Efimova Hits 2:21.86 200 Breast Season-Best, #6 In The World This Season


The 2021 Mare Nostrum Series has come to an end with the conclusion of day 2 finals at the 3rd and final stop in Barcelona.

Two stars of Olympics past both swam times in hallmark events that are their fastest since the end of the 2019 season. Mireia Belmonte, the defending Olympic gold medalist in the 200 fly and bronze medalist in the 400 IM, swam her best 400 IM since August 2019; and Yulia Efimova swam her best 200 breast since winning gold at the 2019 World Championships.

Russia’s Yulia Efimova won the 200 breaststroke with a 2:21.86, marking a season-best for her in the event. The swim is an improvement upon her bronze medal-garnering swim at 2021 Euros where she hit a 2:22.16.

While she was a bit slower than her PB and Russian record of 2:19.41 from 2013, the swim moves Efimova up to the 6th fastest position in the world. That places her ahead of fellow Russian Maria Temnikova, and just two tenths behind fellow Russian Evgenia Chikunova, who recently qualified to race the event for Russia in Tokyo. That means that the 6th fastest woman in the world so far this season won’t be racing the event in Tokyo.

2020-2021 LCM Women 200 Breast

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Efimova was joined on the 200 breaststroke podium by the Spanish duo of Jessica Vall (2:24.68) and Marina Garcia (2:24.97) who were both a few seconds slower than Vall’s 2016 Spanish record of 2:22.56.

Efimova and Vall went 1-2 in the 50 breaststroke as well, hitting a 30.28 and 31.79, respectively as Tes Schouten of the Netherlands rounded out the top 3 with a 31.84.

Another impressive swim came from Hugo Gonzalez who posted a 1:56.31 200 IM to lower both the Spanish national record and Mare Nostrum meet record. Gonzalez held the previous Spanish record at a 1:56.76 which he set at the 2021 European Championships to earn himself a gold medal. The former Mare Nostrum record on the other hand belonged to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino at a 1:56.82 from a 2015 version of the meet.

That was Gonzalez’s second Mare Nostrum meet record of the week, adding to his 53.08 100 backstroke mark from day 1.

In the women’s 400 IM, two legends of the event went head to head in the form of Katinka Hosszu and Mireia Belmonte: both of whom were on the 2016 Olympic podium in this event.

Hosszu took gold here in Barcelona with a 4:40.34 and Belmonte took silver with a 4:42.17. Hosszu was a little bit slower here than she was a few weeks ago when she won gold at the 2021 European Championships with a 4:34.76.

The swim for Belmote on the other hand was a 4:42.17 for silver which marks her fastest swim in the event since the 2019 FINA World Cup Series stop in Tokyo, which happened just a few days after the end of the World Championships. While she was just 4:42 for 13th place in Gwangju, less than a week later at the World Cup she managed to drop 8 seconds and go 4:34, but hasn’t been close to that time since.

Another big swim on day 2 of the meet came from Arno Kamminga in the 100 breaststroke. Kamminga delivered a 58.18 to win gold in the event, coming within 0.03 seconds of Adam Peaty‘s 2019 Mare Nostrum record of 58.15 from 2019. Kamminga was a bit slower than his recent 58.10 at the 2021 European World Championships which gave him the silver medal for the Netherlands behind Peaty’s 57.66.

Kamminga became the second-fastest 100 breaststroker in history and second only to Peaty to swim the event under 58 seconds a few weeks before Euros with a 57.90 Dutch record. Additionally, on day 1 of the meet Kamminga delivered a 2:07.23 200 breaststroke to win gold and set a new meet record.

Other Notable Day 2 Swims

  • Chad le Clos swam a 1:55.63 to win the men’s 200 fly, getting right the 1:55.88 he swam a few weeks ago at South African Nationals.
  • In the men’s 100 freestyle Kristof Milak delivered a commanding 48.86 victory, hovering right above his recent 48.72 performance in the prelims of the event at the 2021 European Championships.
  • Kira Toussaint of the Netherlands won the 100 backstroke by a decent margin with a 59.21 to out-swim silver medalist Hanna Rosvall (1:01.94) and bronze medalist Lena Grabowski (1:02.04)
  • Tying for first place, Thom de Boer of the Netherlands and world record holder Andriy Govorov of Ukraine each swam a 23.43 to take gold in the 50 butterfly.

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1 year ago

Nice to see Belmonte swimming&competiting again.

1 year ago

Judging from his swims this weekend, it seems like Milak’s coach is probably having him get some speed work in this month before the taper starts!

Joris Bohnson
1 year ago

This is dope!

Coach Johnson
1 year ago

Excellent job .
That’s my girl.
Al Johnson

Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

The Cal guys (Gonzalez here, the guys at Wave 1) are swimming really well. Bodes well for the wave 2 guys.

1 year ago

Beautiful stroke, tempo and a wonderful lady!

1 year ago

I know people hate on efimova for doping but I still do wish she was swimming it just cuz she has such a nice stroke and I’m overall just a fan of fast swims.

Reply to  Virtus
1 year ago

A large number of people just hate Russian athletes in general. Even if it’s just some members that have been caught out by drug trials or anything scandalous

Fresh Cuts
Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
1 year ago

I don’t like efimova, but I’m a huge chupkov fanboy.

Reply to  Virtus
1 year ago

Lovely stroke, but I care more about the women who’ll potentially finish 9th and 4th should she swim. An Efimova medal would be bad for the integrity of our sport

Reply to  Dee
1 year ago

I mean if she’s cleared she’s cleared it’s not our place to be a law system

Reply to  Virtus
1 year ago

If she were ugly no one would be as forgiving.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Similar overall look to Shayna & Inge. Similar build , sharp facial features & spacing . . Just a little less blonde.

Gowdy Raines
Reply to  Virtus
1 year ago

It’s funny how the SS comment crowd will never let this go with her but will throw every possible excuse out there when a US swimmer tests positive.

Reply to  Gowdy Raines
1 year ago

Right ? Efimova’s doping comes up in every comment section of articles where she’s mentionned, but when it’s Lochte it’s just times, hoping he’ll make the US Team and trying to predict how fast he’ll go because “he’s slow in season” and “he’s a taper beast”. Some people would even want to see him in the ISL…..
I don’t have any issue with Lochte in particular, he’s a great athlete. It’s just the way both cases are dealt with that bothers me.
I’m all for zero tolerance and heavy testing, but I know that wouldn’t work well with the finances (and the athletes’ well being, imagine getting stung repeteadly in the arm by someone at 6am before morning practice…)

Last edited 1 year ago by CasualSwimmer
The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Dee
1 year ago

Are energy bars and melodium from the health food store any different to what Team GB got up to: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/53379876
It needs to be viewed in perspective. She didn’t do the “hard stuff” like some who now get a free pass on here.

1 year ago

Is Efimova actually not swimming the 200 Breast in Tokyo? After getting Bronze in euros and now going 2:21 surely she has to be picked over Temnikova, right?

Reply to  maybe?
1 year ago

Temnikova is going to get suddenly ill in July and not be able to compete it ain’t rocket science

Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

don’t forget about the scandal of the hydraulic pressed vials of blood that will be mentioned

Olympic roster
Reply to  maybe?
1 year ago

It looks like Temnikova may swim the individual medley in Tokyo with her OST

Reply to  maybe?
1 year ago
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

You believe the Russians? What if she goes sub 2:21?

Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

Lol who believes Russians

Reply to  maybe?
1 year ago

Woah what’s up with the downvotes I was only asking a question

Reply to  maybe?
1 year ago

You asked a correct question. Who told that the selection process via one meet three months prior of OG is the fairest one. It’s not better or worse than selection for World Championships one year in advance. There are actually plenty of different selection processes implemented by different national swimming associations and there is no criteria can be used to choose the one that is “the best”. The only concern here is which one is less prone for corruption. And there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Russian selection system isn’t the one.

Reply to  maybe?
1 year ago

easy to swim fast as you have nothing lose, winners win when needed, sore losers whine months and months