Disclaimer: Blueseventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The blueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
It’s becoming a common headline around these parts: Kliment Kolesnikov breaks World Junior Record.
The Russian 17-year-old did it again, going 52.97 to take the 100 back WJR below 53 for the first time in history this week at Russian Nationals. He’s broken this record numerous times, but with each shave of the record time, he gets closer and closer to relevance on the international senior stage. 52.9 is his best step in that direction yet: that time would have won gold at the last two European Championships by a longshot – 53.3 took gold in 2014 and 53.7 in 2016.
Kolesnikov was second at the Russian Championships behind 21-year-old Evgeny Rylov. Those two are forming a young backstroking duo that could be devastating this summer. They sit #2 and #3 in the world ranks, with only China’s Xu Jiayu ahead of them. That means with Russia focusing on this summer’s European Championships, the two could be looking towards a gold-silver sweep. The closest European to them in world ranks at present is another Russian, Grigory Tarasevich (#7, 53.48) and the closest foreign threat in Europe is Greece’s Apostolos Christou (#12, 53.82).
Lately, Russia has had a storied history of dominating age group swims with budding stars, though for quite a few years, that didn’t translate much to the senior level. But with Anton Chupkov winning a world title in the 200 breast last year and Rylov and Kolesnikov’s dominance, we might be seeing the next generation of Russians coming of age internationally.
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