Russian breaststroke specialist Yuliya Efimova not only won the A-final of the 100 breast Thursday evening by over a second and a half, but she did so with a 1:05.70 that stands as the fastest time in the world in 2016, displacing Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson for that spot.
Tonight, Efimova, representing the Trojan Swim Club, went out in 31.34, putting her in second place at the turn, but came back in 34.36, over a second faster than any other swimmer in the field.
Efimova won the gold medal in this event at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan and the silver medal at the 2013 World Championship in Barcelona. In between those two medals, she served a 16 month suspension after she test positive for the steroid DHEA, which she blamed on a supplement.
Her time tonight is also Efimova’s lifetime best outside of a championship meet. The seven times she’s been faster were all swims done at either World Championship or World University Games meets.
Tonight’s swim gives Efimova some continued momentum as she heads into the Russian Olympic Trials, which will be held next month in April, although Efimova should easily make the Russian team.
Efimovia heads toward this summer as one of several women favored to medal in this event in Rio, along with Atkinson, and world record holder Ruta Meilutyte, although the latter has been battling an elbow injury that has kept her from racing much this year.