Vlad Morozov Set To Swim 2 Events at Russian Olympic Trials (Meet Preview)

Morozov, Vladimir-9
Photo Courtesy: David Farr

by Maria Dobysheva

The Russian National Championships starts tomorrow and opens Olympic long course season.

Best swimmers of the team are set to swim in Moscow to qualify for Olympic Games in Rio.

Vladimir Morozov, one of the top sprinters in the world will swim a short schedule of two events – 50 and 100 free, quite an easy one for his usual overloaded program full of sprint events and relays.

Morozov who didn’t compete on home soil since last summer, was not satisfied with outcome of World Championships where he failed to win an individual medal. He spent the whole training season in U.S. where he trains in Trojan group with coach Dave Salo.

“I’ve decided to focus on my classic events – 50 and 100 free. 50 back is not an Olympic event. I can do 100 instead though. But I won’t be able to swim 100 back in Rio  – it’s less than half an hour ahead of 4×100 free so I’d rather reserve for relay. In London Olympics I made semi-finals in the 100 back but scratched for relay, why to swim this event at Nationals if I’m not going to swim it in Rio? I won’t.”

Yuliya Efimova who is currently on temporary suspension for taking banned substance meldonium might have had a chance not to miss Nationals. With latest WADA announcement Yuliya applied to FINA to lift her suspension.

Regardless, it still was not clear if she even going to swim – she’s definitely not in her best shape, missed lot of training and taper.

RUS Swimming president Vladimir Salnikov said Efimova won’t swim.

In her statement after positive test she said she still has high hopes to swim at Olympics.

Meldonium found in her body was less than 1 mcg recently allowed by WADA and if she will be amnested, she still may qualify for Olympics because she already had A Cuts for Rio from her last year’s swims.

Morozov who trains with Efimova in the same group didn’t have a chance to avoid questions on meldonium.

“Actually I heard it’s going to be on the ban list, my Russian coach [Victor Avdienko] informed me in early 2015,” he says. “I wish I could go back to 2015 and warned Yuliya. It’s shocking she didn’t know and no one told her”.

Morozov has had a couple of time trial swims in America he’s satisfied with. “I posted some decent times – 22.4 in 50 and 49.0 in 100 but I’m aware I’ll have to go way faster”.

Evgeny Sedov also set to post some fast times in 50 free. Ranked 7th in the world from last year with 21.84 from World Cup, Sedov is going to give Morozov run for his money.

One of the most promising young sprinters, Sedov elected to focus only on 50 to make his first Olympics. He posted 22.34 at the meet in Sweden earlier this month. Along with Morozov, Sedov will face strong field of Olympians and Worlds medalist – Sergey Fesikov, Andrey Grechin (who has already posted 22.12 this year), Nikita Lobintsev and Alexander Sukhorukov.

Women’s backstroke is going to be a sharp battle between Anastasia Fesikova (Zueva) and Darya K. Ustinova.

Ustinova, world junior record holder, placed 4th in 200 back at her first adult World Championships. Fesikova who’s had huge experience of major meets will challenge Ustinova in the 50, 100 and 200 backstroke.

“50 is not Olympic event so I don’t care much, but all the work I’ve done last year since I returned to swimming [after maternity leave] I’m gonna put into 100 and 200”.

Fesikova who won silver in London, has been already quite impressive this year: she won Swedish Open in 100 back and posted 59.90 at Golden Tour Series in France. After Worlds, Ustinova scratched all meets from her schedule to prepare for Trials – she’s set to qualify for her first Olympics ever.

Bronze medalist at the World Championships in Kazan Evgeny Rylov and young hope Grigory Tarasevich are going to shine in men’s backstroke events. Rylov was ranked third in the world in 200 back last year. Tarasevich who trains in University of Louisville and just had successful NCAA championships is ready to compete for ticket to Rio.

Russian qualification standard can be found here:

RUS Swimming Olympic Cuts