kolesnikov’s 52.24.
  • Kolesnikov then overcame the loaded men’s 100 free field with a new Russian Record of 47.31, breaking Vladislav Grinev‘s 47.43 from 2019.
  • Both men’s medley records went down, with Ilya Borodin opening the meet by knocking off his own National and World Junior marks in the 400 IM in 4:11.17. Later in the meet, Andrey Zhilkin clocked 1:57.50 in the 200 IM to extinguish Borodin’s 1:58.00 standard.
  • Maria Kameneva had a standout week with wins in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 back, setting a new National Record in the 50 at 24.20. That eclipsed her previous record by .01.
  • Having an equally impressive showing was Anna Egorova, who downed the 400 free National Record by a wide margin in 4:04.10.

Expected Qualifiers

Many of the top names from the 2019 World Championships performed well enough over the seven days to qualify for the Olympic roster.

  • As expected, Rylov and Kolesnikov easily qualified in the men’s 100 backstroke, with Rylov dominating the 200 back as well.
  • Kirill Prigoda and Anton Chupkov traded 1-2 finishes in the men’s 100 and 200 breaststroke to qualify for both in Tokyo.
  • Andrei Minakov won the men’s 100 fly to qualify in that race after placing second at the 2019 Worlds. He also made it in the 100 free, which wasn’t a surprise, though it was a stacked race with many top names left on the outside looking in.
  • Martin Malyutin was in fine form, winning the men’s 200 and 400 freestyle to qualify in those events.
  • Maria Kameneva was simply a star, winning the women’s 50 free, 100 free and 100 back.
  • Evgeniia Chikunova shined with wins in the women’s 100 and 200 breaststroke, while Yuliya Efimova took second in the 100.
  • Anastasia Kirpichnikova and Anna Egorova steamrolled through the women’s distance events.
  • Rising star Ilya Borodin punching his ticket in both men’s medley events was no surprise, nor was Andrey Zhilkin getting the job done in the 200 IM.
  • After placing fourth in the 100 free, Vladimir Morozov stepped up with the second-fastest swim of his career in the 50, qualifying for a third Olympic Games with a blistering swim of 21.41.

Surprising Swims

  • Efimova shockingly missed the team in the 200 breast, with Maria Temnikova snagging the second spot behind Chikunova.
  • It’s hard to say Kolesnikov winning the men’s 100 free was a massive surprise, but seeing 2019 World Championship bronze medalist Vladislav Grinev failing to qualify individually certainly was.
  • 2017 World Junior champion Ivan Girev came through in a big way, qualifying for the Games individually in the 200 freestyle after producing back-to-back 1:45-point swims in the semis and final.
  • Alexander Egorov really broke out by qualifying for the team in three events, winning the men’s 800 and 1500 free while taking second to Malyutin in the 400. Kirill Martynychev also had a big performance to qualify in the 1500 by a few tenths.
  • Arina Surkova, known more for her 50m prowess, had a bit of a breakthrough to beat Svetlana Chimrova and win the women’s 100 fly in a personal best time of 57.54.

Current Roster

The Russian Swimming Federation has named 30 swimmers to its Olympic team, adding Grinev, Aleksandr KrasnykhAlexander ShchegolevElizaveta Klevanovich and Daria S. Ustinova to the 25 that qualified in individual events.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

On women’s side besides 200BR there is suddenly a real Olympic medal hope at long/middle distances. Very solid and promising performances by two swimmers. Kind of a little bit of surprise.

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Philippe Lucas’ school of hard knocks

Corn Pop
3 years ago

Nice pic .

3 years ago

4 x 100 free relay for Russia gonna threaten gold medalists and the wr

Reply to  Khachaturian
3 years ago

Throwback to Australia in 2012 london Olympics ? Can’t rest on their laurels

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »