Dopers’ Double Atop the 200 Breast at Russian Nationals

2018 Russian Swimming Championships

Coming into Tuesday’s final, only 3 Russian women had ever been under 1 minute in the 100 meter backstroke. In Tuesday’s final, 4 women broke the barrier, including a tie for the 2nd spot on the European Championship team.

Daria K. Ustinova led the way with a 59.73, while Maria Kameneva and Anastasia Fesikova (Zueva) tied for 2nd in 59.94. Kameneva was the new name under 1 minute – her previous best time coming into the meet was 1:00.10 at last year’s World University Games.

Fortunately for Russia, both swimmers are already qualified for the meet in other events – Fesikova via her 2nd place finish in the 50 back, and Kameneva via her win in the 50 back and her Russian Record in the 50 free. While Russia has only committed to taking 2 individual swimmers via the qualifying standard per event, each country can race up to 4 entrants per event in prelims at Euros, so both are likely to swim the race in Glasgow.

After a week of record-setting, with national junior, national senior, and/or world junior records being broken on each of the day’s first 4 meets, Tuesday’s penultimate session was relatively anti-climactic. The biggest surprise came in the women’s 200 breaststroke, where Vitalina Simonova swam a 2:23.67 to upset the defending World Champion in the event Yulia Efimova.

Efimova took 2nd in 2:24.02, which is almost 4 seconds slower than she was in this meet last year (though it was still enough to qualify for the European Championships). For Simonova, the result was her best time since 2015 after returning last year from a two-year doping suspension. Efimova has twice failed doping tests, though she was only sanctioned beyond a temporary suspension for one of those.

Other Finals Results

  • Oleg Kostin won the men’s 50 breaststroke in 27.26, touching .01 seconds ahead of Kirill Prigoda (27.27) – with both qualifying for Glasgow. Ilya Khomenko (27.34) and Kirill Strelnikov (27.39) finished in 3rd and 4th, respectively, in a race where the top 4 were separated by just .13 seconds. Anton Chupkov, who won the 100 and 200 breaststroke, didn’t compete in the 50.
  • Unlike the men’s 1500, which saw no qualifiers for Euros, the top 3 finishers in the men’s 800 were all under the requisite standard. Yaroslav Potapov won in 7:55.05, just .05 seconds ahead of runner-up and teammate Ilya Druzhinin. Druzinin led most of the race, but Potapov put in a kick at the end that included making up half-a-second over the final length to pip his partner.
  • Alexander Sadovnikov won the men’s 100 fly in 51.67, which ranks him 9th in the world this year. Nobody else was under the European qualifying standard, though Alexander Popkov’s 51.91 from Monday’s semifinals was, and so the Russian federation will have to decide whether to allow him through or not.
  • Alexander Krasnykh won the men’s 200 free in 1:46.25, followed by Mikhail Vekovischev in 1:46.43. The rest of the relay will include Mikhail Dovgalyuk (1:46.49) and Vyacheslav Andrusenko (1:46.89). The National Record holder Danila Izotov was 6th in 1:48.31 – more than 4 seconds slower than his lifetime best.
  • Saint Petersburg won the mixed 400 free relay in 3:30.72.

Finals Results By Event (in Russian)

Semi-Finals Highlights

  • Veronika Andrusenko qualified 1st through to the women’s 100 free final in 54.28, followed by teenager Arina Oponysheva. 50 free winer Maria Kameneva qualified 4th in 55.11. It will take a 54.05 to earn the right to swim the event individually at the European Championships.

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And who says doping doesn’t pay?


Lol ?

Big10 Boyz

Hard to cheer for anyone in that scenario.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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