PHOENIX, Arizona, January 12. AFTER initially stating his desire to compete for the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games, Vladimir Morozov told SwimmingWorld.TV today that he will compete instead for his native Russia in international competitions, at least through 2012.
In an interview taped today for The Morning Swim Show, Morozov said the process to grant him U.S. citizenship could not be completed in time for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Though Morozov only spoke of the Olympics, it is likely he will represent his native country this summer at the world championships as well, since he still holds Russian citizenship.
Morozov, the male high school swimmer of 2010 for Swimming World Magazine who is now a freshman at the University of Southern California, expressed his desire to compete for the USA in an April 2009 interview. "I'd like to stay here (United States) for the rest of my life, so I'd like to represent America," Morozov said in that Morning Swim Show interview. Morozov and his mother emigrated to the United States about four years ago from Russia, where he began his swimming career in Siberia.
Morozov's announcement will add to the stable of strong sprinters for Russia, as that country increases its chances of winning the 400 freestyle relay at the world championships and the Olympics. Russia finished three-tenths of a second behind gold medalist United States at last year's FINA world championships in that event, and just missed out on gold at last month's short course worlds. At the 2008 Olympics, Russia finished ninth in the sprint relay.
Though Morozov's best time in the 100 long course freestyle is 49.06 from last summer's junior nationals, he has been improving in short course yards swimming since stepping onto campus at USC last fall, and told Peter Busch in today's interview that he aims to swim much faster this summer.
Watch the video player below to see Morozov talk about the decision to swim for Russia. The entire interview with Peter Busch will be available beginning at 2 a.m. Eastern time Monday, January 17, on swimmingworld.com and swimmingworld.tv.