The Russians reacted harshly to the doping violations of two of its elite senior-level swimmers earlier this year, but a junior swimmer who is a month ahead of receiving simply a reprimand has vaulted to the lead of the Russian (and near the top of the World) backstroke rankings.
At the 7th Cup of Russia from March 7th-10th in Tyumen, Russia, 14-year old Daria Ustinova swam in long course: a 29.05 50 backstroke (ranked 2nd in Russia this year), a 1:01.84 in the 100 backstroke, and a 2:11.54 in the 200 backstroke, both of which put her in the top 15 in the world this year. Those times are not far off of what American Missy Franklin was going at the same age (Franklin was 1:00.5 and 2:09.1). Ustinova could approach Franklin’s times as she doesn’t age up until August 29th – after her presumed summer taper.
What’s a little unnerving, however, is that on February 5th, 2013, just a month before these swims, Ustinova received a “reprimand” from the All-Russian Swimming Federation for an anti-doping rule violation, according to RUSADA: Russia’s testing agency. No further specifics were given other than saying it was a rule violation, so its hard to know if this was some procedural issue or an actual positive test, but with her recent times, questions about her results will linger until more information is made public.