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The first day of Russian Nationals saw three Junior World Record-breaking swims culminating in two new records, but the bigger story so far has been the big names not competing for various reasons.
Evgeny Sedov took down the same 50 fly Junior World Record twice in the same session. He first won the semi-final to open competition with a 23.30, and lowered that to a 23.28 in winning the final at the end of the session.
That time now ranks him 9th in the world for 2014. You can read more about his swims here.
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BRA 22.91 12/18 3 Benjamin
GBR 22.93 07/25 4 Florent
FRA 23.00 08/19 4 Yauhen
BLR 23.00 08/19 6 Nicholas
BRA 23.01 12/18 7 Roland
RSA 23.07 04/08 8 Rafael
ESP 23.21 04/13 9 Steffen
GER 23.23 05/02 10 Evgeny
RUS 23.28 05/13
Just one event before Sedov’s final, fellow teenage Daria Ustinova broke a Junior World Record of her own, going 2:09.02 for the national 200 back crown. At just 15 years old, Ustinova has now cracked the top 5 in the world in that race, sitting 5th.
That kind of big-time swimming from youngsters is going to be more and more important for Russia, as some of their most established names were very noticeably absent from the championships on day 1.
Star breaststroker Yulia Efimova was in the news earlier in the day when her 16-month suspension was announced. Efimova, who tested positive for a banned substance last fall, also had a World Record and several medals from the 2013 European Championships.
With that story hanging over the pool like a cloud, the 50 breaststroke went on without her. Anna Belousova emerged the winner, going 31.48. That’s not a bad time, just two tenths out of our world top 10 rankings, but it’s also evidence of how precipitous the dropoff will be without Efimova, who won a world title in the event last summer with a 29.52.
Another notable absence came in the men’s 400 free final, where former Olympian Nikita Lobintsev missed out on the final by a single spot in the morning preliminaries, coming up 9th. With him out of the picture, Yevgeny Kulikov picked up the win in 3:51.39.
The only other final to go off on day 1 was the women’s 400 IM, which went to Yana Martynova in 4:42.00.
One more notable absence was that of backstroker Arkady Vyatchanin, who left Russia to train and compete in the U.S. while he looks for a new country to represent. Vyatchanin, an elite-level backstroker, leaves a hole there for Russia as well – in semifinals of the 100 back, the top time was just 54.49 from Nikita Ulyanov.
Other semifinal action on day 1:
- Men’s 200 breast: young swimmer Kirill Prigoda took the top seed in the 200 breast with a 2:11.74, after top seed Vyacheslav Sinkevich missed the semis with a bad morning swim
- Women’s 100 free: Veronika Popova went 54.34 to take top billing in the first women’s sprint race of the meet
- Women’s 200 fly: the top seed went to Svetlana Chimrova, who put up a 2:14.15 in her semi-final