The HardCore Swim of the week goes to Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova for her Naitonal Record setting 100 meter fly swim of 58.22 on Wednesday.
Though the Russian Championship in Moscow this past week is the lesser of the two first-half national championship events (it is the selector for the Junior World Championships roster, as compared to the Russian Cup in April that selected the senior World Championship roster), Chimrova’s swim was one of the three biggest explosions in Russian swimming in 2013.
One was Vlad Morozov at the American collegiate championships in yards, followed by his first sub-48 in the 100 long course meter freestyle; the second was 14-year old backstroker Darina Ustinova who is putting up Missy Franklin-like times; and now the 17-year old butterflier Chimrova.
Her swim knocked a tenth-of-a-second off of the old record set by Natalia Sutyagina in 2008.
That time is quite a bit faster, for example, than any American 17-year old has been in the race. In the bigger picture, the Russian women suddenly look like they could have a very good medley relay in time for their home 2015 World Championships in Kazaan. Chimrova would have two more years under her belt and one might guess at least a 57 flat-start by then. Breaststroker Yulia Efimova, one of the best in the world, will still be a young woman at just 23 years old. Freestyler Veronika Popova (who won the 100 fly at the Russian Cup) won’t be much older at only 24. And the oldest of the group, backstroker Anastasia Zueva who took silver in the 100 in Shanghai in 2011, will only be 25. She’s been battling injury, and if not healthy, Ustinova could be coming into her own at the international level by then anyway.
The added bonus is that this may take some pressure off of Popova to push her butterfly races and allow her (or perhaps give her more reason to) focus on the sprint freestyles, where she has World-finals potential.
The Russian women were 4th in the medley at the 2012 London Olympics, and with a young powerful foursome now capped off by Chimrova’s potential, all signs point toward medalists in the medley in Rio. That would be a welcome sign for the Russian women, who unlike the relative power of the men’s program has only stood atop the pool swimming podium three times since the post-Unified 1996 Olympics, with none of those coming in relays.
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