With the World Aquatics announcement on Wednesday that they would not make a decision on Russian or Belarusian neutral participation until July over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that seems to eliminate the possibility of the two countries participating in the summer’s World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Russia, meanwhile, has begun planning on its own domestic schedule, which includes the final of the Russia Swimming Cup that will be held from July 25-30, in direct overlap with the World Championships.
The series will begin in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in May in the Far East of the country: the first major Russian meet to be held in the country’s less-populated Far Eastern region.
“The stage is scheduled for May 1-2. For the first time in the history of domestic swimming, we are starting a stage from the Far East,” said All-Russia Swimming Federation president and Olympic gold medalist Vladimir Salnikov. “Our stars will show up for the competition. We hope that the new venue will arouse great interest in them, they will get acquainted with the region and see the beauty of nature. It is also important for the development of swimming, the country is large and it is not always possible to evenly distribute major tournaments across regions.”
Sergei Chepik, the head coach of the Russian National Swimming Team, said in an interview with the All-Russia swimming federation that a shift toward the eastern part of the country, which lies on the Asia continent, is necessary in order to be ready if the team is allowed in the Asian Games – a direct acknowledgement last week that the country is still considering dropping out of Europe and seeking more welcoming arms in Asia.
The Asian Games are being held in Hangzhou from September 23-October 8.
A number of Russia’s biggest stars have already committed to compete in that meet, including Kliment Kolesnikov, Kirill Prigoda, Svetlana Chimrova, Alexandr Shchegolev, Evgeniia Chikunova, Vladislav Grinev, Arina Surkova, Ilya Borodin, and Andrei Minakov.
The series will then move on to the 2nd stage in Obninsk from June 30-July 2, concluding with the Swimming Cup of Russia Final from July 25-30.
Swimming Cup of Russia Calendar:
- 1st stage – May 1-2, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
- 2nd stage – June 30-July 2, Obninsk
- Final – July 25-30, Kazan
While the series is not new, its conflict with the World Championships is – in past years, the series would be oriented to avoid the World Championships.
These domestic meets, combined with the Russian Championships, will have millions of rubles up for grabs for athletes (and their coaches). 1 million rubles, based on current conversions, is worth about $125,000 USD.
Russian Swimming Championships
The country will maintain a familiar calendar for its more traditional swimming championship events.
- Russian Swimming Championship (50M) – April 16-21, Kazan
- Russian Open Water Championships – August 6-8, Krasnodar Territory
- Russian Swimming Championships (25m) – November 20-25, Saint Petersburg
- Salnikov Cup (25m) – December 16-18, Saint Petersburg
Unlike last year, where Russia formally produced designated international events like the Spartikiad as the beginning of their overtures to compete with the IOC and Olympics, creating separate events with their allies, so far the Russian swimming calendar doesn’t have any-such senior level events listed.
Russian allies will likely send delegations to participate in Russian domestic events, as they did last year, however.
Besides the potential of the Asian Games, Russia has one for youth swimmers. The country plans to send a delegation to the IX Russian-Chinese Youth Summer Games in Chongqing in August.
The III winter Russian-Chinese Winter Youth Games were held in December in Jilin after the two countries reached an agreement to stage more than 500 events in cooperation between the two powers.
Russia will also host an International University Sports Festival in Yekaterinburg after having their rights to host the 2023 World University Games suspended over the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian state-run media reports that 94 countries are expected to compete at the festival. This event isn’t on the All-Russia Swimming Federations calendar, though they are expected to send a team.
Chengdu, China will host the 2023 Games in its stead (after 2021 and 2022 opportunities were delayed), and Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has continued to lobby for Russian inclusion in that event.