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Grechin Challenges Missile's 50 Pace

Apr 20, 2012  - Craig Lord

On the fourth day of Russian nationals in Moscow, Andrey Grechin leapt to second in the world so far this year with a 21.82 blast in the 50m freestyle final - the same time as he clocked in semis earlier in the same session - ahead of Sergey Fesikov and Vladimir Morozov, on 22.05 to 22.06 respectively. 

Australian James Magnussen leads the world so far this season on 21.74, while Grechin edged a little closer to the 21.64 at which Sprint Tsar Alexander Popov holds the Russian record, the time a world record between 2000 and the shiny suits era now sunk.

Grechin was already Russian all-time No2, with a 21.98 effort in semis at the 2010 European Championships, that time one he shared with Fesikov.

How Olympic season is shaping up:

  • 21.74 Magnussen 
  • 21.82 Grechin
  • 21.85 Cesar Cielo (BRA) Olympic and world champion
  • 21.86 Florent Manaudou (FRA)
  • 21.87 Bruno Fratus (BRA)

Seven other men have broken 22sec this season, Eamon Sullivan (AUS) and Nathan Adrian (USA) on 21.88, George Bovell (TRI) on 21.89, and Amaury Leveaux (FRA) on 21.93, the others on the list, Matthew Abood, Fabien Gilot and Matt Targett out of the running for the Olympic Games after finishing out of the top two at domestic trials.

One final in Moscow today produced two automatic qualifiers, Arkady Vyatchanin, on the podium in 2008, booked a return to Olympic action in the 200m backstroke with a 1:57.42 victory, Russian's second berth going to Anton Anchin in 1:58.12, progress from a previous best of 1:59.19 for the 21-year-old. 

There were no other automatic qualifiers for London 2012 on the day, Ekaterina Andreeva at the helm of the 200m medley on 2:13.36, Daria Belyakina on 2:13.92 and 400m winner Yana Martynova on 2:14.91. Andreeva may yet make it to London 2012, depending on the mercy of Russian selectors: the 18-year-old improved from a best of 2:14.65.

In the non-Olympic dash events, Anastasia Zueva clocked 27.54 for victory on backstroke, the time at the helm of the world rankings in a year in which a fair few leading swimmers are skipping the 50m events in favour of Olympic schedules, and Yulia Efimova clocked 30.15 to win the breaststroke.