Luma Lanes Performance of the Week: Mark Nikolaev Blasts Impressive Backstroke Times at Salnikov Cup; Anton Chupkov Wins 200 Breast

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Anton Chupkov -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Mark Nikolaev Blasts Impressive Backstroke Times at Salnikov Cup; Anton Chupkov Wins 200 Breast

Performance of the Week, Sponsored by Luma Lanes

After the Short Course World Championships wrapped up shortly before Christmas to finish off international swimming competition for 2021, several top Russian swimmers raced one more time at the two-day Salnikov Cup in St. Petersburg. Oleg Kostin was the most prolific men’s swimmer at the meet with a trio of individual wins, but former Grand Canyon University standout Mark Nikolaev stole the show in the men’s backstroke events. For the women, Nika Godun also was a three-time winner.

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Nikolaev swept the 50 back and 100 back, and he also placed third in the 50 free. He swam a time of 22.49 in the 50 back that would have beaten out countryman Kliment Kolesnikov for gold in the event at the Short Course World Championships, and his 49.40 in the 100 back would have earned silver in that event in Abu Dhabi.

Kostin put up a time of 22.10 to win the men’s 50 fly. That time would have placed fourth at the World Championships, while Kostin took eighth in the 50 fly final. Kostin also won a tight final of the men’s 100 breast in 57.08, and he won the 50 breast in 26.09.

Godun, who took fifth in the 50 breast at the recent Short Course World Championships, picked up wins in the 50 breast (29.77), 100 IM (58.82) and 100 breast (1:04.96). Meanwhile, Evgeniia Chikunova won the women’s 200 breast in 2:19.20. Chikunova recently took silver in the event at Short Course Worlds in 2:17.88, just three hundredths away from gold. Valeriia Salamantina placed first in both the 200 free (1:56.06) and 400 free (4:07.06)

Anton Chupkov, the long course world-record holder in the 200 breast and two-time world champion in the event, put up a time of 2:03.67 in his signature event to beat out Mikhail Dorinov (2:04.10) by four tenths. Chupkov placed fourth in the event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Ilya Borodin, who set a world junior record in the 400 IM at Short Course Worlds on his way to a silver medal, easily won the 200 IM in 1:55.97, while Andrei Minakov beat Artem Selim in the men’s 50 free by five hundredths, 21.44 to 21.49. Aleksandr Shchegolev, best known for his abilities in mid-distance freestyle, claimed the 100 IM in St. Petersburg in 52.35.

Other men’s winners included:

  • Denis Adeev in the 400 free (3:41.27)
  • Dmitrii Zhavoronkov in the 100 free (47.43)
  • Aleksandr Kudashev in the 200 fly (1:52.53)
  • Aleksandr Egorov in the 800 free (7:43.68)
  • Petr Zhikharev in the 200 free (1:45.82)
  • Grigori Pekarski (Belarus) in the 100 fly (49.86)
  • Dmitrii Savenko in the 200 back (1:52.21)

Other women’s winners included:

  • Anastasiya Kuliashova in the 100 fly (58.04)
  • Mariia Kameneva in the 50 back (26.35)
  • Rozaliya Nasretdinova in the 50 free (24.52)
  • Anastasia Duplinskaia in the 200 back (2:08.13)
  • Daria Ustinova in the 100 free (53.52)
  • Anastasia Sorokina in the 200 IM (2:10.48)
  • Elizaveta Agapitova in the 100 back (58.35)
  • Anita Grishchenko in the 50 fly (25.86)
  • Anastasiia Markova in the 200 fly (2:08.23)

Check out the full list of top-three finishers here.