As confirmed by the Tokyo 2020 entry lists, Belarus will send 4 women and 4 men the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Belarussian Olympic Swimming Roster – Tokyo 2020
- Ilya Shymanovich – Men’s 100 breaststroke
- Anastasiya Shkurdai – Women’s 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle
- Alina Zmushka – Women’s 100/200 breaststroke
- Mikita Tsmyh – Men’s 100 backstroke
- Yauhen Tsurkin – Men’s 100 butterfly
- Artsiom Machekin – Men’s 100 freestyle (relay only)
- Anastasiya Kuliashova – Women’s 100 freestyle (100 freestyle)
- Nastassia Karakouskaya – Women’s 4×100 medley relay (freestyle)
Ilya Shymanovich will be Belarus’ headliner heading into the Tokyo 2020 Games as the 5th fastest man worldwide this season in the men’s 100 breaststroke. Shymanovich hit a 58.46 at the 2021 European Swimming Championships which is a bit slower than his 58.29 national record in the event from 2019.
While 56.88 world record holder Adam Peaty is expected to win the event, the race for silver seems to be wide open. Arno Kamminga is leading that race so far and is the only man other than Peaty who has crack 57 seconds in the event, having hit a 57.90 earlier this season.
On the women’s side, Anastasiya Shkurdai is set to race the 100 butterfly, freestyle, and backstroke. This will be one of Shkurdai’s first major international competitions for Belarus individually. Back in 2019 she raced at the World Championships and contributed to the country’s 9th place finish overall in the 4×100 mixed medley.
Shkurdai recently raced at the 2021 European Championships and placed 6th overall in the women’s 100 butterfly with a 58.10 and was 14th in the 100 backstroke in a 1:00.52. Shkurdai holds the Belarussian records in both of those events at a 56.95 in the butterfly and a 59.08 in the backstroke.
Alina Zmushka will be swimming the 100 and 200 breaststroke in Tokyo and will have a shot at improving upon her 15th and 28th place finishes, respectively at the 2019 World Championships. In Gwangju, Zmushka swam a 1:07.69 in both the heats and semis and a 2:35.58 in the 200 breast heats. She has since improved upon those times and recently set 2 Belarussian records in April 2021 in a 1:06.62 100 breast and a 2:24.33 200.
The only 2 returning Olympians for Belarus this year are Yauhen Tsurkin and Mikita Tsmyh who are entered in the 100 fly and 100 back, respectively. Tsurkin raced to a 30th place finish at the 2016 Games in a 53.24 while Tsmyh earned 29th overall in the 100 back with a 54.97. Tsurkin’s PB and national record in the 100 fly sits at a 51.44 from back in 2015 while Tsmyh has a more recent best time and NR of 53.81 which he set at the 2019 World Championships.
Belarus will send 2 more swimmers to the Tokyo Games than they did to Rio with 8 athletes this year compared to the 6 that went in 2016. Only 1 swimmer got past prelims in 2016 in the form of Aliaksandra Herasimenia who actually won bronze in the 50 freestyle with a 24.11. She also made it to the semi-finals in the 100 free, hitting a 54.34 for 13th overall. In addition to her 2016 bronze, Herasimenia also won 50 and 100 free silver back in 2012 and remains the only Belarussian Olympic swimming medalist.