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.