Dmitriy Balandin Tops Tight 200 Breast Field; Earns Kazakhstan’s First Ever Swimming Gold Medal

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports


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Men’s 200 Breast FINAL:

The men’s 200 breaststroke final went off in true Olympic upset fashion. Swimming in lane eight, Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin surged ahead in the final 25-meters of the race to upset the pool and take home gold with a time of 2:07.46. Balandin’s win marks the first-ever swimming medal for Kazakhstan.

Making Balandin’s victory even sweeter was that it came just minutes after countryman Nijat Rahimov won Kazakhstan’s first gold medal in any sport at the Rio Olympics when he posted a world record to win weightlifting’s 77-kilogram class.

Also surging ahead in the final length of the race was the USA’s Josh Prenot who accelerated his stroke rate to that of one swimming the 50 or 100 breaststroke. Prenot got his hand to the wall just behind Dmitriy for silver and a time of 2:07.53.

Russia’s Anton Chupkov picked up the bronze medal with a final time of 2:07.70.

Great Britain’s Andrew Willis was the only returning Olympian from 2012 in this heat of the finals, improving upon his 2012 eighth place performance to finish fourth with a time of 2:07.78.

Close behind Willis was Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki, who led throughout the majority of the race, taking the race out under World Record pace for the first 100. Koseki was unable to hold off the accelerated stroke rates of Balandin and Prenot, slipping to fifth with a 2:07.80.

Teammate Ippei Watanabe. and top seed after last night’s semi-finals, posted a final time of 2:07.87 for sixth, adding just slightly to his new Olympic Record of 2:07.22 from semis.

Germany’s Marco Koch (2:08.00) and the USA’s Kevin Cordes (2:08.34) rounded out the top eight.

Full results are available here.

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