On the 6th and final day of the 2012 Russian Olynpic Swimming Trials in Moscow, Anastasia Zueva unleashed a swim that 100 backstrokers around the world have been sitting in fearful anticipation of.
She posted an extremely fast 58.97 that is the second-best ever done in textile and ties her for the 12th-best swim of all time. Zueva will still have a big challenge in front of her; she’s already gone best textile times in both the 100 and the 200 backstrokes at this meet. We’re now getting pretty late into the Olympic cycle, and she’ll have to really get back on her training horse if she wants to be able to repeat in London.
Zueva cracking that barrier is the only thing that could really steal the headlines from the men’s 100 free final on this day. But ultimately, the 100 free was a bit of a letdown. Danila Izotov took his second event title of the meet with a win in 48.27, which is his best time ever. Much like France’s Yannick Agnel, with whom Izotov was once linked as the future of European swimming, Izotov is really picking up his sprint speed as he moves into his 20’s.
Nikita Lobintsov nearly matched his time from the semi-finals to take 2nd in 48.39. But what that means is that 50m champion Andrei Grechin, who had the fastest time of the semi-finals, will be relegated to only a relay swim in this individual 100 with a 48.44 for 3rd. That adds .15 from his swim earlier in the meet, which would have put him in the top two had he repeated it.
And Vlad Morozov really didn’t have a very good finals swim, clocking a 48.79 for 4th. That means that Morozov’s only individual swim at the Olympics will be, surprisingly, the 100 back. He’ll add to that a swim in the 400 free relay, and perhaps a medley prelims swim. Evgeny Lagunov was left on the outside looking in; after a 48.7 in the semi-finals, he could only muster a 49.0 in the final.
In the women’s 200 breaststroke, Julia Efimova got down to what was probably close to her target, with a 2:24.45. But on this day, that wasn’t good enough for the National Title, as Anastasia Chaun took the win in 2:24.13. That’s her fastest time since winning the 2010 European Championship, and is huge redemption for her. Last year, an allegedly-botched blood draw as part of a “blood passport” program ended her run at the World Championships, but she seems to have return in fit shape for a go at some Olympic hardware. Efimova gets most of the big publicity in Russian breaststroking, but Chaun looks poised to have an equally-exciting summer.
And in the other significant final of the day, Roman Sludinov swam much better in the last round of the 100 breaststroke with a 1:00.60 and nailed down his Olympic spot. Excluding the suit-trainted Olympic year in 2008, hat’s as good as the 32-year old has looked in this race since he was in his early 20’s. The Russians will be hoping for another small improvement from him at the Olympics on the relay; if he can come close to breaking a minute on a relay start, they’ll be sitting in good shape.
In other races, Alexander Tikhonov completed a sweep of the IM’s with a 2:00.70 in the 200 IM. That’s not a FINA Automatic Qualifying time, but he’s already on the team in the 400, so he may be in for a swim here too. Teenager Ivan Trofimov took 2nd in 2:01.00.
It wasn’t good for anything Olympic related, but Daria Tsvetkova broke the National Record in the women’s 50 fly with a 26.39 victory. Tsvetkova is only 16, and she’s still got some serious work to do in her 100 fly where she was 8th, but in this race she beat Irina Bespalova handily. Bespalova was the previous record holder in 26.49 from 2009, but was only 27.11 in this race for 2nd.
Full, Live Results available here.