KAZAN, Russia, July 15. THE Russians have certainly been giving the hometown crowd something to cheer for, and this evening the men's team did it again with another ridiculous relay time at the World University Games in Kazan. The Russians, keyed by a world-best leadoff from Danila Izotov, obliterated the meet record in the 800 free relay.
Courtesy of: Mitchell Gunn-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of: Mitchell Gunn-USA TODAY Sports
Women's 800 free
Italy's Martina De Memme earned her nation's initial gold medal of the meet as she charged home to capture the distance freestyle triumph at the beginning of a difficult double with the 200 freestyle up in just 20 minutes.
De Memme raced to an 8:28.09 to crack the top 15 of the world rankings, using a powerful final 200 meters to race past the dynamic American duo of Stephanie Peacock and Ashley Steenvoorden. That's Italy's first gold medal after a load of bronzes throughout the meet.
Peacock, who won the 1500 freestyle earlier this week, put up a silver-winning time of 8:28.21 after leading the race nearly wire-to-wire until De Memme took over at the 750-meter mark. USA's Ashley Steenvoorden gave Team USA a 2-3 finish with an 8:29.79 for bronze.
Lichtenstein's Julia Hassler (8:37.05), Australia's Katie Goldman (8:37.10), Italy's Aurora Ponsele (8:38.54), Japan's Asami Chida (8:39.61) and Canada's Savannah King (8:43.15) also competed in the championship finale to round out the top eight in the distance freestyle event.
Men's 100 fly
Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski powered his way home with a 27.19 final 50 meters to capture the men's 100-meter fly title this evening. He finished the swim with a sizzling 51.75 as he surpassed leader Yauhen Tsurkin of Belarus. That performance jumped Korzeniowski to seventh in the world rankings now behind Ryan Lochte's sixth-ranked 51.71 from the U.S. World Championship Trials.
Tsurkin, meanwhile, picked up a second-place time of 51.80 to move to 10th in the world rankings overall after going out hard with a 24.05 at the turn. Russia's Evgeny Koptelov rounded out the podium with a third-place time of 52.04.
Russia's Nikita Konovalov (52.10), Switzerland's Nico Van Duijn (52.52), USA's Jack Conger (52.61), Japan's Masayuki Umemoto (52.91) and Poland's Oskar Krupecki (53.08) finished fourth through eighth to comprise the rest of the championship heat.
Women's 200 free
Russia's Viktoriya Andreeva pulled off an outside smoke victory from lane one with a meet record time in the women's 200-meter freestyle. Adreeva led a Russian 1-2 that popped the crowd at the Aquatics Palace as the host nation continued to roll in Kazan.
Andreeva pushed the pace early and held off a late charge by compatriot Veronika Popova as Andreeva clocked a 1:57.31 for the win. That swim beat the Universiade record of 1:57.67 set by world-record holder Federica Pellegrini back in 2007. Popova, meanwhile, posted a second-place time of 1:57.40 for silver, also under the former meet mark to provide the host nation 1-2. Great Britain's Caitlin McClatchey earned third in 1:58.20 for the bronze on the podium.
Canada's Brittany Maclean (1:58.53), Great Britain's Rebecca Turner (1:59.08), USA's Chelsea Chenault (1:59.24), USA's Megan Romano (2:00.67) and 800 free winner Martina De Memme (2:07.25).
Notably, De Memme collapsed after her difficult double, swimming 1000 meters in about 20 minutes including winning the 800. Medical personnel swarmed the swimmer, and the 800-meter freestyle medal ceremony was postponed until De Memme could take part in the festivities later in the evening.
Women's 50 back
Russia's Anastasia Zueva vaulted into sixth in the world in the women's 50-meter back with a meet-record effort in the sprint dorsal event.
Zueva popped a sterling time of 27.89 to move just behind Etiene Medeiros (27.88) in the world rankings, and break the meet record of 27.92 set by Jenny Connolly of the U.S. in Shenzhen in 2011. Zueva is still on the comeback trail from foot surgery earlier this year, but has long been one of the top sprint backstrokers in the world.
Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia nearly captured yet another gold medal with a silver-winning time of 28.01, while Australia's Madison Wilson raced to bronze in 28.33.
USA's Cindy Tran (28.45), Ukraine's Daryna Zevina (28.58), Italy's Elena Gemo (28.70), Hong Kong's Stephanie Au (28.83) and Poland's Klaudia Nazieblo (28.84) rounded out the championship heat in the sprint dorsal event.
Men's 200 back
USA's Jack Conger, who is headed to the University of Texas this fall, blitzed the field in the distance dorsal en route to nearly breaking the U.S. National Age Group mark for 17-18 year old males currently held by the best backstroker in history Aaron Peirsol.
Peirsol raced a 1:55.15 back in 2002, and Conger dropped a 28.91 final 50 meters to pull away for a 1:55.47 for the win. The swim vaulted him to fourth in the world behind only Ryosuke Irie (1:54.72), Hosuke Hagino (1:55.12) and Ryan Lochte (1:55.16) this year, and moved ahead of Tyler Clary (1:55.58) as the second-fastest American in the world at this point.
Japan's Yuki Shirai pulled past USA's Jacob Pebley in the final 50 meters to capture silver with a 1:56.95, while Pebley managed to earn bronze with a 1:57.43 after pushing the pace early with a 56.28 at the 100-meter mark.
Japan's Hayata Matsubara (1:57.72), France's Eric Ress (1:58.83), France's Ben Stasiulis (1:59.25), Russia's Anton Anchin (1:59.47) and Great Britain's Ryan Bennet (1:59.80) completed the rest of the finale finishes.
Men's 50 breast
South Africa's Giulio Zorzi managed to top a stocked field in the men's 50-meter breast with a winning effort in the sprint event.
Zorzi clocked a time of 27.44, while Italy's Andrea Toniato finished second in 27.53. Russia's Vlad Morozov just missed his third gold medal with a 27.70 to take bronze in the finale. The Russian fans had a bit of a downer after the finish as many in attendance had hope for Morozov to pull off an incredible swim. But, considering what the Sizzling Siberian has done this week, a bronze in an off event can't be considered anything but positive heading into the World Championships.
Russia's Oleg Utekhin (27.84), USA's Mike Alexandrov (27.84), Switzerland's Martin Schweizer (27.90), Finland's Eetu Karvonen (27.90) and Belarus' Yury Klemparski (27.96) also competed in the finale.
Men's 800 free relay
The Russians threw down the gauntlet heading into the World Championships with a blazing time of 7:05.49 that not only set the top time in the world in the relay, but delivered the best time in the men's 200-meter free as Danila Izotov rocked his leadoff.
Izotov threw down a sterling time of 1:44.87 in the 200-meter free to start off the Russians, clearing the previous world best of 1:44.99 set by China's Sun Yang at the Chinese Nationals. With Sun electing not to swim the 200 in Barcelona, Izotov definitely moved into a contender spot heading into Worlds with that sizzling swim. He's only a second off his Russian record of 1:43.90 set during semifinals of the 2009 World Championships during the techsuit era.
The fearsome foursome of Izotov (1:44.87), Nikita Lobintsev (1:46.74), Artem Lobuzov (1:47.50) and Alexander Sukhorukov (1:46.38) turned in a final time of 7:05.49 to crush the previous meet mark of 7:11.54 set by Japan in Belgrade in 2009 during the techsuit era. The Russian time today is truly remarkable, and should be interesting to see what is coming up for the Russians in Barcelona.
USA's Michael Weiss (1:47.66), Michael Wynalda (1:47.84), Austin Surhoff (1:48.54) and Matt Barber (1:49.54) finished second in 7:!3.58, while Australia's Ryan Napoleon (1:48.26), Justin James (1:48.53), George O'Brien (1:49.40) and Shane Asbury (1:49.31) finished third in 7:15.50.
Japan (7:16.29), Italy (7:21.98), Switzerland (7:22.95) and Canada (7:23.55) took fourth through seventh, while France drew a disqualification on an early relay takeoff by Ben Stasiulis.
Women's 50 breast
Russia's Yuliya Efimova, who has had a special meet thus far in her home nation, topped the sprint breaststroke semifinal heats with a 30.72. She's been a bit faster with a fourth-ranked time of 30.56 at the Russian Nationals here in this pool. The question remains whether she can crack 30 seconds during finals, beating her time from Nationals as well.
Czech's Petra Chocova nabbed the second seed with a time of 30.75, just off her preliminary time of 30.67 that vaulted her to sixth in the world rankings. Ukraine's Mariia Liver raced her way to third overall with a time of 31.16.
Russia's Valentina Artemeva took fourth in 31.41, while Ireland's Fiona Doyle posted a fifth-place 31.44 to move within striking distance of Sycerika McMahon's Irish record of 31.27 from the 2012 European Championships.
Canada's Tianna Rissling (31.47), USA's Laura Sogar (31.69) and USA's Emily McClellan (31.87) also earned transfer spots into the finale.
Men's 50 free
The Sizzling Siberian Vlad Morozov, who has been on fire so far at this meet including a monster victory in the 100-meter freestyle yesterday, popped a meet record in the men's 50-meter freestyle during semifinals tonight.
Morozov raced his way to a 21.81, clearing the previous record of 22.02 set by Sergey Fesikov in Belgrade back in 2009. The swim is just short of Morozov's season best of 21.72 that ranks sixth in the world. He clocked that time here in Kazan during Russian Nationals earlier this year.
Morozov's teammate Andrey Grechin won the second semifinal with a 22.07 to qualify second overall heading into the finale. Ukraine's Andrii Govorov snared the third seed with a time of 22.17.
Australia's Andrew Abood (22.27), Italy's Federico Bocchia (22.32), USA's Derek Toomey (22.45), USA's Adam Small (22.61) and Poland's Filip Wypych (22.71) also made their way into the championship heat.
Women's 200 fly
Japan's Kona Fujita cruised during the semifinal heats with a 2:09.68, finishing nearly a full second ahead of the rest of the pack. She's likely to crack into the top 10 in the world during finals with Liliana Szilagyi currently anchoring the 10th spot with a 2:08.48.
Russia's Yana Martynova, a huge hometown favorite in Kazan, clinched the second seed in the finale with a 2:10.63, while Switzerland's Martina Van Berkel snared third in 2:11.61.
Australia's Amy Smith (2:11.82), Canada's Katerine Savard (2:12.29), Japan's Nao Kobayashi (2:13.78), Canada's Stephanie Horner (2:14.67) and Poland's Klaudia Nazieblo (2:16.53) also made their way into the finale.
Women's 50 free
France's Anna Santamans held off the favorite Aliaksandra Herasimenia in semifinal 2 to lead the way into the finale tomorrow night in the women's splash-and-dash.
Santamans touched in 24.83 to grab ninth in the world overall, ahead of Herasimenia's time from the Turkish Open of 24.85. Herasimenia, who owns the meet record with a 24.62 from 2009, qualified second for Belarus in 24.94 this evening.
USA's Megan Romano topped the first semifinal with a third-seeded time of 25.13, while Italy's Silvia Di Pietro finished fourth in 25.25.
Canada's Sandrine Mainville (25.32), Russia's Elizaveta Bazarova (25.38), Australia's Melissa Mitchell (25.38), and Italy's Erika Ferraioli (25.42) also earned spots into the championship finale tomorrow night in the ever-exciting sprint freestyle.
Results: World University Games: Day Six Finals
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