KAZAN, Russia, July 13. THE host nation had plenty to cheer about, even though there were a few stunning upsets, as Russia went on to capture a handful of gold medals tonight at the World University Games.
Courtesy of: OSports-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of: OSports-USA TODAY Sports
Women's 1500 free
USA went 1-2 in the women's metric mile as Stephanie Peacock finally had the chance to throw down a fully tapered distance swim after missing out on her collegiate championship season due to illness for North Carolina earlier this year.
Peacock kept just ahead of teammate Ashley Steenvoorden until about the 1000-meter mark, then she started powering away to a scorching time of 16:04.44. That performance dashed the meet record of 16:05.90 set by Flavia Rigamonti in 2007, and vaulted Peacock to fourth in the world rankings as the second-fastest American this year. Only Katie Ledecky (15:47.15), Jazmin Carlin (15:47.26) and Lotte Friis (16:01.41) have been faster so far. That's a bit of redemption for Peacock after illness struck down a potentially special swim for the Tar Heel at NCAAs in March.
Steenvoorden raced into second in 16:07.89 for silver to move to eighth in the world, giving the U.S. four of the top 10 swimmers in the world with Chloe Sutton standing seventh with a 16:07.75 from U.S. Nationals. Italy's Martina Rita Caramignoli rounded out the podium with a third-place time of 16:19.71.
Italy's Aurora Ponsele (16:24.07), Liechtenstein's Julia Hassler (16:25.66), Japan's Ayano Koguchi (16:35.95), Spain's Claudia Dasca Romeu (16:39.82) and Australia's Jessica Walker (16:48.80) also swam in the finale of the mile.
Women's 200 IM
Russia's Viktoriya Andreeva used an overpowering freestyle leg to track down the two Americans in the final 50 meters en route to gold for the Russian crowd in the women's 200-meter IM.
Andreeva raced her way to a 2:12.32 for the win, just missing the meet record of 2:12.07 set by Ava Ohlgren back in 2009 in Belgrade. Andreeva threw down a 30.96 in the freestyle leg to capture the gold medal.
Meanwhile, Sarah Henry managed to catch Melanie Margalis down the stretch in the battle for silver with a 2:12.69. Margalis had left heading into the freestyle leg with a 1:40.60, but couldn't hold off Andreeva and Henry as she wound up taking bronze in 2:12.96.
Japan's Sakiko Shimizu (2:13.02), Russia's Daria Belyakina (2:13.41), Poland's Alicja Tchorz (2:16.07), Canada's Paige Schultz (2:17.44) and Australia's Aisling Scott (2:18.00) comprised the rest of the championship heat.
Men's 200 breast
Russia pocketed another gold medal as Viatcheslav Sinkevich turned in a smooth 2:09.78 for the win in the men's 200-meter breast. He's been much faster this year with a fourth-ranked 2:08.62 from Russian Nationals, but will be focusing on his big swim later this month.
Japan's Yukihiro Takahashi threw down a 32.35 final 50, trying to overtake Sinkevich down the stretch, but fell a bit short with a second-place time of 2:10.35. Italy's Luca Pizzini posted a surprise third-place finish with a 2:10.99 from out in lane one, while Japan's Kazuki Kohinata wound up fourth in 2:11.34.
Russia's Marat Amaltdinov (2:11.74) and Italy's Flavio Bizzarri (2:11.99) also cleared 2:12 to place fifth and sixth, while USA's Cody Miller faded down the final 50 meters with a seventh-place 2:12.10 after standing third through the initial 150 meters. USA's Mike Alexandrov rounded out the field with an eighth-place 2:12.79.
Women's 100 back
The finale proved to be blazing fast with Russia's Anastasia Zueva and USA's Megan Romano trading blows throughout the women's 100-meter back championship.
Zueva, who has recovered from a surgery that cost her a shot at the FINA World Championships, had just enough at the wall for the win in 59.83. The swim vaulted her to eighth in the world as she continued the Russian roll here atop the podium tonight. Zueva caught the field after turning fifth with a 30.28 back half.
Romano, meanwhile, cracked the 1:00 barrier for the first time with a second-place 59.85 to move to ninth in the world. Her previous best had been a 1:00.19 from the 2012 Longhorn Elite Invitational, but she smashed right through the magical mark. Both swimmers eclipsed the meet record of 1:00.21 set by Jenny Connolly for Team USA in 2011.
Australia's Madison Wilson claimed bronze with a time of 1:00.65, while Ukraine's Daryna Zevina finished fourth in 1:01.00.
USA's Cindy Tran (1:01.32), Australia's Hayle White (1:01.46), Russia's Maria Gromova (1:01.50) and Hong Kong's Stephanie Au (1:02.22) also vied for the WUGs title this evening, finishing fifth through eighth.
Men's 200 fly
Hungary's Bence Biczo stopped the Russian steamroll at three wins straight as he led wire-to-wire in the men's 200-meter fly.
Biczo tossed a 1:55.32 on the scoreboard for the win in the distance fly event, while Japan's Kenta Hirai took second in 1:55.90 after sitting second to Biczo throughout the entire swim. Greece's Stefanos Dimtriadis backhalfed his way to bronze with a 1:57.36 after standing sixth at the 100-meter mark.
Biczo moved up to a second-ranked tie in the world with Chad Le Clos, behind only Pawel Korzeniowski's 1:55.26 from Polish Nationals. Hirai now stands eighth in the world with his swim.
Japan's Yuta Kimura (1:58.11), Spain's Carlos Peralta Gallego (1:58.31), USA's Michael Flach (1:58.90), Canada's Zach Chetrat (1:58.92) and USA's Kyle Whitaker (2:00.49) also competed in the finale.
Men's 50 back
Australia's Ben Treffers touched out favorite Vlad Morozov by the slimmest of margins in the sprint backstroke as Treffers gave the Aussies gold. Treffers popped a time of 24.86, just outside the top 10 in the world rankings, while Morozov posted a 24.87 for silver. Morozov was unable to match his ninth-ranked 24.80 from Russian Nationals here in Kazan earlier this year, a time that would have netted him gold tonight.
Italy's Stefano Pizzamiglio beat compatriot Niccolo Bonacchi, 24.92 to 25.05, for the bronze medal in the sprint event. Israel's Guy Barnea (25.25), Russia's Vitalii Melnikov (25.38), Australia's Daniel Arnamnart (25.41) and Japan's Junya Hasegawa (25.65) made up the rest of the championship field in the always fun sprint dorsal contest.
Women's 800 free relay
A monster third leg by Chelsea Chenault gave the Americans a shot at winning the women's 800-meter freestyle relay, and Megan Romano held off Viktoriya Andreeva of Russia in the anchor leg for the epic victory in what proved to be an amazing race.
Team USA stood fourth at the halfway mark before Chenault pulled them ahead for good in the third leg as Andrea Murez (2:00.16), Sarah Henry (1:59.58), Chenault (1:57.88) and Romano (1:57.91) turned in a sizzling time of 7:55.53 for the win. They just missed the meet record of 7:55.02 from 2011 by half-a-second, but have the top time in the world heading into the FINA World Championships.
Russia's Veronika Popova (1:58.71), Daria Belyakina (1:59.07), Elena Sokolova (1:59.91) and Andreeva (1:58.07) took second in 7:55.76 as the only other team to clear 8:00 in the finale.
Canada's Lindsay Delmar (2:00.52), Brittany Maclean (1:58.24), Paige Schultz (2:02.91) and Savannah King (2:01.06) rode Maclean's epic split to a bronze-winning time of 8:02.73.
Italy (8:05.97), Australia (8:06.12), Japan (8:08.07), Sweden (8:18.87) and Hong Kong (8:27.10) turned in the other championship finale finishes.
Men's 100 free
With the 50 back finale later this evening, Russia's Vlad Morozov did just enough to capture the top seed in the 100-meter freestyle, holding off compatriot Nikita Lobintsev down the stretch.
Morozov posted a top-seeded time of 48.76, but in finals will look to match his second-ranked time of 47.93 from Russian Nationals here in this same pool. Lobintsev raced his way to second in 48.83, pushing the pace down the final 20 meters to force Morozov to ratchet up his effort. Morozov had an easy-speed swim going until he noticed Lobintsev pulling up beside him.
Italy's Michele Santucci (49.43), Australia's Andrew Abood (49.50), Estonia's Pjotr Degtjarjov (49.56), Japan's Katsumi Nakamura (49.57) and USA's Michael Wynalda (49.57) qualified third through seventh. Meanwhile, Italy's Lorenzo Benatti and Brazil's Vinicius Waked set up a swimoff for eighth with matching 49.59s.
Benatti came back later in the evening with a 49.41 to 49.64 triumph to take the eighth spot ahead of Waked in the finale.
Women's 100 fly
Out well ahead of the Universiade record pace through 90 meters, Canadian-record holder Katerine Savard shut it down to save up for the finale when she won the second semifinal in 58.18. She's already second in the world this year with a national record 57.40 from the TYR Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions, trailing just Alicia Coutts' 57.18. Look for Savard to make a run at her record, as well as the meet mark of 57.86 held by Lu Ying.
China's Guo Fan took the second seed with a 58.88 by winning the first semifinal, while Italy's Elena Di Liddo earned the third seed in 58.89.
Slovakia's Katarina Listopadova (58.99), Japan's Nao Kobayashi (59.13), Russia's Darya Tsetkova (59.62), USA's Kelsey Floyd (59.89) and Australia's Nicole Mee (59.92) also made the finale, while Austria's Birgit Koschischek managed to clear 1:00 with a 59.93 but still missed the championship field.
Women's 200 breast
Russia's Yuliya Efimova pushed the pace in the final 100 meters, crushing the field in the women's 200-meter breast with a time of 2:24.71. The swim just missed her fifth-ranked season best of 2:24.31 from the Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine earlier this summer. Efimova will definitely make a run at Rie Maneto's meet record of 2:22.32 from 2009 when the Russian takes the center lane in the finale.
Japan's Mio Motegi topped the first semifinal in 2:26.26, while Italy's Giulia De Ascentis finished third in 2:27.08 heading into the finale.
USA's Laura Sogar (2:27.19) and Andrea Kropp (2:27.35) qualified fourth and fifth for the Red, White and Blue, while Japan's Satori Hosokoshi (2:27.43), Canada's Tera Van Beilen (2:27.59) and South Korea's Suyeon Back (2:27.98) all broke 2:28 to make the championship heat in the distance breaststroke event.
Results: World University Games: Day Four Finals