MOSCOW, Russia, May 14. DARIA Ustinova, just 15 years old, is quickly taking over the top backstroke spot on the Russian squad as she has been putting up strong times all week at Russian Nationals.
A day after setting the World Junior Record in the women’s 200-meter back during semis with a 2:09.02, Ustinova chopped another second off her mark with a 2:08.02 to win the distance dorsal and move to second in the SwimVortex world rankings behind only Belinda Hocking. She did not have much company tonight as well with Alexandra Papusha taking second in 2:10.90 and Christina Vershinin earning third in 2:11.68.
Russia is definitely hurting for some backstroke help on the women’s side of the ledger with world-beater Anastasia Zueva taking the year off to focus on her pregnancy.
Ustinova concluded the evening as part of a Russian record in the mixed 400-meter free relay for St. Petersburg. Evgeny Ayzetulov, Ustinova, Alexander Popov and Veronika Popova turned in a 3:28.96 for the win. That clipped the 3:29.10 set by the Russian Junior National Team last summer.
Nikita Ulyanov moved up to 16th in the world rankings in the men’s 100-meter back with a winning time of 54.08. That performance put him just ahead of Nick Thoman’s 54.09 from the Austin Grand Prix, and behind Ryan Murphy’s 53.98 also from Austin. Andrei Shabasov finished second in 54.63 with Vitaliy Borisov taking third in 54.93.
Anastasia Ivanenko held off Arina Openysheva, 4:14.35 to 4:14.69, in the women’s 400-meter freestyle finale. Anna Egorova rounded out the top three in 4:16.85. Yana Martynova captured the women’s 200-meter fly title in 2:10.85 with Daria Shmakov (2:13.49) and Svetlana Chimrova (2:13.60) comprising the rest of the podium.
Veronika Popova leapfrogged Yolane Kukla into 17th in the world in the women’s 100-meter free with a 54.21 to win the finale. That’s just shy of Popova’s Russian record of 54.12 from Kazan a year ago. Victoria Andreyeva placed second in 55.02, while Margarita Nesterova earned third-place honors in 55.23.
Alexander Palatov pushed his way to 14th in the world rankings in the men’s 200-meter breast with a 2:10.94 for the win. Grigori Falko wound up second in 2:11.45 with Ilya Homenko winding up third in 2:11.60.
The Sizzling Siberian Vlad Morozov made his mark on the world rankings during the men’s 100-meter freestyle semifinal. Morozov blitzed the field with a 48.25 for the top time, moving to fifth in the world. There’s a decent chance that Morozov will join James Magnussen (47.59) and Cameron McEvoy (47.65) under 48 seconds during finals. Nikita Lobintsev (48.78), Sergey Fesikov (48.85) and Oleg Tihobaev (49.02) qualified second through fourth.
In other semifinal action, Alexander Tikhonov led the way in the men’s 200-meter IM with a 2:00.63, while Alexander Kudashov hit the wall in 1:57.82 to top the men’s 200-meter fly qualifying. Anna Belusova posted the top time in the women’s 200-meter breast semis with a 2:29.44.
Kirill Abrosimov closed out the night with a 15:17.25 to win the men’s 1500-meter freestyle. Evgeny Kulikov touched second in 15:32.19 with Ernest Maksumov placing third in 15:33.22.