The hometown fans in Kazan, Russia certainly had something to cheer about on the fourth night of the World University Games as Russian athletes put themselves on the top position of the podium in three out of the seven finals of the evening. The winners included Viktoriiya Andreeva in the 200 IM, Viatcheslav Sinkevich in the 200 breaststroke and Anastasia Zueva in the 100 backstroke. The home country also collected two silvers with Vlad Morozov finishing second in the 50 backstroke and the women finishing second in 4 x 200 freestyle relay team.
Women’s 1500 freestyle
For the second night in a row the World University Games began with an American winning and setting a new games record time in the 1500 freestyle. Last evening Sean Ryan won the event in a time of 14:57.33, tonight it was Stephanie Peacock winning the women’s event in a time of 16:04.44, bettering the games record of 16:05.29, which was held by Flavia Rigamonti of Switzerland in 2007.
This is an excellent swim for Peacock who has battled illness that kept her out of several key competitions throughout the season. The University of North Carolina swimmer had an incredible 2012 season winning the 2012 NCAA Championships in the 1650 yard freestyle breaking Janet Evans record that stood for 22 years, becoming the first UNC swimmer to win an NCAA title since 2003.
For Peacock, who had posted a season’s best of 16:33.47 at the Charlotte Grand Prix in May, this is an extremely positive end to a challenging year. Her winning time ranks her fourth in the world, putting her back into the mix of top competitors on the international stage.
Peacock’s American teammate Ashley Steenvoorden finished second in a season’s and lifetime best time of 16:07.89. This is the first time that Steenvoorden has raced this distance on the international stage.
Martina Rita Caramignoli of Italy finished third in a time of 16:19.71. Caramignoli recorded a lifetime best of 16:11.68 in June.
Fellow Italian Aurora Ponsele, who is an open water specialist, finished fourth just under her lifetime best of 16:24.01.
Julia Hassler finished fifth in a new Liechtenstein national record time of 16:25.66, breaking her own record of 16:31.66 set in 2012.
Japan’s Ayano Koguchi finished sixth in a time of 16:35.95, Claudia Dasca Romeu finished seventh in a time of 16:39.82 and Jessica Walker of Australia finished eighth in a time of 16:48.80.
Women’s 200 IM
Russian Viktoriiya Andreeva took the women’s 200 IM in a time of 2:12.32. This race was a tremendous battle between Andreeva and Americans Sarah Henry and Melanie Margalis. Andreeva had the lead at the halfway point where Margalis overtook the Russian splitting a time of 37.18 in the breaststroke, the fastest breaststroke split in the race by over a second. Margalis held the lead in the freestyle until Andreeva and Henery took over in the final 25 meters.
Henry finished second in a time of 2:12.69 followed by Margalis who posted a 2:12.96.
Andreeva will be competing in this event in Barcelona. Margalis just missed making the American World Championship team finishing third at the US trials, where she posted a lifetime best of 2:12.34, only 23 one-hundredths of a second behind Elizabeth Beisel.
Sakkio Shimizu of Japan finished fourth in a time of 2:13.02. Daria Belyakina of Russia, who is more of a 200 freestyle specialist, competing in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay in London, finished fifth in a time of 2:13.41.
The rest of the field was well behind with Alicja Tchorz of Poland finishing sixth in a time of 2:16.07, Canadian Paige Schultz finished seventh in a time of 2:17.44 and Australian Aisling Scott finished eighth in a time of 2:18.00.
Men’s 200 breaststroke
Viatcheslav Sinkevich of Russian won the men’s 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:09.78. Sinkevich who looks to be a medal contender in Barcelona posted a season’s best of 2:08.62 in April which currently ranks him fourth in the world.
Yukihiro Takahashi of Japan finished second in a season’s best time of 2:10.35.
Italian Luca Pizzini collected a bronze finishing in a time of 2:10.99, which beats his previous season’s best of 2:11.69.
Kazuki Kohinata of Japan finished fourth in a time of 2:11.34, Russian Marat Amaltdinov finished fifth in a time of 2:11.74, Flavio Bizzarri of Italy was sixth in a time of 2:11.99, American Cody Miller was seventh in a time of 2:12.10 and fellow American Mike Alexandrov was eighth in a time of 2:12.79.
Women’s 100 backstroke
This event was one of several very close finishes that saw Russian Anastasia Zueva and American Megan Romano in a battle for the 100 backstroke victory. Romano was second to fellow American Cindy Tran at the 50 turning in a time of 29.24 with Zueva turning in fifth in a time of 29.55. Zueva made her push in the final 25 meters eventually winning the event in a new games record time of 59.83, which is also ranked eighth in the world this year. Romano finished second in a time of 59.85.
Zueva broke the record of 1:00.21 set by American Jennifer Connolly in 2011. This is an outstanding swim for the 200 backstroke Olympic silver medalist as she is still recovering from surgery on her leg where a plate was inserted, a plate which will still have to be removed at some point in the future.
For Romano this is the first time she has been under the one minute barrier in the 100 backstroke, having a previous best of 1:00.19.
Australian Madison Wilson, who won the 200 backstroke on the second day of competition, finished third posting a season’s best time of 1:00.65.
Ukrainian Daryna Zevina finished fourth in a time of 1:01.00, Tran finished fifth in a time of 1:01.32, Hayle White of Australia finished sixth in a time of 1:01.46, Russian Maria Gromova finished seventh in a time of 1:01.50 and Stephanie Au of Hong Kong finished eighth in a time of 1:02.22.
Men’s 200 butterfly
The men’s 200 butterfly was a battle from start to finish between Hungarian Bence Biczo and Kenta Hirai of Japan. Coming into the race Hirai was ranked just head of Biczo in the world rankings with the two having the eighth and ninth fastest times in the world. Biczo held a slight lead the entire way with Hirai cutting that lead to only 15 one-hundredths of a second at the 150 meter mark. Biczo eventually won the event in a time of 1:55.32, which ties him with Grant Irvine of Australia for the second fastest time in the world this year. Hirai finished in a time of 1:55.90 just off his season’s best of 1:55.82.
Stefanos Dimitriadis of Greece won his country’s first medal in the swimming events at the games posting a time of 1:57.36.
Yuta Kimura of Japan finished fourth in a time of 1:58.11, Carlos Peralta Gallego of Spain was fifth in a time of 1:58.31, American Michael Flach Jr. was sixth in a time of 1:58.90, Zack Chetrat of Canada was seventh in a time of 1:58.92 and American Kyle Whitaker was eighth in a time of 2:00.49.
Men’s 50 backstroke
The men’s 50 backstroke was the closest race of the evening which saw Australian Ben Treffers out touch crowd favourite Vlad Morozov of Russian by one one-hundredth of a second. Treffers won the event in a season’s best time of 24.86 followed by Morozov who touched in a time of 24.87. The times are just outside of the world’s top ten (Morozov’s season’s best of 24.80 is currently ranked ninth).
Italian Stefano Pizzamiglio finished third in a time of 24.92.
Fellow Italian Niccolo Bonacchi finished fourth in a time of 25.05, Guy Barnea of Israel was fifth in a time of 25.25, Russian Vitalii Melnikov was sixth in a time of 25.38, Australian Daniel Arnamnart was seventh in a time of 25.41 and Junya Hasegawa of Japan was eighth in a time of 25.65.
Women’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay
The final event of the evening was another thriller, this time between the Americans and Russians in a battle for the women’s 4 x 200 freestyle. The two teams employed very different strategies, the Americans back loaded their relay putting Chelsea Chenualt and Megan Romano, their two fastest swimmers on the final two legs of the race, whereas the Russians took a more traditional approach of book ending their relay with their two fastest athletes, Veronika Popova and Viktoriya Andreeva.
Romano entered the water with a lead of seven one-hundredths of a second over Andreeva and although Andreeva gave Romano a run for her money over the last 15 meters she did not have enough to catch the American whose relayed finished with a winning time of 7:55.53. The Russians finished second in a time of 7:55.76.
The splits of the two teams were as follows:
Andrea Murez (2:00.16), Sarah Henry (1:59.58), Chelsea Chenault (1:57.88) and Megan Romano (1:57.91)
Veronika Popova (1:58.71), Daria Belyakina (1:59.07), Elena Sokolova (1:59.91) and Viktoriya Andreeva (1:58.07)
The Canadians finished third in a time of 8:02.73.
The Italians finished fourth in a time of 8:05.97, the Australians finished fifth in a time of 8:06.12, the Japanese finished sixth in a time of 8:08.07, the Swedish team finished seventh in a time of 8:18.87 and Hong Kong finished eighth in a time of 8:27.10.
Men’s 100 freestyle
In the men’s 100 freestyle semi-finals, no surprise that it was the dominant Russians who took the top two seeds. Vlad Morozov ranks number 1 in 48.76, and is followed by Nikita Lobintsev in 48.83. It’s unlikely that anybody will challenge those two, but what is likely is that their flat-start times will get closer to 48.0 in finals. Both will be shooting for the record set by their countrymate Andrey Grechin on the 400 free relay leadoff – before that swim, the mark had been a 48.3 from Will Copeland.
Women’s 100 butterfly
Katerine Savard piled some more great swimming onto her lengthening 2013 resume with a 58.18 to take easily the top seed in the women’s 100 fly semi-final. That’s still not a best time, but it does put her within striking distance of the Meet Record from 2011.
China’s Fan Guo was 2nd in 58.88, and Italy’s Elena di Liddo was 3rd in 58.89.
Women’s 200 breaststroke
In the women’s 200 breaststroke, Russia’s Yulia Efimova, already winner of the 100 meter race, won in 2:24.71. Much like she did in the 100, Efimova is swimming this event very-much on the back-half, closing in 36.57 to put a huge margin between her and first heat winner Mio Motegi, who will be the 2nd seed in finals with a 2:26.26.
Italy’s Giulia de Ascentis took 3rd in 2:27.08, and the Americans Laura Sogar and Andrea Kropp sit 4th and 5th with matching 2:27-lows.
Medal Standings after four days:
Full results can be found here