Kliment Kolesnikov Wins Three Events at Impressive Russian Championships

Kliment Kolesnikov; Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Kliment Kolesnikov Wins Three Events at Impressive Russian Championships

Kliment Kolesnikov showed himself to be in fine form at the Russian Championships last week in Kazan, winning three events.

The two-time Olympic medalist displayed his versatility by winning the men’s 50 freestyle, 50 backstroke and 100 back, hitting Olympic A cuts in the two of those events that will be in the program at the 2024 Paris Olympics. It remains to be seen if Russian athletes will be eligible to compete at those Games, however.

Kolesnikov is positioning himself for that eventuality. He started by outdueling Evgeny Rylov in the 100 back, his time of 52.54 seconds easily besting the reigning Olympic champ’s 53.21. Six swimmers were under the Paris automatic qualification time in that event.

He added an impressive double in the 50 free and 50 back in the same session on April 19, the swims separated by just over an hour. He won the 50 free in 21.91, the only Olympic A cut of the field and comfortably ahead of Vladislav Grinev. He turned around to win the 50 back in 24.12. He also finished third in the 100 free, though he posted an A cut of 48.29 in prelims. Grinev won the final in 47.97, with Andrei Minakov second in 48.32.

Kolesnikov was one of five multiple winners on the men’s side at the meet, from April 16-21. Two of the four Russian records set at the meet came on the men’s side, the obvious headliner being Egveniia Chikunova’s emphatic 200 breast world record.

Aleksandr Stepanov was in both groups. He set the Russian record in the men’s 800 freestyle with a time of 7:42.47, blowing away the super-suited mark set in 2009 by Yury Prilukov (7:46.05.) Stepanov also won the 1,500 in 14:55.04. Both times are A cuts, as are the times of runner-up Kirill Martynychev in both.

Martin Malyutin won the 200 free and 400 free, the former in an A cut of 1:45.63. Ilya Borodin swept the IMs, with Maxim Stupin second both times. Borodin’s 200 IM time of 1:57.93 was an A cut that came within .43 seconds of the Russian record set in 2021 by Andrey Zhilkin. He also went 4:09.12 to win the 400 IM.

Ilya Shymanovich dominated the shorter breaststroke events. He won the 50 in 26.73, an event in which he set the Belarussian record at their national championships earlier in the month, then went 58.75 for an A cut in the 100 breast. Second was Kirill Prigoda, who then won the 200 breast in 2:07.47. Both of his times met the Olympic auto qualifying standard.

Rylov won the 200 back in 1:55.50, an A cut. Second was Alexey Tkachev, also with an A cut of 1:57.20. Dmitri Savenko was .01 back in third; that time and his fourth-place 100 back result were A cuts.

Butterfly was the only stroke on the men’s side without a clear dominant figure. Petr Zhikharev won the 100 fly in 50.88, besting Minakov (second in 51.23) and coming within .05 of taking his Russian record. The 50 was won by Egor Yurchenko, who went 22.94. Oleg Kostin was DQed in the event and later went 22.62 in a time trial to knock .08 off his national record. Veteran Aleksandr Kudashev won the 200 fly in 1:55.68.

Breaststroke was where the records were at on the women’s side. Chikunova’s 200 breast swim stands alone as the world record in such impressive fashion. It was one installment in her domination of the stroke.

Arina Surkova (photo: Mike Lewis)

Arina Surkova; Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis/ISL

She won the 50 breast in 30.78 seconds, and set the only A cut of the 100 breast by going 1:04.92. Her 50 breast time, though, wasn’t the fastest of the meet, thanks to Belarus’s Alina Zmushka. She went 30.57 in prelims but 30.90 in finals to get silver. Zmushka finished third in the 100 and second in the 200; the 100 time of 1:06.44 in semis was an Olymipc A cut and trimmed .03 off her national record from earlier in the month. She ended up third in finals behind Tatiana Belonogoff, who set a B cut time.

Arina Surkova delivered the other Russian record of the meet, winning the 50 fly in 25.30. She also won the 50 free, in an Olympic A cut of 24.58 (she was 24.50 in prelims) and finished second in the 100 fly to Svetlana Chimrova. Surkova’s time in the 100 was 57.93, an Olympic B cut that is .01 off the A standard. Chimrova was under the A standard in both the 100 (57.34) and 200 (2:08.09). Maria Kameneva was second in the 50 free, won the 50 back in 28.01 and was secon din the 100 back in an A cut 59.99.

The other backstroke events went to Belarus’s Anastasia Shkurdai. She won the 100 in 59.87 and the 200 in 2:0813, both Olympic A cuts. She was also fourth in the 50 back and seventh in the 50 free. Elizaveta Agapitova was second in the 50 back and third in the 100 and 200.

Anna Chernysheva swept the IMs. She comfortably won the 400 to open the meet, then authored a stellar battle with Anastasia Sorokina in the 20 IM. Chernysheva went 2:13.20 to edge Sorokina by .07.

Anna Egorova stated her case as the nation’s premier distance swimmer. She won the 200 free, in a great race with 100 free champ Daria Trofimova where she prevailed by .08. Egorova also won the 800 free and was second to Sofia Dyakova in the 400, though both times were under the Olympia A cut (4:07.17 for the winner, 4:07.41 for Egorova). Dyakova also won the 1,500.

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