KAZAN, Russia, July 16. THE World University Games pool swimming came to a close this evening with Russia concluding what proved to be a dominant outing for the host nation in Kazan.
Courtesy of: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Women's 50 free
Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia captured her third individual gold medal of the meet with a blistering time of 24.48 for the win. She accelerated about halfway through the race to blast right past France's Anna Santamans for the victory.
The swim vaulted Herasimenia from 10th in the world this year to fourth behind only Cate Campbell (24.27), Ranomi Kromowidjojo (24.30) and Fran Halsall (24.44) as she firmly implanted herself into the World title contender conversation in Barcelona. Herasimenia, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, also managed to track down her meet record of 24.62 set in 2009 during the techsuit era.
Santamans, who led the race early on, raced her way to silver with a time of 24.81 to clip her previous season best of 24.83 from earlier in the meet. With Herasimenia leapfrogging her, Santamans now stands 10th in the world rankings.
USA's Megan Romano broke 25 seconds for the first time in her career with a bronze-winning time of 24.98. That performance cleared her previous top time of 25.12 from the Charlotte stop of the Arena Grand Prix as she broke through the magical barrier in the event.
Russia's Elizaveta Bazarova wound up fourth overall in 25.12, while Italy's Silvia Di Pietro checked in fifth in 25.23.
Italy's Erika Ferraioli (25.31), Australia's Melissa Mitchell (25.36) and Canada's Sandrine Mainville (25.46) also vied for the championship title this evening.
Men's 50 free
The Sizzling Siberian Vlad Morozov, who has been dropping some serious times on the competition throughout the entire meet, smashed his meet record in the men's splash-and-dash with a scorching time of 21.67.
That swim blasted his previous record of 21.81 from yesterday during the semifinal heats, and vaulted to fifth in the world heading into Barcelona. Nathan Adrian (21.47), James Magnussen (21.52), Florent Manaudou (21.55) and Cesar Cielo (21.57) are the only swimmers faster, with Morozov also downing his season best of 21.72 from Russian Nationals here in Kazan.
Morozov's teammate Andrey Grechin won a close battle for second with a time of 22.10, while Ukraine's Andrii Govorov picked up third in 22.17.
Australia's Andrew Abood (22.18), USA's Derek Toomey (22.37), Italy's Federico Bocchia (22.38), USA's Adam Small (22.45) and Poland's Filip Wypych (22.84) rounded out the rest of the championship field.
Women's 50 breast
The swimming world is truly excited to see the heavyweight battle between Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte and Russia's Yuliya Efimova. This past week, the two have been trading shots between Poland (Meilutyte, European Junior Championships) and Russia (Efimova, World University Games). Tonight was no different with Efimova blazing to a 30.12 in the women's 50-meter breast.
That effort crushed the previous meet record of 30.67 set by Petra Chocova during semis, and skyrocketed Efimova to second in the world rankings behind Meilutyte's 29.96 from the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrum circuit this summer. Previously, Efimova had been fourth in the world with a 30.56 from Russian Nationals, but tonight she leapt past Jessica Hardy (30.24) and Breeja Larson (30.40).
Chocova managed a silver-winning time of 30.99 tonight, while Russia's Valentina Artemeva snared bronze in 31.39. Ireland's Fiona Doyle just missed the podium with a fourth-place 31.40.
Ukraine's Mariia Liver (31.44), Canada's Tianna Rissling (31.56), USA's Emily McClellan (31.64) and USA's Laura Sogar (31.76) made up the fifth through eighth-place finishes.
Women's 200 fly
Japan's Kona Fujita timed her final 25 meter surge perfectly to capture her first gold medal of the meet in the distance butterfly event.
Fujita, with a 33.31 in the final 50 meters, prevailed in the finale with a time of 2:09.66 after turning fourth at the 150-meter mark. Her teammate Nao Kobayashi pulled off a more consistent second-place finish with a 2:10.66. She turned second at each split, and hit the wall for silver at the finish.
Russia's Yana Martynova, with her hometown crowd in Kazan urging her on with every stroke, pulled into the bronze-medal position with a 2:10.72.
Canada's Katerine Savard definitely flied and died in this event. She went out incredibly hard with a 1:01.11 at the 100-meter mark, and still led at the 150 with a 1:34.53, but wound up with a 36.49 final split to take fourth in 2:11.02.
Australia's Amy Smith (2:11.07), Switzerland's Martina Van Berkel (2:12.83), Poland's Klaudia Nazieblo (2:12.86) and Canada's Stephanie Horner (2:17.00) placed fifth through eighth to wrap up the championship heat.
Men's 400 IM
USA's Michael Weiss vaulted to seventh in the world as the third-fastest U.S. 400 IMer in the event with a blistering meet record of 4:12.00 at the World University Games.
Weiss' time put him behind only Ryan Lochte (4:11.36) and Chase Kalisz (4:11.83) this year in the U.S., and edged the previous meet record of 4:12.28 set by Poland's Mateusz Matczak back in 2009 at the Belgrade edition of the meet. That's a three-second drop for Weiss' lifetime best, smashing his 4:15.75 from the U.S. National Championships a few weeks ago.
Japan's Takeharu Fujimori initially took over the lead with a superior breaststroke leg, but couldn't hold off Weiss' freestyle as Fujimori settled for silver with a time of 4:13.43, while Great Britain's Lewis Smith had a lonely bronze with a 4:16.86.
Canada's Alec Page (4:18.56), Ukraine's Maksym Shemberev (4:19.44), Russia's Semen Makovich (4:19.73), USA's Adam Hinshaw (4:20.60) and Belarus' Yury Suvorau (4:25.91) rounded out the finale in the distance medley event.
Women's 400 free
Following a health scare last night when she collapsed on deck after a difficult 20-minute double between winning the 800-meter free and competing in the 200 free, Italy's Martina De Memme demonstrated she had plenty in her tank this night en route to winning her second gold medal.
De Memme popped a 4:07.69 in the middle-distance event for the win, to close out the individual events for the week in the pool. While Australia's Leah Neale looked strong through the first half of the swim, De Memme had way too much firepower in the final 200 meters as she started turning in 30s in the final 100 meters.
Russia's Elena Sokolova pushed her way to second in 4:08.51, while Great Britain's Caitlin McClatchey snagged third in 4:08.77. Canada's Brittany Maclean (4:08.95) and Savannah King (4:10.48) took fourth and fifth.
Neale, meanwhile, faded badly after leading at the 250-meter mark with a 2:34.65, as she took sixth overall in 4:11.29. USA's Stephanie Peacock (4:11:42) and Australia's Katie Goldman (4:13.24) also swam in the finale.
Women's 400 medley relay
The Russians crushed the field and the meet record in the women's medley relay as the powerful foursome of Anastasia Zueva, Yuliya Efimova, Veronika Popova and Viktoriiya Andreeva pushed the pace early and often en route to winning gold by nearly five seconds.
Zueva pushed out to a 59.88 in backstroke, vaulting her to eighth in the world in the event. Efimova then dropped a ridiculous breaststroke split of 1:05.51, while Popova (58.29) and Andreeva (54.36) closed out a meet record time of 3:58.04. That swim trumped China's standard of 3:59.15 from 2011 in Shenzhen.
Italy's Elena Gemo (1:01.86), Giulia De Ascentis (1:08.01), Elena Di Liddo (58.26) and Erika Ferraioli (54.48) placed second with a time of 4:02.61, while USA's Cindy Tran (1:02.07, Laura Sogar (1:07.75), Kelsey Floyd (59.56) and Megan Romano (53.33) wrapped up the podium with a bronze-winning 4:02.71 delivered by Romano's scorching anchor leg.
Canada (4:03.44), Australia (4:03.65), Japan (4:04.43), Ukraine (4:10.34) and Sweden (4:10.92) comprised the rest of the finale.
Men's 400 medley relay
The men's 400 medley relay proved to be much more competitive than the women's swim, but the end proved to be the same -- Russia on top of the podium of a meet the host nation absolutely dominated.
Russia's Vlad Morozov (53.99), Kirill Strelnikov (1:00.06), Evgeny Koptelov (51.86) and Andrey Grechin (48.36) powered to victory in a 3:34.27. Grechin's anchor proved to be the difference as Russia trailed a different team throughout the other legs of the race.
Japan's Yuki Shirai (53.81), Yasuhiro Koseki (59.72), Masayuki Umemoto (52.17) and Katsumi Nakamura (48.71) led at the halfway mark before taking home silver with a 3:43.41, while USA's Jack Conger (54.04), Mike Alexandrov (59.67), Kyler Van Swol (51.74) and Michael Wynalda (49.18) led at the 300 with Alexandrov and Van Swol posting strong legs before the team wound up third in 3:34.63.
Italy (3:36.64), Australia (3:36.70), Canada (3:39.28), South Africa (3:42.22) and Estonia (3:43.79) also competed in the final swim of the meet.
Results: World University Games: Day Seven Finals
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