Olympic tickets up for grabs at national swimming championships

Russia’s top swimmers have made a big splash as they raced for a place at the London Olympics. Though no records were set, all the contenders for the national championships showed they’ve got lots to give.

­Six finals took place on the opening day. Local swimmer Elena Sokolova was unrivalled in the 400m freestyle, claiming the title in 4 minutes and 12.29 seconds.

For the men in the same discipline, it was another Muscovite displaying the best result as Egor Degtiaryov didn't experience any major opposition as he clocked in at 3 minutes and 48.94 seconds.

Onto the women's final in the 400m individual medley, where Yana Martynova from Russia's Republic of Tatarstan beat her closest rival by a huge margin of seven seconds to stake a claim to the Russian crown in 4 minutes and 38.69 seconds.

The men's 50m breaststroke final belonged to Siberian swimming veteran, Roman Sludnov.

The 32-year-old Omsk native was just half a second short of setting a new Russian record, but the result was enough for the multiple World and European champion as well as the bronze medallist at the 2000 Sydney Games to win the event.

Two finals in the most-exciting discipline of any swimming tournament – the relay races – were also held on the opening day.

The women competed in the 4x200m individual freestyle relay with Team Moscow out swimming their closest rivals from the Urals by three seconds.

Though their result is still very far from the world or even the national record the Russian women could be in trouble at that event during the Olympics.

The men competed in the 4x100m freestyle relay on Tuesday with swimmers from St. Petersburg finishing a full four seconds ahead of runners-up Volgograd to clinch the Russian title in 3 minutes and 18.56 seconds.

“The Russian swimming nationals conclude on Sunday,” Vladimir Salnikov, Russian Swimming Federation President, told RT. “By then we will hopefully have a clear understanding of who to root for in London this summer.”

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