FINA World Short Course Championships: Kliment Kolesnikov Paces Frantic 50 Back

Kliment Kolesnikov 100 free
Kliment Kolesnikov: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

FINA World Short Course Championships: Kliment Kolesnikov Paces Frantic 50 Back

Kliment Kolesnikov is the top seed after a frantic preliminary heat in the men’s 50 backstroke Saturday in Abu Dhabi on the third day of prelims at the FINA World Short Course Championships.

Kolesnikov led the way with a time of 23.14 seconds. He was .01 ahead of a perhaps surprising face in second, Brazil’s Gabriel Fantoni. Shaine Casas of the U.S. was third in 23.23 with South Africa’s Pavel Samusenko fourth. Casas had gone out in 23.29 on the way to outdueling Kolesnikov in the 100 backstroke final on Friday.

Now for the chaos: Ties forced swim off for the 16th and final place in semifinals between Portugal’s Alexis Santos and Tomas Franta of the Czech Republic. (Santos would win a swim off later in the session in 23.41 by three tenths.) Swimmers also tied for eighth, 11th and 18th, the latter of which could force a swim-off for an alternate role.


Women’s 50 butterfly

There are plenty of stars present for the semifinals, but a few notable names scratched, depriving Abu Dhabi of a seriously loaded final.

First is Sarah Sjostrom in 24.92 seconds. She’s been stalking the world record, held by countrywoman Therese Alshammar at 24.38 since 2009, for years. Second in prelims was Ranomi Kromowidjojo in 24.97, a half-second off the competition record she set in 2018.

Kromowidjojo’s fellow Dutchwoman Maaike de Waard, parlaying a tremendous season in the ISL with the Cali Condors, took the third seed. The U.S. put two in the top seven with Claire Curzan (fourth in 25.17) and Torri Huske (seventh in 25.43). China’s Zhang Yufei finished fifth.

Opting out of the event were reigning Olympic 100 fly champ Maggie MacNeil, her fellow Canadian Kylie Masse as well as Beryl Gastaldello.


Women’s 100 individual medley

Anastasia Gorbenko’s quest to double up on gold is off to a strong start, the Israeli swimmer setting the fastest time in prelims at 58.36 seconds. Switzerland’s Maria Ugolkova was second in 59.05, .01 up on Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands. Kayla Sanchez was fourth.

Both Americans got through, with Abbey Weitzeil eighth in 59.44 and Melanie Margalis 13th in 59.54.


Men’s 100 individual medley

Daiya Seto set the pace in prelims with a time of 51.52 seconds, easily ahead of the field. Second was Caio Pumputis of Brazil in 51.99, just .16 off his national record from 2018. Finlay Knox was second in 52.05, within three-tenths of his Canadian mark. Tomoe Hvas of Norway was fourth ahead of Marco Orsi and South Korean 200 free champ Hwang Sunwoo.

Nic Fink earned a second swimmer by finishing 13th in 52.87 seconds. Again missing out on even a semifinal was Michael Andrew, who has continued to scuffle. He was 17th in 53.04 for the first alternate spot.


Women’s 200 backstroke

It was an American 1-2 in prelims of the women’s 200 back. Isabelle Stadden set the pace with a time of 2:03.26. Second was Rhyan White in 2:04.08 in an event that goes straight to the final.

The challenges are not as deep as usual. Absent the Aussies, the next challenger is Margherita Panziera of Italy who was third. Both she, Kylie Masse of Canada and Belarus’s Anastasiya Shkurdai got under 2:05.


Men’s 50 freestyle

Fresh off his strong season in the ISL, Ben Proud set the pace in prelims with a time of 20.91. He edged out the Netherlands’ Thom de Boer by .03. Ryan Held tied with Josh Liendo in 21.01. (For Liendo, it obliterates the super-suited Canadian record of 21.34 set in 2009 by Brent Hayden; Liendo was six years old then.)

Among the oddities of the field is a fourth-way tie for ninth place in 21.44. Michael Andrew, in his second swim of the day, earned a second swim by finishing 15th in 21.52.


Men’s 200 breaststroke

Ilya Shymanovich won’t be able to build on his 100 breast after finishing 10th in prelims at 2:04.99, .16 seconds out of the eighth spot in the final.

The pace-setter in the prelims session was Arno Kamminga, who clocked in at 2:03.17. He was just .07 ahead of Sweden’s Erik Persson. South Africa’s Mikhail Dorinov took the third spot in 2:03.87.

Pumputis earned his second qualifying swim of the day in sixth. Ditto Fink in seventh, advancing along with fellow American Will Licon (fourth in 2:04.06).


Mixed medley relay

The Americans have apparently learned their lessons from the mixed medley relay debacle in Tokyo over the summer. Following the conventional wisdom of front-loading the men’s legs, the U.S. grabbed the top seed in prelims at 1:37.74. Shaine Casas, Nic Fink, Kate Douglass and Katharine Berkoff comprised the foursome. It was Casas’s second swim of the morning session and Fink’s third. Douglass and Berkoff have been relay stalwarts at the FINA World Short Course Championships this week.

Second was the Russian squad of Pavel Samusenko, Andrei Nikolaev, Arina Surkova and Rozaliya Nasretdinova. As they did to get bronze in the mixed free relay, the Russians have finals upgrade options. Ditto the Dutch, who were the third seed with only Arno Kamminga likely to hold over to finals (and certainly with Ranomi Kromowidjojo to come). Greece, Finland and Belarus booked finals spots.