Popov 21.64 Lives On; Morozov On 21.81
Apr 22, 2013 - Craig Lord
After a 21.72 blast in the semis of the 50m free, Vladimir Morozov clocked 21.81 for the Russian sprint crown ion the curtain-closing session of the seven-day meet in Kazan.
Quadruple Olympic champion Alex Popov's 21.64 from 2000 lived to fight another day as Morozov fell just 0.09sec shy of his debut sub-22sec effort from yesterday. Coached by Dave Salo in California, the 20-year-old racing for the Volgograd programme controlled by vice-president of the Russian swimming federation Akatiev, reacted in 0.63 on his way to his fourth title of the week.
Morozov took gold in the 100m free - with a pioneering Russian debut sub-48sec, on 47.93 - and the backstroke and breaststroke dashes and silver behind Arkady Vyatchanin in the 100m backstroke, as well as gold in the lap freestyle and 4x100m medley for Vologograd (54.17 backstroke) today. In his wake over 50m today came Nikita Lobintsov, Moscow and Sverdlovsk regions, in 22.19, Evgeny Lagunov taking shared bronze with Andrey Grechin in 22.28, just 0.01sec ahead of Sergei Fesikov. The final was completed between 22.47 and 22.63, the latter a senior final experience for Evgeny Sedov, 17 this year and on 22.38 in the semis.
Russia's all-time sub 22sec swims
To challenge for gold at the World Championships in Barcelona this summer, Morozov will need to take down Popov's record, the list of those who have done that in textile 7-deep, with one American out of the count under the two-per-nation rule: Manaudou, Bousquet, Cielo, Jones, Adrian, Ervin and Fratus.
In other action, Olympic medallist Yulia Efimova, Tyumen, clocked 30.56 to take the helm of the early 2013 world rankings in the 100m breaststroke, 0.01sec ahead of Olympic 100m champion Ruta Meilutyte, the Britain-based Lithuanian. The silver in Kazan went to Valentina Artemyeva in 31.38, the bronze to Anastasia Chaun, on 32.13. Chaun's disqualification in the semis of the 200m breaststroke almost certainly cost her a place on Russia's world-titles team.
The 200m butterfly went to Veronika Popova, St Petersburg, who added to her Barcelona schedule with a personal best of 2:10.81 (previous, 2:12.09) ahead of national record holder (2:09.52, 2008) Yana Martynova, on 2:12.79, and 15-year-old Anastasia Guzhenkova, up from a best of2:14.06.
The men's 400m medley had two 17-year-olds up front, the crown claimed by Semen Makovich, whose 4:17.78 victory sept him well inside a previous best of 4:21.86, the silver going to Alexander Osipenko, in 4:20.27, progress from his previous high of 4:23.13. The bronze went to Alexander Tikhonov in 4:23.07, 8sec down on the 4:15 best he clocked last year to become all-time Russian No2.
Svetlana Knyaginina (Fedulova), St Petersburg, took the 50m freestyle in 25.20 ahead of silver shared by Margarita Nesterova and Rosalia Nasretdinova, 15, in 25.60. Russia is struggling to find women distance freestylers capable of getting anywhere close to a final on the big occasion: the 400m crown went to Elena Sokolova, Moscow, in 4:14.51 ahead of efforts of 4:17.45 for Ksenia Yuskova, and 4:18.92 for 14-year-old Valeriva Salamantina.
In the concluding 4x100m medley finals, Mosow's women took the crown in 4:03.84 ahead of Penza, 4:07.58, and Sverdlovsk, 4:08.85. In the men's final, Morozov and a 54.17 backstroke split led Volgograd to a 3:35.53 victory ahead of Moscow, on 3:39.68. The 100m butterfly champion and Olympic silver medallist Evgeny Korotyshkin split 51.45 on 'fly for Moscow.