Ilia Sibirtsev Qualifies for Paris Olympics in 800 Free (7:50.05) at Mel Zajac Jr. Meet

59TH ANNUAL MEL ZAJAC JR. INTERNATIONAL SWIM MEET

Ilia Sibirtsev punched his ticket to the Paris Olympics in the 800 freestyle on Friday, clearing the qualifying standard with a 7:50.05 at the Mel Zajac Jr. International Swim Meet in Vancouver, Canada.

Sibirtsev had been under the Olympic ‘A’ cut (7:51.65) before with his personal-best 7:48.05 from 2019, but not during the current qualifying window. With just two days remaining until the June 23 deadline to qualify, he lowered his 7:53.87 from February’s World Championships by almost four seconds.

Sibirtsev is from Russia, but he will represent Uzbekistan in Paris next month after having his sporting nationality switch approved by World Aquatics this year. The move did not go over well with the Russian Swimming Federation, whose president, Vladimir Salnikov, reportedly vowed to conduct a thorough review of his transfer to ensure compliance with governing regulations.

Sibirtsev recently wrapped up his NCAA career as a fifth year at Louisville, where he placed 8th in the 1650-yard free (14:41.87) at the 2024 NCAA Championships in March.

Canadian Olympic medal contenders Maggie MacNeil, Ilya Kharun, and Josh Liendo were all in action on Friday in the 50 butterfly, though Liendo ended up scratching out of the final.

MacNeil, who’s aiming next month to become the first back-to-back Olympic champion in the women’s 100 fly, dominated the women’s 50 fly with a winning time of 26.13. The 24-year-old narrowly missed her personal-best 25.97 from 2022.

Kharun, a rising sophomore at Arizona State, claimed the men’s 50 fly crown in 23.35. The 19-year-old has been as fast as 23.27 at last year’s World Championships. Liendo scratched 50 fly final after qualifying 2nd in prelims at 23.90, more than half a second off his lifetime best of 23.27 from last April.

Irish record holder Mona McSharry cruised to victory in the women’s 100 breast (1:06.44), but she was even faster in prelims at 1:06.32. She was just a couple tenths off her season-best 1:06.11 from February’s World Championships, which ranks 15th in the world.

Yeziel Morales lowered his Puerto Rican record in the men’s 200 backstroke from 1:58.30 last month to 1:57.97 in prelims, just off the Olympic ‘A’ cut of 1:57.50. The Mission Viejo Nadadores 28-year-old couldn’t quite repeat the feat in the final, placing 2nd behind Aiden Norman (1:58.56). Norman was just a couple tenths off his personal-best 1:58.30 from last month’s Canadian Olympic Trials, where he ultimately placed 3rd in 1:58.92.

Other Highlights

  • Tennessee commit (‘24) Ella Jansen took the women’s 400 IM title in 4:41.48. She placed 2nd at last month’s Olympic Trials in 4:38.88 — outside the qualifying standard of 4:38.53 — but she cleared that mark with her runner-up finish at World Juniors last September (4:37.35).
  • Emma O’Croinin captured the women’s 200 free crown in 2:00.54, but she was even quicker during prelims at 2:00.12 in prelims. She earned her first Olympic berth with a 4th-place finish (1:57.86) at last month’s Olympic Trials, making her a likely pick for Canada’s 4×200 free relay.
  • Lorne Wigginton triumphed in the men’s 400 IM with a time of 4:19.95. The Michigan commit (‘24) placed 2nd at Canadian Olympic Trials last month in 4:13.60, just off his personal-best 4:12.81 from his 3rd-place finish at World Juniors last September. The Olympic ‘A’ cut is 4:12.50.
  • UBC Thunderbirds’ Bridget Burton prevailed in the women’s 200 back (2:14.44), just a few tenths off her personal-best 2:12.14 from last month’s Canadian Olympic Trials.
  • Mexico’s Miguel De Lara delivered a 100 breast victory in 1:00.73, about half a second shy of his personal-best 1:00.14 from last April. The Olympic ‘A’ cut sits at 59.49.
  • Christian Sztolcman, an Auburn graduate from Poland, pulled out a win in the men’s 200 free (1:48.07). He dropped .18 seconds off his previous-best 1:48.25 from April, but he’s still more than a second outside the Olympic ‘A’ cut of 1:46.26.

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juddy96
28 days ago

Mona McSharry obliterated Irish record and OQT in the 200br heats today, maybe won’t swim finals?

DerbyContender
28 days ago

Поздравляю!

Congratulations, Ilia! Louisville is proud of you!

Genevieve Nnaji
28 days ago

Salnikov, you were a great and legendary swimmer.

You s*ck as politician!

anty75
Reply to  Genevieve Nnaji
28 days ago

Same unfortunately can be said about Alex Popov, another Putin’s puppet

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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