Russia’s Olympic swimming team finalized
Although there haven’t been many breathtaking results and even fewer records broken, the annual Russian Swimming Championships has slowly, but surely been picking up swimmers for its Olympic charge in London. And on the final day it was no different.
Anastasia Chaun narrowly beat hot favorite and already qualified Olympian Yulia Efimova in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke event. It meant she will now also join Efimova in London.
“This result means a lot to me,” Chaun said. “I’ve qualified for the Olympics. I’m really pleased, but everything starts now ahead of the main event.”
Unlike in other countries, the Russian national swimming championship is the only chance for Russian swimmers to qualify for the Summer Olympics. Which means it’s make or break for many.
It also takes away some of the gloss from the actual championships as many of the minds of the swimmers are purely focused on qualification.
In the women’s 100-meter backstroke, Anastasia Zuyeva justified her place on the Olympic team, winning gold and posting the world’s best time in the distance in 2012.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with my performance at the Championships and I hope I’ll be able to repeat it at the Olympics,” she stressed.
In, probably, the most closely-contested event – the men’s 100-meter freestyle – Nikita Lobintsev, finally, made good after a dreadful start to the finals.
“You know I came to the championships completely out of form, which was plain to see,” Lobintsev explained. “I completely flunked the 400 meters and didn’t do much better in the 200 meters. But now I’ve more or less found my form again, I got silver in the 100 meters and managed to qualify and I still think that’s a success.”
But it was Danila Izotov, who claimed gold in that event, he too consolidating his place on the Olympic team.
Russian Swimming Federation’s President, Vladimir Salnikov, afterwards stated there were still areas that need improving, but was very pleased overall in the selected batch of athletes.
“I’m confident about those, who have been selected to the national team and in some distances, as you saw, in 100 meter freestyle men we have a pretty good group of swimmers, who was competing very hard with each other, so for me it’s a really good sign,” he said.
After a short break the swimmers will convene in Spain where they will begin the first of many training camps planned in the run up to the Summer Olympics.