Backstroker Grigory Tarasevich has been named to the Russian Olympic team as a late addition, getting the nod by virtue of his performance in the 200 back at the 2021 European Championships in May.
Tarasevich, who will now be a two-time Olympian after representing Russia at the 2016 Games in Rio, had narrowly missed the FINA ‘A’ standard of 1:57.50 at the Russian Olympic Trials in April, placing second to countryman Evgeny Rylov in the final in 1:57.54.
However, after getting named to the country’s European Championship roster, Tarasevich took full advantage of the opportunity and threw down a time of 1:57.41 in the prelims in Budapest, earning him a spot on the team. He ultimately finished 10th in the semi-finals (1:57.68).
— UofL Swim&Dive (@UofLswim_dive) June 10, 2021
“It is hard to overstate what this means for me, competing in Tokyo was my biggest goal for the past five years for which I had to put the start of my engineering career aside,” Tarasevich told SwimSwam. “And while this journey in itself would be worth it thanks to all the amazing people I met, raced and trained with along the way, I am extremely happy and thankful that I get a chance to compete at the Olympics.
“This also means that I get to keep my spot on the wall poster of UofL pool (low key one of my biggest motivations), which is getting pretty crowded lately with all the Olympians and new NCAA champions.”
The 25-year-old went well under the FINA ‘A’ cut in the 100 back (53.85) at both Russian Trials (52.93) and the Euro prelims (53.55), but was locked out of Olympic qualification due to Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov going 1-2 at Trials.
Tarasevich, a former member of the Louisville Cardinals, finished ninth in the 100 back at the 2016 Olympic Games, and also swam on the prelim squad of the men’s 400 medley relay that ultimately finished fourth in the final.
The Omsk, Russia native owns a bronze medal from the 2017 LC World Championships in the men’s 400 medley relay, along with a pair of SC World gold medals from the 2016 Championships in Windsor, Ontario (men’s 200, 400 medley relays).
Individually, Tarasevich won silver in the 100 back and bronze in the 50 back at the 2016 European Championships, and he also won a trio of medals at the 2019 World University Games in the backstroke events (100m gold, 200m silver, 50m bronze).
The Russian Olympic roster climbs to 34 after the All-Russia Swimming Federation announced their tentative roster of 33 in late April.