RUSSIAN SWIMMING CUP FINAL
Even with a few key names, like Vlad Morozov, missing from the field, the Russian sprint freestylers still carried the day to open the 2020 Russian Swimming Cup final on Friday.
In the women’s race, 21-year old Maria Kameneva led the field with a 54.36, leading a trio of Russian women under 55 seconds. She was joined by Arina Surkova (54.67) and Daria Ustinova (54.83) under the barrier in that race.
Kameneva’s best time is about a second better than that, but the time reinforces the 54.3s that she’s gone consistently at big, but non-championship, meets the last few years.
For Surkova, that misses her lifetime best by .04 seconds. Her previous best time of 54.63 was done in March, in her last meet pre-quarantine, so her Friday swim shows that she hasn’t missed a beat in spite of some lost training time.
Surkova is scheduled to represent the New York Breakers later this month to start her ISL career.
In the men’s 100 free, it was 18-year old Andrei Minakov who led the field, swimming a 48.80. That’s only three-tenths of a second slower than his lifetime best, and the 4th-fastest time of his career.
Minakov, the 2019 World Championships silver medalist in the 100 fly, was supposed to begin his college career at Stanford University in the United States this fall, but because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, he’s opted to delay that start until fall of 2021.
He was trailed in that race by World Championships bronze medalist and Russian Record holder Vladislav Grinev, who touched in 48.85.
The other highlight of the day, less for the time than the story, was a win in the women’s 50 breaststroke from former European Junior Champion Tatiana Belonogoff. Born and raised in the UK, this is Belonogoff’s first meet since receiving approval from FINA to represent Russia internationally.
She built on that anticipation with a win in her first final officially representing the nation, touching in 31.05. While the country’s top breaststroker Yulia Efimova wasn’t able to return to Russia for the meet because of travel challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, Belonogoff did beat out two of the country’s young stars in the group: 15-year old Evgeniia Chikonova (31.25) and 15-year old Elena Bogomolova (31.31). That time for Bogomolova was a new lifetime ebst by a second-and-a-half.
This meet is the first of a three-meet domestic series to end the year for Russia’s top swimmers. Later this month, the All-Russia Swimming Federation will host a short course national championship in St. Petersburg before ending the year with a long course National Championship in Kazan in December.
Other Day 1 Winners:
- 19-year old Aleksandr Egorov won the men’s 1500 free comfortably in 15:14.74. That’s a new best time for him by 15 seconds – clearing a 15:29.30 that he swam at the 2019 Russian Junior Championships. He swam at the 2019 World Junior Championships in the 400 free, where he scored a bronze medal, but his shift to the 1500 is a more recent career development.
- The Russian men’s backstroke group, already one of the deepest in the world, is getting a little deeper: 18-year old Maksim Fofanov shaved .01 seconds off his best time in the 200 on Friday to win in 1:59.44. That put him ahead of Grigory Tarasevich, who finished 2nd in 2:00.19. Not present at this meet is Kliment Kolesnikov, and not swimming that race was the defending World Champion Evgeny Rylov, who is at the meet but has opted to focus on the 50 back and freestyle races instead.
- Veteran Alexander Kudashev won the men’s 200 fly in 1:56.33, which is the 3rd-fastest time in his career. 17-year old Vadim Klimenishchev followed him with a 2nd-place 1:58.34, which is just three-tenths of a second short of his best time. Russia didn’t enter a swimmer in the men’s 200 fly at last summer’s World Championships.
- Svetlana Chimrova won the women’s 200 fly in 2:11.27, which is well shy of her best time. Last season, she finished 7th in the 200 fly at the World Championships in a year where her training was disrupted by a week-long hospital stay.
- Daria K. Ustinova, the more backstroke-centric of Russia’s two elite swimmers named Daria Ustinova, won the women’s 200 back in 2:12.21.
- Kiril Prigoda sprinted to a win in the men’s 50 breaststroke with a 27.25.
- Valeria Samatina won the women’s 800 free in 8:47.56.