NCAA Champ Andrei Minakov to Skip Next Week’s Russian Championships

by Michael Hamann 9

April 19th, 2022 Europe, International, News

Andrei Minakov, who just completed his first season with the Stanford Cardinal in the NCAA, has confirmed through Russian media that he will not be attending next week’s Russian Championships in Kazan. While Minakov declined to address his international schedule during interviews at NCAAs, he has now made his intentions clear for the competition slated to begin on April 24th. 

The meet would have served as Russia’s qualifying meet for the summer’s World Championships, but FINA announced last month that both Russia and Belarus would be banned from the World Championships due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. LEN, the European aquatics governing body also banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from its competitions due to the war. At the 2019 World Championships, Minakov broke onto the senior international scene to win the silver medal in the 100 fly. 

Despite being banned from FINA and LEN competitions, Russian Swimming Federation President Vladimir Salnikov has said that the Russian National Team will compete internationally with friendly nations, including Belarus, this summer. While it is unclear how his absence from these championships may impact his ability to compete with the Russian team this summer, Minakov stated that the decision to pass on the Russian Championships was made in conjunction with national team leadership, including Salnikov and head coach Sergei Chepik

Minakov said that the decision to skip the championships was “difficult,” citing “complicated” circumstances in the United States and at Stanford that helped lead to his decision. 

Stanford’s Academic Calendar differs from many colleges in the United States, utilizing the quarter system, as opposed to the more traditional two-semester year. Stanford’s Spring Quarter started just a few weeks ago and final exams are slated to take place June 3rd-8th, nearly a month later than many colleges around the country.

Minakov had a fantastic first NCAA season at Stanford, leading a resurgent Cardinal to a 7th place finish at NCAAs. He played a key role on all five of Stanford’s relays and also won the 100 fly title in 43.71. In his other individual event, the 100 free, Minakov finished 3rd overall in a 41.09. 

Despite 2021-22 being his first season in the NCAA, Minakov was listed as a sophomore on NCAA psych sheets, raising some questions regarding his eligibility. He later confirmed to SwimSwam that he is a sophomore academically at Stanford and but still has three seasons of eligibility remaining at Stanford, though he has yet to decide whether he will use all four seasons of eligibility. 

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9 months ago

Send him and all his ‘comrades’ back to Russia for good. No more Russian athletes training in the States. How many US athletes are on a scholarship in Russia?

Werner Swimzog
9 months ago

idea for a russian reality tv show: “You got conscripted!” expats land at the airport and find they are forced to fight in ukraine

9 months ago

I hope it was in protest against what Russia is doing, and smart of him not to detail why he is doing so.

9 months ago

Russia may pull an AFC Richmond and send the swimmers off to war.

Human Ambition
9 months ago

Given the situation in Ukraine Russian Visas may not be guaranteed. The Bureau of Counterterrorism lists criteria that by their means makes Russia a terrorist state.

Tommy Schmitt
Reply to  Human Ambition
9 months ago

I mean just logistically, it would be a nightmare for him to even find a flight to get into Russia …

Reply to  Tommy Schmitt
9 months ago

Two minutes found me a flight from Denver to Moscow through Turkey, not that hard.

Ole 99
Reply to  Swimpop
9 months ago

Be interested to see if you get pinged for extra screening next time you fly.

Reply to  Swimpop
9 months ago

Hungry too