2022 RUSSIAN SOLIDARITY GAMES
The 2022 Russian Solidarity Games kicked off yesterday with the international meet taking place in Kazan through Monday, July 25th.
The Games are taking place to supplement the World Championships, which Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Right off the bat, we saw an impressive performance by multi-Olympic medalist Kliment Kolesnikov. Taking on the men’s 100m back, Kolesnikov fired off a time of 52.58 to score the only time under the 53-second mark.
Had Kolesnikov produced this time at the World Championships in Budapest, the 22-year-old would have placed 6th in the final.
He now sits 7th in the overall season world rankings in this event.
Also competing was the reigning Olympic champion in the men’s 100 back, Evgeny Rylov, who was more than two and a half seconds off his winning time from the Tokyo Games in 54.55 to place fifth.
Rylov, 25, became a focal point of Russia’s ban from athletic competition worldwide after appearing at a pro-war rally in March, one where Russian President Vladimir Putin was present with him on stage.
In addition to being individually banned by FINA for a nine-month period, Rylov also lost his sponsorship with Speedo as a result of his appearance at the rally.
The men’s 200m breast was also a highlight of night 1, with 2 men getting into the 2:07 territory.
Getting to the wall first was former world record holder Anton Chupkov. Although at one time Chupkov hinted at retirement, the 25-year-old showed no signs of slowing down, clocking a winning 2breast time of 2:07.19.
Chupkov’s outing was barely enough to keep countryman Kirill Prigoda at bay, with Prigoda touching just .26 behind in 2:07.25. Prigoda actually led the duo with a super quick 1:01.39 opener but Chupkov caught him on the back half to get the job done.
Chupkov and Prigoda would have placed 2nd and 3rd in Budapest with these results, with both sitting only behind current world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook’s gold medal-garnering 2:07.07.
These Russian aces now also sit only behind ZSC’s world record of 2:05.95 in the season’s rankings.
Nearly breaking into the top 10 performers in the world this season in the women’s 100m free was Maria Kameneva. The sprint ace posted a winning time of 53.48 here at these Solidarity Games, comprised of a 25.87 opener and a back half of 27.61.
Entering this competition Kameneva’s season-best at the 53.70 she produced in March. In fact, her time here checked in just .03 outside of her lifetime quickest of 53.45, a time she logged in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m free at the 2019 World Championships.
- 2019 World Championships silver medalist Oleg Kostin hit a near season-best in the men’s 50m fly. The 30-year-old captured the only sub-23 second time of the field in 22.78, only .05 away from the 22.72 he logged in April of this year.
- Svetlana Chimrova took the women’s 200m fly on day 1, stopping the clock in a mark of 2:09.11. She had already produced a time of 2:08.80 this past April to remain among the top 25 performers in the world this season.
- The women’s 50m breast saw 3 women get into the 30-second range, led by 17-year-old Elena Bogomolova. The teen hit 30.75 to defeat runners-up Nika Godun and Alina Zmushka who put up times of 30.94 and 30.96, respectively.
- The men’s 400m free saw Aleksandr Egorov battle with Daniil Shatalov, with the pair ultimately separated by only .13. Egorov got it done for gold in 3:47.04 while Shatalov settled for silver in 3:47.17.
- Visiting Belarusian swimmer Anastasiya Shkurdai topped the women’s 200m back field, snagging the gold in 2:09.38. That put her ahead of the field by 2 seconds.