Rylov Cruises To Top Seed, Kolesnikov Drops 200 Back At Day 5 Prelims In Kazan


The biggest story coming out of Wednesday morning’s preliminary session at the Russian Olympic Trials was a swim that didn’t happen, as Kliment Kolesnikov opted out of the men’s 200 backstroke.

Kolesnikov has been on a tear so far at the competition, winning the 50 back in one of the fastest swims ever (24.08) and placing second in the 100 back to qualify for his first Olympic team.

During tonight’s finals session, the 20-year-old will swim the 100 freestyle final, which is scheduled to run about 30 minutes after the 200 back semis. The two events also intertwine on the Olympic schedule, so it appears he is all-in on going for an individual spot in the 100 free, rather than just securing a relay spot.

Kolesnikov owns a 200 back best time of 1:55.14, set at the 2017 World Championships where he finished fourth, but has only broken 2:00 once in the last two years (1:56.07 in April 2019).

In his absence it was Evgeny Rylov, the reigning two-time world champion in the event, qualifying first into the semis in a time of 1:57.38, well clear of Grigory Tarasevich, who sits second in 2:00.38.

Tarasevich swam his first best time in five years in the 100 back, producing an elite sub-53 swim, but still didn’t qualify for the Olympic team with Rylov and Kolesnikov ahead of him. Now that Kolesnikov is out of the 200, and his path much clearer to place in the top two, he’ll look to hit the FINA ‘A’ cut of 1:57.50 in the final, with his personal best time sitting at 1:57.07 from the 2018 European Championships.

The European Record holder in the event at 1:53.36, Rylov’s swim ranks him 15th in the world for 2020-21, a leaderboard he’ll surely continue to climb through the next two rounds of the event.


  • 100 back winner Maria Kameneva paced the women’s 100 freestyle prelims in 54.18, marking the only swimmer in the field to close sub-28 on the back 50 (27.57). The Russian Record holder at 53.45, Kameneva moves into a tie for 21st in the world this season. Three others – Daria S. Ustinova (54.92), Arina Surkova (54.93) and Daria Trofimova (54.96) – broke 55 seconds in second, third and fourth.
  • 16-year-old Evgeniia Chikunova eased her way to the top spot in the women’s 200 breaststroke heats, clocking 2:26.13 to lead the field by two seconds. Chikunova’s best time still stands at the 2:21.07 mark she hit in the summer of 2019, though she also went sub-2:22 this past October (2:21.87), ranking her first in the world for 2020-21. Maria Temnikova (2:28.15) and Vitalina Simonova (2:28.34) sit second and third, while 2016 Olympic silver medalist Yuliya Efimova (2:30.99) was way back in ninth.
  • Alexander Osipenko used a strong fly/back combo to qualify first in the men’s 200 IM, putting up a time of 2:00.63 to lead 400 IM winner Ilya Borodin (2:01.80), Egor Suchkov (2:03.12) and Daniil Pasnykov (2:03.31). Osipenko owns a best time of 1:59.76, set in 2018, while Borodin holds the National Record in 1:58.00. Andrey Zhilkin, who placed ninth at the 2019 World Championships in a best of 1:58.16, qualified fifth in 2:03.78.

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2 months ago

Rumor has it Tarasevich bought Kolesnikov lunch.

Mr Piano
2 months ago

What time are finals?

2 months ago

Efimova 9th at 2:30? I’m pretty sure she’ll swim fast enough to make the final but she’s in danger for making the Olympic Team….

Reply to  sepgup
2 months ago

She is 29, there is absolutely no reason to push it if you can be easily top 16. She doesn’t recover as quickly as the youngsters do.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Swimmer
2 months ago

You also don’t recover as easily when you stop taking steroids

Reply to  Mr Piano
2 months ago

Mamma mia, do you still call meldonium as steroid?
Can you then tell me, why three-cent meldonium has been banned, but the US analogues carnosine and carnitor are still allowed?
It seems classical lobbyism, doesn’t it?

Reply to  sepgup
2 months ago

Yeah to me, she swam 2:30, and still had 6 seconds of cushion, so that’s a smart play. Surprised more swimmers don’t do that – not sure Russia is deep enough for 3 rounds to make sense in every event.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

She has always been reluctant to go “fast” in prelims. And she tries to use Chupkov pacing but to an extreme…..sometimes it costs her.

Reply to  Ghost
2 months ago

like in 2015 World Championships

Reply to  whever
2 months ago

and the olympics

Reply to  sepgup
2 months ago

It’s no news Efimova loses trials. Do you remember she lost in 2019 the same competitor – Evgenia Chikunova – but won later gold at the Worlds? As already mentioned above, she is not young any more and her body cannot therefore reach its peak so often.
Besides, she told the Russian media she couldn’t train in the US properly since the most of the pools have been closed (or set some restrictions) due to covid – you definitely know better than me if it’s true or not

Last edited 2 months ago by RusFed

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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