Day 3 in Moscow absolutely lit up the scoreboard, including an onslaught of the international top-15 lists.
Yulia Efimova is a rising star in the breaststroke races (she’s looking like the only swimmer with enough upside to have a chance at Rebecca Soni in either distance by London), and took the 10o meter title in 1:07.44 (8th in the world). As one of our readers pointed out, Efimova has spent some time early this year training with Dave Salo at USC and his elite breaststroke group (really, who wouldn’t?), and she’s one to watch for a possible full-time move to Los Angeles following the World Championships.
Oksana Serikova won the women’s 50 free in 25.45. This is a fairly lackluster time for a champion at a meet as prestigious as this one, and isn’t a FINA A-cut. Serikova is actually a Ukranian (the top Russian finisher was Svetlana Fedulova, who is the short course record holder, in 25.49) which shows a lack of sprinting depth on the Russian women’s side. Veronika Popova, who set the National Record in the 100 free on day 2, skipped this race to focus on her 200 IM semi-final, where she took the top seed in 2:11.73 (7th in the world). Based on her 100 time, however, there’s little doubt that she would’ve won the 50 if entered.
Anastasia Zueva is best known for her exploits in the 50 backstroke, where she broke the World Record 4 times before she could get FINA to recognize one. In the two years since then, however, she’s definitely come a long way in the 200, where she posted the 2nd-best time in the world (behind Belinda Hocking) at 2:07.91. She is only 20-years old, and is part of the young Russian contingent (along with Efimova) who is bringing Russian women’s swimming to a new level internationally.
The Russian men put on a show in the 200 free, one of the more anticipated races of the whole meet, and this whole Championship Trials season for that matter, and not-surprisingly, the teenager Danila Izotov has overtaken the mantle in this event from Nikita Lobintsev. Izotov took the win in 1:46.14, which places him 3rd in the world this season (including behind another teen, Yannick Agnel, with whom Izotov is developing an incredible rivalry). The final two spots in the A-relay for Shanghai (in Russia’s best relay) will go to Aleksander Sukhorukov and Evgeny Lagunov. Andrey Ushakov, fresh off of his Youth Olympic Games Championship in this race, broke the 1:50 barrier to take 6th place and a possible prelims swim this summer. Before London, he could be that missing 4th piece to a really killer Russian relay for London.
In the men’s 200 breaststroke, Anton Lobanov touched in 2:11.50, the world’s 13th-best time this year. He will be joined in Shanghai by the runner-up Grigory Falko, who finished in 2:12.34. In the other men’s final of the day, Nikita Konovalov won in 23.88 (hes semi’s time of 23.87 is 11th in the world). Evgeny Korotyshkin finished 2nd in 23.95 (also in the top 15 in the world), after winning the 100 fly on day 2. This is a bit of a disappointing time for him, at more than half-a-second off of what he went at Euro’s last year.
Yelena Sokolova won the women’s 800 free in 8:37.73, which is a FINA B-cut.