WATCH: Pavel Sankovich Goes 22.73 50 Free… Underwater


Belarusian Pavel Sankovich won the B final of the 50 free at the Atlanta stop of the Arena Pro Swim Series, going 22.73. His time not only won the heat, but he actually beat Anthony Ervin, who just nine months ago won the Olympic gold in the 50 free. Ervin touched second in 22.81.

Most impressively, however, Sankovich swam the entire race doing underwater dolphin kick. Going sub-23 in the 50 free is no easy feat, let alone doing it underwater. Obviously, he was disqualified for coming up after the 15-meter mark, but he was only five tenths off of the Belarusian record in the 50 free, a 22.22 from Yauhen Tsurkin in 2015. Watch in the video above as he wins his heat, swimming out of lane 3.

Sankovich holds Belarus‘s 50 and 100m back national records. He has competed at the last three Olympics, and swam for Florida State University in the States. At FSU, he broke multiple school and ACC records in the butterfly, backstroke, and IM events.

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5 years ago

Techno : he didn’t do any stroke ? How could he have won?
Isn’t there a rule that you have to rise from the dive to actually swim a stroke to win?
Even though It is impressive that he can swim under the water for that length of time, what stroke would he have been using?
My opinion is no stroke no win.

Rae Simpson
5 years ago

Fast, yes. Impressive, yes. But what was the point?

5 years ago

With fins: about 13.8 seconds

tea rex
5 years ago

I did this at a meet once. Apparently, the rule was that a 15m infraction has to be called AT THE 15 METER LINE. The official (a parent on the team) did not see it until I was already 25m down the pool, so could not disqualify me. Needless to say, they were not too happy about looking bad.

Also needless to say, I was nowhere close to 22.7. That is impressive anywhere outside of the Hater’s Ball.

5 years ago

I’m not saying Sankovich didn’t break the rules, but I don’t see a hand raised from the official at the 15m mark, nor from the Referee.

“[…]the Referee, Stroke, Turn, or Relay Take-off Judge upon observing an infraction, shall immediately raise one hand overhead. If the official does not do so, there shall be no disqualification unless the Program Operations Vice Chair has directed that the meet be conducted under FINA procedures.”

“Unless otherwise noted herein, this meet shall be conducted in accordance with current USA Swimming Rules and Regulations.” –
Meet info (

Reply to  Karl Ortegon
5 years ago

Cause Ervin has been on fire this year

JP input is too short
Reply to  Karl Ortegon
5 years ago

Yeah, I don’t get why “uberfan” has such a bone to pick with this swim.

Reply to  JP input is too short
5 years ago

Has Ervin been super good this year?

5 years ago

Ervin’s reaction at the end is great.

5 years ago

There is a video of a 99 model from poland who did 22:53 underwater, just check sms bielany On instagram

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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