MOSCOW, July 7. RUSSIA'S 19 year-old distance free sensation, Yuri Prilukov, gave notice yesterday that he's ready for prime time – starting two weeks from now in Barcelona.
Last year, Prilukov won the 200/400/1500 trifecta at the European Junior Championships in Linz, Austria, then came back to win the 1500 in 15:03.88 at the European Championships in Berlin. In the year since those continental triumphs, Prilukov has been working hard and he is now ready to don the mantle of former distance king, countryman Vladimir Salnikov.
In a preview of Barcelona, where he hopes to challenge Australia's unbeaten Grant Hackett — the greatest distance swimmer in history — Prilukov set a European record in the 800 meter freestyle, clocking 7:49.72. His time slashed almost a second off the former mark, set almost exactly 17 years ago, by Salnikov at 7:50.64. At the time it was the world record.