European Junior Championship-winning swimmer Tatiana Belonogoff has received approval from FINA to change her sporting citizenship from British to Russian. SwimSwam’s Loretta Race broke the news of her plans in February.
Belongoff, who was born on July 16, 2001, is able to fully represent Russia at international competitions as of Thursday, September 10, 2020.
Belonogoff has lived her whole live in the UK to a Russian mother who ‘had a huge influence’ on her daughter’s upbringing. She spent most of her life training under the Guildford City club southwest of London. In June of 2019, she moved to Russia where she has been training with St. Petersburg. Because she represented Great Britain internationally already, to represent Russia, she had to spend at least 6 months across a year-long period living in her new country to receive Russian ‘sporting citizenship’ under FINA rules.
Belonogoff took gold in the women’s 50m breast at the aforementioned 2018 European Junior Championships in Helsinki. At last year’s British Championships, the teen placed 3rd in the 50m breast and 2nd in the 100m breast. In fact, she ranks as Great Britain’s 11th fastest 100m breaststroker of all time with her PB of 1:07.61.
Belonogoff raced at the 2019 Russian National Championships (short course) in November as well as at the Salnikov Cup in December.
Best Times in LCM/SCM:
- 50 breast – 31.29/30.30
- 100 breast – 1:07.61/1:05.39
- 200 breast – 2:26.59/2:27.09
Belonogoff is actually the top-ranked Russian women in the 50, 100, and 200 breaststroke in the calendar year 2020, although that’s a little slanted given the shutdown related to the coronavirus. Russia has hosted some open water races since resuming swimming post-quarantine, and have by-and-large resumed training, but haven’t held any competitions.
Speaking more globally, the breaststroke events in Russia are stacked heading into the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
At the top of the heap is controversial 28-year old Yulia Efimova, who is the defending World Champion in the 200 breaststroke and a three-time Olympic medalist individually in the breaststrokes.
Not far behind is Anna Belousova, who just completed her college career in the United States at Texas A&M University.
In the 200, especially, the name to watch is Evgeniia Chikunova, who at only 15-years old in 2019 swam 2:21.07 in the 200 breaststroke, one of the fastest times in the world.
Russia also counts among its youth ranks 17-year old Anastasia Makarova, who was 4th at the World Junior Championships in 2019, just .17 seconds behind Chikunova, who won the title.
Belongoff can swim all three breaststroke distances, but the 100 right now seems the much more open event for Olympic placements.
Russia’s Top Performers, 100m Breaststroke, since 2016 Rio Olympics:
- 1:04.98 – Yulia Efimova, 2018 Sette Colli
- 1:06.34 – Anna Belousova, 2019 Russian Trials
- 1:06.91 – Natalia Ivaneeva, 2017 Russian National Championships
- 1:06.93 – Evgeniia Chikunova, 2019 World Junior Championships
- 1:07.10 – Anastasia Makarova, 2019 World Junior Championships
- 1:07.36 – Daria Chikunova, 2018 Russian Championships
- 1:07.56 – Vitalina Simonova, 2018 World Cup – Kazan
- 1:07.67 – Maria Kiseleva (Teminkova), 2019 FINA World Cup – Kazan
- 1:07.92 – Tatiana Belonogoff, 2020 Golden Tour Muffat in Nice, France