Russian National Championships: Nikolay Skvortsov Earns Olympic Bid; Anastasia Zueva Blasts 100 Back; Men’s 100 Free Finale Field Deep

MOSCOW, Russia, April 21. A slew of fast times went down on the penultimate day of the Russian National Championships held in Moscow.

Irina Bespalov cruised to victory in the women's 100 fly with a time of 59.00, but missed the FINA A cut of 58.70. She met the provisional qualifying time of 1:00.75 to potentially be nominated for a spot at the Olympics. Maria Ugolkova took second in 59.81, while Svetlana Fedurova finished third in 1:00.61.

Nikolay Skvortsov clipped the FINA A cut (1:56.86) in the men's 200 fly with a triumphant 1:56.48. That swim moved him to 17th in the world rankings this year. Skvortsov first represented Russia in the Olympics with a seventh-place finish in the men's 200 fly at the 2004 Athens Games. Maksim Ganichin took second tonight in 1:59.49, while Alexander Vorobjov finished third in 1:59.73.

Elena Sokolova won the women's 200 free in 1:58.81, touching out Veronika Popova (1:58.99) in the process. Both swimmers just missed the FINA A cut of 1:58.33, with Sokolova now earning provisional qualifying status under the FINA B cut of 2:02.47. Maria Baklakova finished third in 2:00.36.

In non-Olympic finals, Elizaveta Gorchkova claimed the women's 1500 free title in 16:41.43. That swim moved her to 23rd in the world rankings. Anna Guseva placed second in 16:51.17, while Ekaterina Selivjorstova wound up third in 16:56.67.

Alexander Tikhonov led the way in the men's 200 IM semis with a 2:00.49, while Dmitriy Gorbunov (2:01.57) and Dimitriy Shilin (2:01.67) rounded out the top three seeds. Swimmers will be shooting for the FINA A cut of 2:00.17 during finals tomorrow.

Yuliya Efimova added the women's 200 breast to the 100 breast on her Olympic docket with a 2:25.38 in semifinal qualifying. The swim cleared the FINA A cut of 2:26.89, and moved her to 11th in the world in the distance breaststroke event. Anastasia Chaun also bested the FINA A cut with a 2:26.10 for the second seed heading into finals, providing redemption after missing last summer's World Championships due to a blood draw injury. Chaun jumped to 19th in the world with her swim. Irina Novikova qualified third with a 2:28.54.

Vyacheslav Sinkevitch topped the men's 100 breast semis with a 1:01.28, but has some work to do to eclipse the FINA A cut of 1:00.79. Kirill Strenikov (1:01.36) and Roman Sludnov (1:01.38) rounded out a close finish for the top three.

The men's 100 free semifinals had six swimmers under 49 seconds for a deep finale field. Andrey Grechin paced semis with a 48.29 to move to fourth in the world. Only James Magnussen (47.10), James Roberts (47.63) and Yannick Agnel (48.02) have been faster this year. Nikita Lobintsev finished second in 48.37 for sixth in the world, while Danila Izotov placed third in 48.44 for eighth in the world. Vlad Morozov (48.56) and Evgeny Lagunov (48.74) finished fourth and fifth in semis, for the top five swimmers all being under the FINA A cut of 48.82. Along with Sergey Fesikov qualifying sixth in 48.88, a battle royale for the top two Olympic spots along with relay spots will occur in the finale.

Anastasia Zueva ripped through the women's 100 back semifinal with a blistering time of 59.21. That swim pushed her to second in the world behind only Aya Terakawa's 59.21, with finals yet to be swum, and easily bested the FINA A cut of 1:00.82. Maria Gromova qualified second in 1:01.32, while Ksenia Moskvina picked up third in 1:02.05.

Special thanks to Rokur Jakupsstovu of Swimmer's Daily for translation of results.

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