The Russian Swimming Federation has revealed that one of the jewels of their swimming program, 20-year old Danila Izotov, underwent shoulder surgery at the end of August and will be out of competition through the end of 2012. That includes the entire FINA World Cup Series and the Short Course World Championships, where in 2010 he won gold in the 800 free relay and silver in the individual 200 free.
Izotov sent shockwaves through swimming when the long, lanky teenager won bronze in the 200 at the 2009 World Championships. That momentum continued through 2010, but tapered off over the last year-and-a-half. The injury to his shoulder would explain his recent struggles.
Izotov swims with the modern “gallop” stroke, breathing left and over-rotating on his right arm pull. This puts a lot of pressure on that right shoulder as it has to pull huge amounts of water to match the big hip rotation.
He only swam two races at the Olympics: the 200 free where he was far from his best and finished 8th in the final, and then the 400 free relay where the Russians took bronze. He scratched the 100 individually, and the Russian 800 free relay underachieved once again with a B-squad in prelims to miss the final altogether.
Izotov’s recovery seems to be on track; he’s already back in the water, though his coach Sergey Izotov said that he’s already back in the water, “beginning to slowly float.”
The Russian relays that have been coming through the ranks the last few years is fortunately still young enough that their window is far-from-closed. They will have another opportunity, with much more health and experience under their belts.