Day 2 of the 2013 World University Games is underway in Kazan, Russia, and after being the headliners of the meet on day 1, the Russians freestylers are again proclaiming their presence at their home meet.
Danila Izotov took the top seed in the men’s 200 free prelim in 1:47.65, followed closely by American Michael Wynalda from the University of Michigan in 1:48.59. Izotov swam on the winning 400 free relay on Wednesday, and he showed with this swim that he’s continuing to feel this home-water like many of his teammates are.
Australia’s Ryan Napoleon was 3rd in 1:49.11, followed by the other Russian Nikita Lobinstev in 1:49.24. Paraguay’s Ben Hockin, Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski, and Switzerland’s David Karasek were all under 1:50 as well. The 2nd American, Matthew Barber, was 12th in 1:50.47 and will be back for the semifinals.
Toward the end of the session, their Russian women’s counterparts, who also took good in the 400 free relay, looked very good in their freestyle race as well. The country’s biggest sprint star Veronika Popova was a 54.50 for the top seed. That’s within three-tenths of a second of her National Record. Having already been faster twice this year in this very same pool, Popova could hold off the defending World Champion in this race Aleksandra Herasimenia, who currently sits 2nd with a relaxed prelims swim of 55.21.
American Megan Romano has the 3rd seed in 55.48 – that after a 52.90 on the relay. She’s pretty good at saving her best swims for the biggest rounds, and though she probably won’t match that sub-53 on her flat start, she should be able to push toward a 54-low at least in this individual race.
Australia’s Melissa Mitchell (55.52) and Canada’s Sandrine Mainville (55.69) round out the 5 best in the morning of that race.
Sweden’s Nathalie Lindborg, Britain’s Olympic finalist Caitlin McClatchey, Poland’s Katarzyna Wilk, and the United States’ Liv Jensen (56.32) all are in the second-eight coming out of prelims.
In the first women’s event of the morning, another Russian, Yulia Efimova took the top seed in 1:07.60. There will be a lot of good names joining her in the semi-finals, and likely on to the finals, in Japan’s Mio Motegi (1:08.73), America’s Laura Sogar (1:08.74), Ireland’s Fiona Doyle (1:08.86).
The USA’s Emily McClellan is the 5th seed after the morning in 1:08.88; she skipped the World Championship Trials to focus her full taper on this meet, and Canada’s Tera van Beilen was 6th in 1:09.21.
Finally, a break in the all-Russian action for the morning came in the men’s 200 IM, where American Kyle Whitaker took the top seed in 1:59.53: the only swimmer to break two minutes in the morning. He’s another member of the Michigan NCAA Championship meet, all of whom are swimming very well this week.
Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori was 2nd in 2:00.42, and then a pretty sizable dropoff came before Justin James from Australia in the 3rd seed in 2:02.20 and Adam Hinshaw from the USA in 2:02.27.
The Russians’ highest seed in this race was Dmitrii Gorbunov in 5th with a 2:02.43.
Other notables include Canada’s Alec Page, who sits 9th with a 2:03.14, and Switzerland’s David Karasek, who is tied for 15th in 2:03.95, keeping the Americans’ perfect streak of making it out of semi-finals at this meet alive.
The Michigan men did well again in prelims of the 1500 freestyle, which will have no semi-final round, as Sean Ryan took the 2nd seed in 15:11.43 and Ryan Feeley was 4th in 15:17.53.
The top morning result went to Japan’s Kohei Yamamoto in 15:08.45; the distance events are not typically ones that the Japanese are known for excelling at, but like many of their weak spots, that has improved over the last few years.
The Ukraine’s Sergii Frolov (15:14.17) and Canada’s Eric Hedlin (15:18.31) are also within striking distance of podium finishes.