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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3 years ago

And who says doping doesn’t pay?

3 years ago

Lol ?

Big10 Boyz
3 years ago

Hard to cheer for anyone in that scenario.

3 years ago

Hey good on swimswam for finally getting real with it.
What happened to Ivan girev. Wasn’t he 48.3/1:46 last year.

3 years ago


Bay swimmer
3 years ago

Love the unapologetic shaming of these cheaters

Reply to  Bay swimmer
3 years ago

But where’s the consistency? You’ve got one swimswam article here condemning Russian dopers, yet another article titled “Park Tae Hwan getting back to peak form in Asian Games Bid”…shouldn’t that be titled “South Korean doper gears up for Korean Nationals”…

And I realize Park was acquitted of wrong doing while Efimova has failed repeated tests. But they were both stripped of medals because of it and both served suspensions. I like Park a lot…but I like consistency more.

Coach John
Reply to  Michael
3 years ago

Completely agree with you Michael. I appreciate the more hard-nosed approach to article titles SwimSwam has taken as of late (correct me but I feel like this is a new theme for them… they tended to be more neutral unlike Craig at SV) but it needs to be more consistent. at least for confirmed cheaters (ala park, sun) and not publicly accused (wont name names as I find that unfair)

Reply to  Coach John
3 years ago

I am a fan of putting an asterisk by the name of anyone who has served a doping suspension.

Justin Wright
Reply to  Michael
3 years ago

I like too assume inconsistencies of writing styles stems from the variety of writers swimswam employs. Different writer = different level of savagery

Reply to  Michael
3 years ago

Park was NOT acquitted of wrongdoing. He was let off easy (reduced sentence) for dubious reasons, but he was still found guilty, and was suspended.

Reply to  Michael
3 years ago

These cases you mentioned are all cheating all right and should be punished. No questions. But the severity of the punishment is different. You probably won’t advocate the life ban for double false start.
You have raised almost philosophical question how to distinguish between different types of cheating. Look, when we are dealing with the violation of stroke rules then someone tries to take advantage not following restrictions that other swimmers are obeying. And we are taking easy on that because it is in human nature to deceive each other. Moreover it is a positive effect of evolution of human brain. Animals practically do not show such an ability.
Doping is completely different issue. It’s ok with us… Read more »

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

I disagree. Regulating performance enhancing substances is done to make competition more fair, it has nothing to do with crimes against God. By that logic, we could remove weight classes in wrestling and that would still be fair since everyone is working with what the good Lord gave them.

Animals don’t show an ability to break rules because animals don’t have rules and “fair” isn’t a concept to them. I’m not sure what the relevance of this statement is. Humans are clever, yes. That doesn’t excuse anything.

As for people going easy on technical cheaters because “it’s human nature to deceive each other.” Isn’t doping also deceptive? So why not go easy on that, too? All of the seven deadly… Read more »

Reply to  Michael
3 years ago

Well, one difference is that Russia is CONSTANTLY in the news for doping, they have been convicted of state sponsored doping, have been banned from the Olympics for doping, and they have multiple athletes fail doping tests. South Korea? Not so much.

Reply to  Michael
3 years ago

I agree. If SwimSwam is going after Russians please give equal harsh weight to every other single athlete accused of doping including Americans. It’s just not the Russians—it’s everywhere.

3 years ago

I don’t have a problem with the shaming here, but let’s be consistent. Many articles about sun yang, park taewan, Cielo, Li Zhesi, Bousquet, Vlad, etc. don’t even give it a mention.

Reply to  Grrr
3 years ago

Zhesi in particular really irks me. The NCAA was kind of the last bastion and Ohio State accepted a convicted doper – not someone who took a questionable substance or a masking agent, but EPO for shame – and most likely gave her a full scholarship. They’ve lost so much credibility for that.

3 years ago

Savage af

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

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