At the conclusion of the 2-day Salnikov Swim Cup in St. Petersburg, the All-Russia Swimming Federation announced its annual award winners for 2017. Yulia Efimova won the highest-regarded Sportswoman of the Year honor, while World Champions Evgeny Rylov and Anton Chupkov shared Sportsman of the Year honors. Evgeny Drattsev won Open Water Swimmer of the Year after a bronze medal in the 25k at Worlds.
Efimova won the award after taking a gold medal in the 200 breaststroke at the World Championships, which she added to 3 other medals: silver in the 50, bronze in the 100, and silver as part of the women’s 400 medley relay.
This has been the first season in a while in which Efimova hasn’t been under an imminent cloud of doping, though after being hit with a 16-month doping suspension in 2014, and testing positive, but ultimately receiving a reprieve from FINA for, meldonium in 2016, there will always be lingering questions about her performances.
Her father, Andrei Efimov, was given a Coach of the Year honor – as were the coaches of all 4 honored swimmers of the year. Efimova’s father took over her coaching while her ability to compete with an organized team was barred or in question during her two doping sagas.
The men’s Sportsman of the Year honors were shared by Rylov and Chupkov. Rylov swam just 1 individual event at the World Championships, the 200 backstroke, in which he won a gold medal and set a new European Record in 1:53.61. With that win, and with a surgically-repaired shoulder, he sits at the front of the class of a crowded Russian backstroke group that includes newly-minted World Record holder Kliment Kolesnikov as the strength of the Russian federation.
Chupkov likewise swam just a single individual event at the World Championships, the 200 breaststroke, which he won and set Championship Records in with both his 2:07.14 in semi-finals and a 2:06.96 in finals.
Both also won bronze medals as members of Russia’s National Record-setting men’s 400 medley relay. Chupkov swam the breaststroke leg in prelims before giving way to Kirill Prigoda, while Rylov led off the finals relay.
Their coaches Alexander Nemtyrov and Andrei Shishin, respectively, were honored as Coaches of the Year.
Evgeny Drattsev finished 8th in the men’s 10k and won bronze in the 25k at the World Championships, making him the only Russian to medal in the discipline in Budapest. His coach Alexander Petryaev was honored with a coaching honor.
- Discovery of the Year – Andrei Minakov (3-time World Junior Champion, 6-time European Youth Olympic Festival Champion), and coach Andrey Nikola Lugovkin.
- Discovery of the Year – Alexandra Sabitova (Russian Junior Record holder, 3-time Russian Champion) and coach Nikiga Lugvkin.
- Discovery of the Year – Ekaterina Zotova (European Junior Champion in 5km relay, European Junior silver medalist in individual 5K)
- People’s Choice – Kliment Kolesnikov (4-time European Champion, World-Record breaker, 4th at Worlds), receiving 30% of the vote.
- Journalist of the Year – Anna Kozina, chairman of FINA Media Committee
- Photographer of the Year – Alexei Savhenko, founder, RUSSPORTIMAGE
- And several other more administrative awards.
Russian Achievements in 2017:
- 2 World Records
- 10 European Records
- 56 Russian Records
- 19 World Junior Records
- 21 European Junior Records
- 47 Russian Junior Records
Among those, Kolesnikov was responsible for:
- 2 World Records (including on a relay)
- 2 European Records
- 3 Russian Records
- 18 World Junior Records
- 17 European Junior Records
- 22 Russian Junior Records