By Phillip Whitten
MOSCOW, April 28. AGELESS Alexander Popov proved his move from Australia to Switzerland earlier this year was a good one, as he reasserted his dominance over Russian sprint swimming with two decisive victories at the Russian National Championships, held in Moscow, April 21-25.
The four-time Olympic gold medalist took the 50m free in 22.17 seconds — second fastest in the world this year behind only Johan Kenhuis of Holland, who swam three-hundredths faster at the Dutch Nationals. Popov also cruised to victory in the 100 free at 49.27 seconds.
Aside from Popov's swims, there was precious little to crow about on the men's side. Distance ace Yuri Prilukov took the three distance events — the 400, 800 and 1500 meters — with ease, swimming his best race in the 800 (7:57.72).
Three different men emerged victorious in the fly events: newcomer Evgeni Korotyshkin took the 50 in a swift 23.86, while vetearns Igor Marchenko won the 100 (52.91) and Anatoli Poliakov took the 200 (1:57.20).
One hundred meter breaststroke world record-holder Roman Sludnov passed on the one let lap, but won the 50 in an undistinguished 28.63. Veteran Evgeni Alechine took the 200 back in 1:59.49.
The women's side showed enouraging signs of a revitalizaation movement, as up-and-coming young teenagers dominated the proceedings.
Sixteen year-old Stanislava Komarova, the European champion and the "old lady" of the group, won the 100 and 200m backstroke events in 1:02.03 and 2:10.60. The laatter race was particulaarly good.
Fifteen year-old regina Sytch swept the distance events with performances of 4:13.00 in the 400, 8:36.77 in the 800 and 16:36.80 in the 1500. She was stymied in her attempt for a fourth win when 14 year-old Daria Parshina took the 200 free in 2:01.60. Parshina was also second in the 400 (4:13.77).
Another 15 year-old, Yana Tolkacheva, took both medleys with times of 2:17.90 and 4:45.69. In the longer race, she overcame a stsrong challenge from a 14 year-old Yana — Yana Martynara, who touched in 4:46.29.
Veterans Elena Bogomazova and Natalia Sutiagina also swam well. Bogomazova won the 50 breast in a speedy 31.79 and the 200 in 2:30.06. Sutiagina clocked 59.93 for the 100 fly.