SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia, December 20. WHILE some of the fastest times of the day overall went to the breaststrokers, Nikita Lobintsev and Sarah Sjostrom pocketed the most cash with a pair of victorious doubles this evening at the Salnikov Cup.
Nikita Lobintsev opened up the evening with a touchout triumph ahead of Danila Izotov, 46.46 to 46.49, in the men’s 100 free. That swim vaulted Lobintsev to sixth in the world rankings, just behind Izotov’s fifth-ranked season best of 46.41 from the European Short Course Championships last weekend. Alexander Sukhorukov wound up taking third in 46.84, just ahead of Andrey Grechin’s fourth-place 46.87.
Lobintsev doubled up with a win in the men’s 400 free when he held off a hard-charging Ryan Cochrane of Canada. Lobintsev pushed out to an early lead, winning in 3:43.18, but had to worry a bit in the final 100 meters as Cochrane clearly out-split him down the stretch to take second in 3:43.88. Cochrane dropped a 26.88 in the final 50 meters compared to Lobintsev’s 28.03, but the Russian had already done enough to claim the title. Egor Degtyarev picked up third-place honors in 3:45.52.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who stands second in the world rankings with a 55.78 to win a European title, cruised to victory in the women’s 100 fly tonight in 56.36. The Netherlands’ Inge Dekker finished second in 57.10, while Belarus’ Aliaksandra Herasimenia hit the wall third in 57.86.
Sjostrom returned in the women’s 50 free later in the evening to double up. She hit the wall in 23.96, just off her third-ranked season best of 23.79 from the European Champs. Herasimenia moved from bronze in the 100 fly to silver in the sprint free with a 24.09, while Rozaliya Nasretdinova claimed third in 24.18.
Viktoriya Andreeva was the only swimmer to clear 1:57 in the women’s 200 free as she topped the finale in 1:56.73. The Netherlands’ Maud van der Meer placed second in 1:57.99, while Arina Openysheva took third in 1:58.02.
After a bit of a break from the sport, South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh demolished the field in the sprint breaststroke event. Van der Burgh, who holds the world record with a 25.25 from 2009, smashed the finale with a 26.10. That performance jumped him to third in the world behind only Roland Schoeman (25.65) and Fabio Scozzoli (25.72). Australia’s Christian Sprenger placed second in 26.72, half-a-second off his fifth-ranked 26.24 from the Singapore stop of the FINA World Cup. Kirill Strelnikov touched third in 26.80.
The breaststrokes continued to produce some of the top times of the night as European champion Yuliya Efimova blasted the women’s 100 breast finale with a 1:03.86. That’s a second off her third-ranked 1:02.96 from Herning, but is more than two seconds ahead of Ganna Dzerkal’s 1:06.26 for second tonight. Valentina Artemyeva rounded out the podium with a 1:06.64.
Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh moved into the top 10 in the world with a 4:05.69 to win the men’s 400 IM. That effort pushed him to 10th in the world rankings. Semen Makovich touched a distant second in 4:07.64, while Dmitry Gorbunov wound up third in 4:10.95.
Andrey Shabasov stopped the clock in 51.12 to win the men’s 100 back finale, while Pavel Kosmynin picked up second in 52.33. Anton Butymov snared third overall in 52.62. Alexandra Papusha followed with a 27.38 to win the women’s 50 back, while Nadezhda Vinyukova (27.44) and Polina Lapshina (27.94) completed the top three.
He didn’t need his season-best 1:50.99 that ranks him fourth in the world to win the men’s 200 fly this evening as Nikolay Skvortsov dominated the finale by nearly three seconds with a 1:52.30. Evgeny Koptelov wound up second in 1:55.10, while Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin earned third in 1:55.30. Cseh nearly claimed a second podium with a fourth-place 1:55.78.
Viacheslav Sinkevich, who stands sevenths in the world with a 2:03.68 from Russian Nationals, picked up an easy win in the men’s 200 breast with a 2:04.65 this evening. Oleg Kostin placed second in 2:05.63, while Ukraine’s Andriy Kovalenko snared third in 2:06.38.
Anastasia Ivanenko rolled to victory in the women’s 800 free with an 8:28.88, while Elizaveta Gorshkova took second in 8:33.27. Anastasia Krapiva picked up third-place honors in 8:38.68. Viacheslav Prudnikov then won the men’s 100 IM with a 53.83, while Dmitry Zhilin took second in 53.85. Ivan Alexeev placed third in 54.09.
In a fun head-to-head battle, Germany’s Jenny Mensing held off a late charge from Canada’s Hilary Caldwell in the women’s 200 back, 2:05.64 to 2:05.94. Caldwell, similar to fellow Canadian Cochrane earlier in the night, tried to pull off a final rally with a 31.97 last split, but couldn’t make up the difference. Alexandra Papusha finished third overall in 2:06.78.
Belarus’ Yauhen Tsurkin closed out individual events for the night with a 22.64 in the men’s 50 fly. That’s just a bit off his seventh-ranked 22.45 from the European Short Course Championships. Evgeny Korotyshkin hit the wall second in 22.85, while Sergei Fesikov placed third in 23.13.
Russia’s Veronika Popova, Svetlana Knyaginina, Daria Ustinova and Irina Shvaeva won the women’s 400 free relay in 3:38.54, while Viacheslav Andrusenko, Evgeny Lagunov, Oleg Tikhobaev and Alexander Sukhorukov snagged the men’s 400 free relay title in 3:11.90.