NOVA Senior February Intrasquad Meet
- February 27, 2021
- William Wollett Aquatic Center, Irvine, California
- Short Course Yards (25 yards)
- Meet Results
In what appears to be her first official, sanctioned racing since the 2019 World Championships, Russian breaststroker Yulia Efimova raced last weekend at an Irvine NOVAquatics intrasquad meet in short course yards in California.
At the meet, Efimova swam both the 100 yard breaststroke (59.46) and 200 yard breaststroke (2:07.53). Those swims both easily won the race against a field of what was mostly high school swimmers.
The runner-up in the 100 breaststroke was Jordan Morgan in 1:04.67. Morgan is a high school senior and a Texas commit, part of a revamping of that program’s breaststroke group over the next 2 years.
In the 200 breaststroke, Efimova was 12 seconds ahead of a very small field. The runner-up was 13-year old Kaitlyn Nguyen in 2:19.79, which was a best time for her by over a second. Nguyen’s time ranks her 6th in the country so far this season in that event.
While Efimova’s training situation lately has been ambiguous, she is officially registered with NOVA. That club includes as its “Head Coach Emeritus Executive Consultant” the recently-retired USC head coach Dave Salo, who the 28-year old Efimova began training with when she was 19.
After a pair of anti-doping rules violations, one that earned her a 16-months suspension in 2014 and another that earned her a warning in 2016, Salo told the media that he believed her when she said she didn’t intentionally use meldonium after it was outlawed.
Recent social media posts indicate that Efimova has spent most of her time since the 2019 World Championships in California, though she was traveling and in Hawaii, among other places, for a period of time. Racing opportunities have been hard to come by for many in southern California, not just Efimova, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Efimova won silver medals in the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the 2016 Olympic Games, as well as a 200 breaststroke bronze at the 2012 Olympics. She is the owner of 6 individual event titles across the three breaststroke distances at the long course World Championships, including the two-time defending champion in the 200 breaststroke.
There were a few other Russians present at the meet, though none as well-known as Efimova. 29-year old Sofia Petrenko won the 100 fly in 55.48, and 20-year old Vasilissa Buinaia won the 100 free in 49.53. Buinaia represented Russia at the 2017 World Junior Championships.
Other Results at the NOVA Intrasquad:
- 12-year old Peter Vu swam the second-fastest 100 IM time in the country for 12 & unders this season, touching in 56.60. That puts him in the top 50 all-time in the age group.