20-year old Russian Olympian Daria K. Ustinova is training with Team Elite in San Diego and will race 2 meets in the United States before returning home to race in April’s Russian National Championships and World Championship Trials.
The 20-year old Ustinova has joined David Marsh‘s professional training group, based out of UCSD in San Diego. She had been training at USC in Los Angeles late last year, but has spent the last month further south.
Ustinova, not to be confused with Russia’s Youth Olympic medalist by the same name (differentiated by the K. as the middle initial), swam at the 2016 Olympic Games in the 100 and 20 backstroke, missing the semi-finals in the former but placing 4th in the latter. She almost wasn’t able to swim that meet when an IOC crackdown on Russians who had previously been sanctioned for doping violations initially barred her from competing at the Olympics, though she won a last-minute appeal with the CAS to swim. When she was 14, she was given a ‘reprimand’ for a doping rules violation, without many details released, and the McLaren Report later named her as one of a group of athletes who may have benefited from a program that made positive tests disappear.
This adds another international-caliber backstroker to the group, alongside 100 backstroke World Record holder Kathleen Baker, who is now in San Diego full time; American and World Record holder Ali DeLoof, who took 4 medals at the 2016 World Short Course Championships; and 3-time Olympic medalist Ryosuke Irie of Japan.
Ustinova is expected to race 2 meets in the US, one short course in Coronado and one long course at the PSS – Des Moines, before April’s Russian National Championship begin.