On the fifth day of Russian Nationals/World Championships trials, Vlad Morozov saved the best for last and set a National Record in the men’s 50 freestyle semifinal. Morozov, who owned the previous record from 2013 (a 21.47), posted a sizzling 21.44 to refresh the national record and the 2017 world rankings. Morozov’s result sets him number one in the world this year. His fastest 50 in the Olympic year was a 21.69 he showed at Nationals. At the Rio Olympics, Vlad sensationally could not make finals, stoppping the clock at 21.88 in the semis. Vlad’s 21.44 he set in Moscow tonight could have won him the bronze medal in Rio.
Evgeny Sedov was second to qualify for finals with a 22.01, his result is quick enough to make the team. Olympian Sergey Fesikov headed into the finals with the third fastest time (22.37).
In the final, Morozov and Sedov swam in lanes four and five and this race was highly expected as one of the most spectacular battles of the meet. Sedov, whose star rose in 2014 when he had a very impressive short course season (posted 20.59 50 free at World Championships in Doha), did not have a successful Olympic year – he failed to make the team at Trials, then he took a break due to injury. Nationals was his “comeback” meet.
Going against Morozov, Sedov sensationally touched the wall first with his personal best in long course – 21.74. Morozov finished second with a 21.76 and it was the first time in four years he did not win gold in the 50 free at Nationals. Fesikov finished third with a 22.14. Sedov and Morozov will represent the country in Budapest.
Yulia Efimova celebrated victory in the women’s 100 breast, with an impressive 1:05.90 – a result that ranks her number one in the world. This result is pretty close to her Olympic final time of 1:05.50 when she won silver. Natalia Ivaneeva finished second (but 0.25 slower to make the team) – 1:07.39. Darya Chikunova got bronze with a 1:08.67.
Later in the night, Efimova performed in the women’s 200 IM final. Victoria Andreeva won the final with a 2:11.75. Efimova, who was chasing Andreeva all the way, finished second with a 2:12.53 – her personal best time. Kristina Vershinina was third with a 2:15.58.
Another great final on the last night was the men’s 200 free. The event was packed with Olympic medalists and a national record holder. In the impressive battle, Mikhail Dovgalyuk managed to put his hand on the wall first, with a 1:46.89. Olympian Alexander Krasnykh, who already won 400 and 800, was second with a 1:47.14. He out-touched Worlds medalist Danila Izotov who got bronze with a 1:47.16. Izotov and Nikita Lobintsev, who was fourth, made the relay team.
In the women’s 100 backstroke final, Polina Egorova was fast enough to beat Darya K Ustinova and grab the gold, stopping the clock at a 1:00.21. This result was slower than her semis time of 59.95, yet it brought Polina to the Worlds team. Ustinova joined her with a 1:00.29 and Maria Kameneva was third with a 1:00.32. Anastasia Fesikova, who was among the favorites for this event, finished fourth with a 1:00.58.
In the men’s 100 breaststroke, with the lineup led by Olympic medalist Anton Chupkov, Vsevolod Zanko stunned with his win of 59.66. It was a close race with Kirill Prigoda grabbing silver with a 59.71 and Ilya Khomenko claiming bronze with a 59.76. Chupkov finished fourth with a 59.86.
In the women’s 50 butterfly, Svetlana Chimrova won gold with a 26.02. Chimrova swept the butterfly events at Nationals and set two National records in the process. Natalia Lovtcova finished second with a 26.71, while Maria Kameneva was third with a 26.72.
17-year-old Egor Kuymov won the men’s 100 butterfly with a European Junior Record of 51.97. Kuymov’s impressive finish helped him to beat the experienced Alexander Popkov, who was second (52.18), and Evgeny Koptelov, who was third with a 52.24. Olympic finalist in this event, Alexander Sadovnikov, fell short and finished sixth with a 52.66.
National Team for World Championships will be announced later tonight.