Veronika Popova is ripping apart the Russian record books in Miscow. On the tail of her 100 free National Record from day 2, she set the 200 free long course record today thanks to her event-winning time of 1:56.94. This clears Yelena Sokolova’s mark of 1:57.96, from 2009, by over a second, and ranks Popova 6th in the world this year. Sokolova had a front-row seat to her record being broken, as she finished 2nd in the race in 2:00.00.
Popova would come back later in the meet and anchor the winning medley relay team with a 53.82 100 free split, which shows that despite 3 individual wins, and now a relay title, she’s not wearing down at all.
This has really been a meet dominated by the swims on the women’s side (though both the men and women have been impressive), and Anastasia Zueva continued that trend with a great time of 59.51 in the women’s 100 backstroke semi-finals. This is the 2nd-best time in the world, behind only Japan’s Aya Terakawa. That’s Zueva’s best time since 2009, where she finished 2nd at the World Championships. She now ranks in the top 3 in the world in all three backstroke distances, and is a serious threat to win at least a few medals in Shanghai.
In the other women’s final on day 5, Irina Bespalova won the women’s 100 fly in 58.99. This time leaves her just shy of a World Championships automatic cut, per Russian standards, and it will be up to the National Team coaches if they choose to add her to the roster (though she’s likely earned a medley relay spot). The nearly 30-year old is a veteran presence for the Russian squad, and is likely in her last Olympic cycle.
The men’s side didn’t have the same fireworks as the women displayed, but there were still some solid swims. Nikolay Skvortsov won the men’s 200 fly in 1:56.43, which is good enough to qualify him for Shanghai and rank him 11th in the world this year. Like much of the Russian squad, Skvortsov is a little better in short course lately (including breaking the 200 fly SCM World Record in 2008 and again in 2009), but has some history in long course, including the bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships.
The women’s 1500 didn’t produce all that fast of times, but it did produce some great strategic racing. Runner-up Anastasia Ivaneko had one of the oddest race patterns I’ve ever seen. About every 4th or 5th 50, she’s absolutely crush a lap, and pull very close to Ekaterina Seliverstova. Seliverstova was very consistent, swimming 26 of her 30 lengths between 33.1 and 33.6. Ivaneko made her final push on the last 100, but couldn’t quite clip her counterpart. Seliverstova won in 16;32.94, to Ivaneko’s 16:32.97 in a great strategic race.
The men’s 100 free will be a dogfight, as the top 4 swimmers in the semi-finals (Andrei Grechin, Evgeny Lagunov, Danila Izotov, and Nikita Lobintsev) all went 48.9’s. Vlad Morozov will be swimming in an outside lane in tomorrow’s final, as he tied for 7th with a 49.67.