Russian National Championships: Nikita Konovalov Breaks Into Global Top Five

MOSCOW, Russia, April 17. THE first day of the Russian national long course championships, also serving as the Olympic Trials, featured a global top-five swim in the semifinals of the men's 100 butterfly.

FINALS
Women 400 freestyle

Elena Sokolova started the meet with a win in the women's 400 free in a time of 4:12.29. Well back in second was Ranohon Amahoba of Uzbekistan with a 4:15.88, and in third was Elizabeth Gorshkov with a 4:16.39.

Men 400 freestyle
Igor Degtyarev won the 400 free with a 3:48.94, just missing the FINA Olympic qualifying standard of 3:48.92. Evgeny Kulikov placed second with a 3:50.80, and Alexander Selin was third in 3:51.58.

Women 400 IM
Yana Martynova became the first name added to the Russian Olympic roster with her win in the 400 IM. Her time of 4:38.69 eclipsed the qualifying time of 4:41.75. Placing second was Daria Belyakin with a 4:45.24, and Christina Krasyukova was third with a 4:47.39.

Men 50 breaststroke
After posting a 27.94 in the semifinals earlier in the session, Roman Sludnov took the non-Olympic event title in 27.80. Second place went to Cyril Strelnikov with a 28.01, and Anton Lobanov was third in 28.10.

Women 800 free relay
Moscow took the win with an 8:18.80, with Perm taking second with an 8:21.16, and St.Petersburg taking third with an 8:28.32.

Men 400 free relay
St. Petersburg won the men's sprint relay in 3:18.66, on the strength of a 49.16 leadoff by Andrey Grechin. Volgograd was second with a 3:22.32, and Moscow took third in 3:23.03.

SEMIFINALS
Women 100 free

Natalia Lovtsova posted the fastest time in semifinals with a 55.15, with Veronika Popova qualifying second in 55.57. Also breaking 56 seconds was Viktoria Andreeva with a 55.82.

Men 100 butterfly
Nikita Konovalov posted a 51.99 to earn lane four in tomorrow's final. The time ranks him fourth in the world behind three other sub-52 second efforts by Christopher Wright (51.67), Takuro Fujii (51.91) and Tyler McGill (51.95), and is also faster than the Olympic qualifying time of 52.36. Nikolay Skvortsov qualified second with a 52.76, and Roman Rybin was third with a 53.37.

Men 100 back
Vladimir Morozov, coming off recent competition at the NCAA championships, will be the top seed in tomorrow's 100 back final with a time of 54.89. He's not far off the Olympic qualifying time of 54.40. Vitaly Melnikov qualified second with a 55.26. Two Russian backstroke legends qualified third and fourth: 2008 Olympic bronze medalists Arkady Vyatchanin swam a 55.43, while short course world champion Stanislav Donets posted a 55.62.

Women 200 butterfly
Sofia Gutnik posted the fastest semifinal time of 2:14.78, with Alisa Trukhanovich qualifying second with a 2:15.54. Third place went to Irina Bespalova with a 2:15.90.