KAZAN, Russia, November 20. FIVE national records fell in the course of five days at the Russian short course meters national championships, with Veronika Popova and Svetlana Chimrova each responsible for two of them as the country prepares its roster for the European championships. Additionally, 27 national junior records were broken by some of the country's rising stars.
Courtesy of: USA Today Sports
Courtesy of: USA Today Sports
Popova was one of the darlings of the World University Games in this same pool, winning multiple events. She was unable to parlay that into much success at the world championships a couple of weeks later, winning just a bronze medal in the 400 medley relay. It appears she's back on track as she looks ahead to the European championships, winning five events at nationals.
Popova's first record came in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:06.88, beating her own mark of 2:07.09 from 2011. She followed that up with a 52.58 in the 100 free, bettering another one of her records. She swam a 52.86 at last year's nationals to set the previous mark. Popova nearly broke the 200 free national record of 1:53.85 held by Daria Belyakina with a winning time of 1:54.01.
Popova also won the 200 IM with a 2:10.21 and took the 400 free with a 4:04.38.
Svetlana Chimrova, a double gold medalist in the sprint butterfly events at the junior world championships as well as a medley relay bronze medalist at world championships, lowered two records formerly held by Irina Bespalova. She barely dipped under the record time of 25.95 in the 50 fly with a 25.93 to win that event, and won the 100 fly on the final day with a 57.35, beating Bespalova's mark of 57.51.
The fifth national record of the meet came from Oleg Kostin in the men's 200 breaststroke. His time of 2:02.38 not only beats Vyacheslav Sinkevich's record of 2:02.45 from last December, but it puts him second in the world behind the 2:01.30 swum by Daniel Gyurta last week. Sinkevich, who had a breakout meet at the World University Games, placed second in 2:03.68 and may be holding off on a full taper for the European championships.
Another top swim of the meet came in the men's 100 backstroke, as unheralded Vitaly Melnikov posted a 49.87 in the event to sit in a tie for the top swim in the world this year with American Eugene Godsoe. Though an impressive swim, it's still about a second away from Stanislav Donets' national record of 48.95 from 2010.
A trio of sprinters gave Russia a big boost for its men's 400 free relay, posting times that put them in the top 12 in the world. Nikita Konovalov won the 100 free with a 46.70 for seventh in the world, with Sergey Fesikov placing second with a 46.78 for 10th and Evgeny Lagunov third with a 46.86 to put him 12th globally. Add in Vlad Morozov's 45.65 from the Tokyo stop of the World Cup, and Russia has a solid foursome for the European championships.
Russia picked up silver in the 800 free relay at the long course world championships and has the potential for a strong showing at the European championships. With the four swimmers who competed in Barcelona not racing at nationals -- and their participation at Europeans unknown at this time -- Russia might have to rely on the talents of Evgeny Lagunov to carry Russia in the relay. He won the 200 free with a 1:43.74, though he has the potential to be much faster in Herning. Second place went to Vyacheslav Andrusenko with a 1:43.95 and Mikhail Polischuk was third with a 1:43.97.
Semen Makovich set three junior records at the meet, winning the 200 IM with a 1:55.78 and taking the 400 IM victory with a 4:06.02. He also posted a 54.33 in the 100 IM prelims before scratching from semifinals. Makovich was a standout at the junior world championships, winning silver medals in both IMs behind American Gunnar Bentz.
Daria Usitnova won multiple medals as well at the world junior championships and at the World University Games, and she set two junior records in the backstroke events. She posted a 27.58 in placing third in the 50 backstroke and 58.65 in her silver medal placing in the 100 back.
Click the results link below for top three finishers in each event.
Results: Russia SCM championships