Grechin Goes 48.0 in 100 Free in first WUGs Session

Day 1 of the 2013 World University Games started off with a bang, especially for the North American contingent, as well as a world-zapping sprint from a Russian.

That included nearly another new National Record for Katerine Savard in the women’s 50 fly when she went a 26.36 to take the top seed overall in the event ahead of Aleksandra Herasimenia of Belarus in 26.48.

That swim for Savard was just off of her best of 26.20 set a week ago in her native Quebec at a stop on the Canada Cup tour.

Holly Barratt from Australia and Kelsey Floyd from the US were just behind them in what looks like it will be a battle for bronze.

In the men’s 400 free, Kohei Yamamoto from Japan took the top seed in 3:50.83, followed by Australia’s Ryan Napoleon in 3:51.16. The second Japanese swimmer Fumiya Hidaka sits 3rd in 3:52.40; the Japanese typically perform very well at this meet, and though the 2013 edition of the team doesn’t have anywhere near the level of names as we’ve seen in other years, this race showed that they’re still a very capable group.

The two Americans sit 4th and 5th, with Jake Ritter and Alex Wold both in 3:52-mids.

The first top seed for the Americans went to Jacob Pebley, who was a 54.32. That’s just a few-tenths from his lifetime best set at the World Championship Trials in Indianapolis two weeks ago.

Japan’s Yuki Shirai took the 2nd seed in 54.34, and a tie for 3rd went to Russia’s Vitalii Melnikov and Australia’s Ben Treffers in 54.57. France’s Eric Ress and the United States’ James Wells both made it back in the second-half of the top 16.

The U.S. got onto a little bit of a roll after Pebley’s top seed. USC’s Meghan Hawthorne(4:42.44) and Texas A&M’s Sarah Henry (4:43.67) took the top two seeds headed into the final of the women’s 400 IM. That’s a pretty impressive field that includes a 4:43 from Japan’s Sakiko Shimizu, and will also feature Barbara Zavadova from the Czech Republic and the two Canadians Tianna Rissling and Marni Oldershaw.

Russia’s Kirill Strelnikov made a case that he is sharp for the World Championships with the top seed in the men’s 100 breaststroke in 1:00.44. He was one of three swimmers under 1:01 in this prelim, including American Mike Alexandrov (1:00.76) and Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki (1:00.81). Stelnikov’s Russian teammate, Viatcheslav Sinkevich, is 8th in 1:01.61, and he will be a contender in the 200 meter race here.

Australia’s Hayle White took the top seed in the women’s 200 backstroke with a 2:11.48; the two Americans Ellen Williamson and Kendyl Stewart sit 2nd and 4th, respectively, in 2:11.7 and 2:12.62.

Also in the top 5 there is Daryna Zevina from the Ukraine, who is probably the favorite to win this race despite being a full second behind the top-seeded White in prelims.

Russia’s Nikita Konovalov was the top honors in the men’s 50 fly in 23.60, followed by Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin in 23.68. In total, six swimmers were under 24 seconds in that race, include the Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov and Canadian University star Kelly Aspinall. The top-finishing American in that event was Arizona’s Giles Smith in a tie for 10th at 24.19, where he tied with another big Canadian college swimmer Coleman Allen.

A busy morning session closed with the 400 free relays, where the Russian women broke a Universiade Record with a 3:40.00 that included a 54.61 lead-off from Veronika Popova. That shaved .03 seconds off of the time done by the Australians in 2011 in Shenzen.

The Americans were close behind, though, in 3:40.38, as Andi Murez split 54.13 on their 3rd leg. That relay was led off by a pair of Cal Bears in Rachael Acker (55.76) and Liv Jensen (55.96), with Jensen being the key leg if the Americans want to run down the less explosive, but more balanced, Russians. Megan Romano anchored the relay in 54.53: a good first international shot-over-the-bow for her.

The Canadians were a second back of the Americans in the 3rd seed with a 3:41.41.

And finally, in the men’s 400 free relay, the same 1-2 finish order came with a World University games record-destroying performance by the Russians of 3:13.70. That knocked a full second off of the Americans’ 2009 Meet Record, and featured a 48.05 lead-off by Andrey Grechin that in itself was a new WUG’s Record, and probably the swim of the morning.

The Americans were second in 3:17.42, a gap that will be very hard to make up, though their anchor Michael Wynalda did a very good job in 48.62. The Australians sit 3rd in 3:19.37.

More globally speaking, Grechin’s performance thrusts the Russians right back into the spotlight to perhaps be the World Champions in the 400 free relay. They’ve at least declared that it won’t be an Australian runaway.

All Americans made it back for evening swims at this meet that, like the Olympics, features semi-finals for all individual races under 400 meters.

A reminder: all of the information you need to follow the meet can be found here.

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CoachGB
9 years ago

Two famous names in World History in the men’s 400 free.

Philip Johnson
9 years ago

Romano split a 52.90 as the anchor leg.

beachmouse
Reply to  Philip Johnson
9 years ago

Be interesting to see if she can hold that form through WCs. The Australians aren’t as much of a relay lock as some might think.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  beachmouse
9 years ago

Romano will definitely be the anchor leg for sure, with Franklin leading it off.

Philip Johnson
9 years ago

It seems kind of unfair to all those collegiate swimmers to be blown away by a Russian team that’s going to contend for gold at the World Championships, that was a massacre. Just imagine when they have competition, they are going to be scary good.

Tea
9 years ago

Sorry if I’m late to the game on this, but what does it take to qualify for WUG?

I though Mike Alexandrov graduated college 6 years ago, but here he is. Korzeniowski, etc… many swimmers who are way outside of typical college age. Can you just take one community college class, and be on the WUG team?

9 years ago

Without Lobintsev and Izotov RUS went 3:10:88!!

ambresolaire
Reply to  Rafael Teixeira
9 years ago

Lobintsev and Izotov both swam in the final

Reply to  ambresolaire
9 years ago

Sorry.. got on the site and it did not list their names as part of the team..

aswimfan
Reply to  ambresolaire
9 years ago

Whats the splits?

with this 3:10, again, RUS is only re-confirming they are THE hot favorites for m4x100 free, if the prelims didn’t convince you already.

Not saying the hot favorites will win though.

Reply to  aswimfan
9 years ago

47,98
47,92
47,14
47,84

Reply to  ambresolaire
9 years ago

ambre

If you check the site it says this

TEAM INFORMATION
Category Information
Team name RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Country Code
RUS – Russian Federation
Team members FESIKOV Sergey, GRECHIN Andrey, LAGUNOV Evgeny, MOROZOV Vladimir, SUKHORUKOV Alexander
Event List Swimming Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay

Not a mention to Lobintsev and Izotov..

john26
Reply to  Rafael Teixeira
9 years ago

Who on earth swam the 3rd leg? 47.14?

aswimfan
Reply to  john26
9 years ago

probably Morozov.

john26
Reply to  aswimfan
9 years ago

was he there? I didn’t know the whole quartet was going to be at this meet

Philip Johnson
Reply to  john26
9 years ago

just tells you how seriously they are taking this event, swimming all of their “A” swimmers at these games.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  john26
9 years ago

Morozov swam that leg, he is a beast and deftinaly not a short course swimmer.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Philip Johnson
9 years ago

a 21.66 first 50 by Vlad..

Reply to  Philip Johnson
9 years ago

with that RT? It does not mean he will go 21.3 on 50 free flat start..

Reply to  Philip Johnson
9 years ago

I mean,, with WHAT RT?

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Philip Johnson
9 years ago
9 years ago

47.98 by grechin on the final..

john26
9 years ago

IMO This race has never looked competitive.

I still wouldn’t say that the Russians go in as the Gold Medal favorite, though. The russians, historically, if you look at their relay splits from recent championships, have had poor take offs (+0.4) which could result in a lesser rank that theyre capable of.

On the other hand, even in light of latest swims, the Russians still do not look poised to go sub 3:10, which I personally believe is achievable for team Australia, and France if the latter shows up on form.

bobo gigi
9 years ago

I’m more sceptical about Russian track and field than Russian swimming but I admit it’s a little scary. All these recent cases about young swimmers are worrying. They probably want to finish first in the medal table at the track and field world championships this year in Moscow. They probably have the same dream in Kazan for swimming in 2015. Hopefully the cheaters will be caught in time.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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