Kliment Kolesnikov (above) should give Russia a significant lead in the men's medley final, but the question mark will be if their young butterflier Egor Kuinov can hold it. Current photo via Giusy Cisale/SwimSwam.com
Great Britain, who wisely included Duncan Scott in their prelims 400 medley relay to ensure qualification through from a very tight prelims race, has swapped out the other 3 legs ahead of the final. 2nd-seeded Hungary too has swapped 3 of its 4 legs, while Russia has 4 fresh swimmers to throw at finals after swimming the fastest prelims time by almost two-and-a-half seconds.
The Russians will be hard to beat, given how they’ve performed at this meet and what they’ve withheld for finals.
Their finals relay includes the 100 backstroke champion Kliment Kolesnikov, the 100 breaststroke bronze medalist Anton Chupkov, and freestyle anchor Vlad Morozov who was caught-off by a subpar prelims swim in the 100 free, making him the 3rd-best in his country, and otherwise might’ve landed on the podium himself (he’s raced well otherwise, including in the 50, where he swims the final earlier in Thursday’s session).
Russia has chosen to go with Egor Kuimov on the fly leg of the medley in spite of the fact that Aleksandr Sadovnikov was two tenths faster (51.67 vs. 51.95) in the semi-finals of the 100 fly on Wednesday. Sadovnikov swam in prelims and split 52.41. The Russians are betting on Kuimov coming closer to the 51.1 on a flat-start (51.0 on a relay) that he swam at last year’s World Junior Championships.
The only relay younger than Russia’s in the final is that of Hungary, which includes 18-year old Kristof Milak on the butterfly leg. The average Hungarian swimmer in the final is 21 years, 74 days old, while the average Russian is 21 years, 84 days old.
No other teams seems to have enough pieces to swap in to keep up with the improvements from Russia, Great Britain, and Hungary in spite of a very tight preliminary session. Germany, with the addition of Diener and Wierling and the shift of Kusch from free to fly, could pick up about 2 seconds – they’re in line for a medal if there’s an early departure or a flunked swim from one of those top 3 teams.
Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com.
He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming.
Aside from his life on the InterWet, …