KAZAN, Russia, April 20. VLAD Morozov is quickly becoming on par with some of the top versatile sprinters in the history of the sport, similar to Roland Schoeman who can sprint anything with the best in the world. This evening, Morozov threw down a sub-48 second time in the men's 100-meter free, then closed out the evening with a top time in the men's 50-meter breast semis.
The Sizzling Siberian Vlad Morozov turned up the heat in the men's 100-meter free with a world-leading time of 47.93 for the win. He beat the previous top time of 48.11 clocked by Nathan Adrian at the Mediterranean International Meet held in Marseille in early March, and came within half-a-second of the Russian record of 47.59 held by Andrey Grechin. Morozov split the race 22.58, 47.93 (25.35) en route to his strong finish, with a time that would have put him seventh in the 2012 London Olympics.
Morozov wasn't alone in the race as Nikita Lobintsev also cleared the FINA A cut with a 48.17, touching out Russian rocket Danila Izotov (48.18) by the slimmest of margins. Lobintsev and Izotov had stronger backhalves than Morozov with 25.27 and 24.92 final splits coming home, but could not match Morozov's front-end speed. Alexander Sukhorukov placed fourth in 48.89.
Morozov bookended his night with a touchout triumph in the men's 50-meter breaststroke as Morozov posted a 27.81 against Kyrill Strelnikov's second-seeded time of 27.85 out of the semifinal round. Thost times are only half-a-second off the Russian record of 27.34 owned by Alexander Triznov, and pushed Morozov and Strelnikov into the top 10 in the world this year.
Evgeny Kulikov punched his ticket to Barcelona with a FINA A cut in the men's 800-meter freestyle as he clocked a time of 7:57.12 for the win. That performance jumped him into the top 10 in the world as just two handfuls of swimmers have cleared 8:00 thus far. Evgeny Eliseev placed second in the distance event with a time of 8:01.30, while Aleksey Solpekovskiy finished third in 8:02.06.
Russian-record holder Yuliya Efimova turned in an easy-speed time of 2:25.55 to win the women's 200-meter breaststroke title, and better the FINA A cut. She's not yet in the range of the top swimmers in the world just yet, as Rikke Pedersen has a 2:20.53 to her credit from the Danish Open a month ago, but Efimova now stands within the top five with her effort this evening. Irina Novakova also bettered the FINA A cut in the event, taking second-place honors with a 2:27.03. Maria Temnikova wound up third overall with a 2:28.29.
Svetlana Chimrova touched out Irina Bespalova, 58.51 to 58.65, in the women's 100-meter fly finale. The times fell half-a-second off the Russian record of 58.32 owned by Natalia Sutyagina, but cleared the FINA A cut to secure a spot at the World Championships in Barcelona. Veronika Popova picked up a third-place time of 58.98, while Daria Tsvetkova finished fourth in 59.43.
Veronika Popova just clipped the FINA A cut in the women's 200-meter freestyle semifinals with a time of 1:58.66, but will have the chance to improve her Worlds seeding during finals of the event tomorrow. Viktoria Andreeva still has about a second to drop in finals to qualify for the individual event at Worlds after qualifying second in 1:59.51. Elena Sokolova qualified third in 2:00.61.
A pair of swimmers notched Worlds qualifying times in the men's 100-meter fly semifinal heats. Evgeny Koptelov paced all swimmers with a 52.28, while Nikita Konovalov matched the FINA A cut with a second-seeded time of 52.57. Nikolay Skvortsov could make a play for one of the two spots in finals after qualifying third in 52.76. All three times are among the top 10 in the world this year in what is setting up to be an epic finale tomorrow.
Anastasia Zueva, who is coming off an injury in October that forced her to focus on sprint backstroke events and drop the 200 from her slate this year, led semi qualifying with a FINA A cut time of 28.57 in the women's 50-meter back. Daria Ustinova, just 15, broke her Russian Youth record with a 28.75 to take the second seed. Her previous best had been a 28.92 from a year ago. Maria Gromova qualified third in 28.88.
Russian-record holder Arkady Vyatchanin put himself in position for another FINA A cut time, this time with a 1:59.62 to lead the way in the men's 200-meter back semis. Anton Anchin qualified second in 2:00.62, while Andrey Shabasov placed third in 2:01.10.
Special thanks to Rokur Jakupsstovu for translation.
Men 800 freestyle final
Russian record 7:46.84 Yuri Prilukov
1. Evgeny Kulikov 7:57.12 * FINA A cut
2. Evgeny Eliseev 8:01.30
3. Aleksey Solpekovskiy 8.02.06
Women 200 freestyle semifinal
Russian record 1:56.84 Veronika Popova
1. Veronika Popova 1:58.66 * FINA A cut
2. Viktoria Andreeva 1:59.51
3. Elena Sokolova 2:00.61
Men 100 butterfly semifinal
Russian record 51.26 Evgeny Korotyshkin
1. Evgeny Koptelov 52.28 * FINA A cut
2. Nikita Konovalov 52.57 * FINA A cut
3. Nikolay Skvortsov 52.76
Women 200 breaststroke final
Russian record 2:20.92 Yuliya Yefimova
1. Yuliya Yefimova 2:25.55 * FINA A cut
2. Irina Novikova 2:27.03 * FINA A cut
3. Maria Temnikova 2:28.29
Men 100 freestyle final
Russian record 47.59 Andrey Grechin
1. Vladimir Morozov 47.93 * FINA A cut
2. Nikita Lobintsev 48.17 * FINA A cut
3. Danila Izotov 48.18 * FINA A cut
Women 50 backstroke semifinal
Russian record 27.31 Anastasia Zueva
1. Anastasia Zueva 28.57 * FINA A cut
2. Dania Ustinova 28.75 * FINA A cut
3. Maria Gromova 28.88
Men 200 backstroke semifinal
Russian record 1:54.75 Arkady Vyatchanin
1. Arkady Vyatchanin 1:59.62
2. Anton Anchin 2:00.62
3. Andrey Shabasov 2:01.10
Women 100 butterfly final
Russian record 58.32 Natalia Sutyagina
1. Svetlana Chimova 58.51 * FINA A cut
2. Irina Bespalova 58.65 * FINA A cut
3. Veronika Popova 58.98
Men 50 breaststroke semifinal
Russian record 27.34 Alexander Triznov
1. Vladimir Morozov 27.81* FINA A cut
2. Kirill Strelnikov 27.85 * FINA A cut
3. Oleg Kostin and Stanislav Lahtyuhov 28.09