Kazan 2021: Sjostrom And Kolesnikov With Standout Swims; Russian 800 Mark For Kirpichnikova

Aug 1, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Sarah Sjoestroem (SWE) reacts after finishing second in the women's 50m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Sarah Sjostrom: Photo Courtesy: Robert Hanashiro

Sarah Sjostrom and Kliment Kolesnikov were standout performers on the first morning of the 2021 European Short-Course Championships in Kazan, Russia.

The pair headed their respective fields in the 50 free and 50 back at the Aquatic Palace with Kristof Milak marking his debut at the continental showcase by progressing in the 100 fly and 50 back.

Anastasia Kirpichnikova lowered her Russian 800 free record to 8:08.44 to lead the way ahead of defending champion Simona Quadarella and Martina Caramignoli.

The Italian women once more demonstrated their breaststroke depth.

Arianna Castiglioni and Martina Carraro headed the 100br field into Tuesday’s semis with Francesca Fangio and Benedetta Pilato – the world 50 record holder – missing out.

Sjostrom And Kolesnikov Make Intentions Clear

Aug 1, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Pernille Blume (DEN) and Sarah Sjoestroem (SWE) celebrate their second and third place finish in the women's 50m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Saraj Sjostrom, Pernille Blume: Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher

It has been a year of highs and lows for Sjostrom.

The Swede required elbow surgery in February after falling on ice south of Stockholm which threatened her participation in Tokyo 2020.

She didn’t return to competition until the Mare Nostrum tour in June where she illustrated she would be among the contenders in Japan the following month.

And so it turned out, Sjostrom taking 50 free silver behind Emma McKeon with Danish defending champion Pernille Blume in third.

In Kazan, the 28-year-old showed off her underwaters as she led the field in 23.32, just 0.32 off her Swedish record of 23.00 that has stood since August 2017 and the World Cup stop in Berlin.

Katarzyna Wasick – the European long-course silver medallist (23.68) – and defending champion Maria Kameneva (23.98) were next through.

Kliment Kolesnikov WR 2021 Europeans

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Kolesnikov made his first appearance of the meet as he led the field into the men’s 50 backstroke semis in 22.85, the Russian having swept the backstroke events in 2019.

Michele Lamberti of Italy was the only other man under 23secs in 22.91 – an Italian record – with Milak also squeezing through in 14th in 23.91.

Italian Women Showcase Breaststroke Depth; Milak Flies To Semis

Carraro won the 100 breaststroke in Glasgow ahead of Castiglioni and she led the way in heat two in 1:04.44 ahead of Fangio in 1:04.86.

Castiglioni won heat three in 1:04.40 meaning Pilato would have to go inside 1:04.44 to progress.

The 16-year-old went 1:05.23, however, and missed out in the two-per-nation rule.

Jul 26, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Kristof Milak (HUN) in the men's 200m butterfly heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Robert Hanashiro — USA Today Sports

Milak returned to the water minutes after the 50 back for the 100 fly.

Aleksandr Shchegolev headed the field in 50.05 with Milak through in fifth in 50.39.

In the final event of the morning prelims, Kirpichnikova rewrote the Russian record books in the 800 free.

Kirpichnikova’s previous mark stood at 8:10.96 from the 2019 Russian Championships – also in Kazan – from which she sliced 2.52secs.

De Tullio Leads Way In 400 Free; Jakabos And Gunes Dead Heat

None of the 2019 medallists – Danas Rapsys, Tom Dean and Gabriele Detti – were competing in the men’s 400 free.

David Popovici led until the 350 mark in the first heat when he stopped – apparently having miscalculated – with David Betlehem taking advantage and forging a clear lead.

With three more heats remaining that contained real depth and quality, progression was always unlikely for either the Hungarian or Popovici and so it proved.

Marco de Tullio led the field into Tuesday’s final in 3:40.77, 0.01 ahead of the Netherlands’ Luc Kroon (3:40.78), Henrik Christiansen (3:40.85) and Florian Wellbrock (3:41.09).

JAKABOS Zsuzsanna DCT DC Trident (DCT) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 9 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

The six-day event kicked off with the women’s 400IM.

Katinka Hosszu won four titles last time out in Glasgow – including the IM double – but her absence means there will be a new champion.

Hozzsu’s fellow Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos – who was second in 2019 – tied with Viktoria Gunes of Turkey in the third and final heat with the pair clocking the fastest qualification times in 4:34.76.

Anja Crerar was next through with Maria Ugolkova – who enjoyed a medal-laden World Cup tour – squeezing through in eighth.