Russia has a new teenage sensation: Danila Izotov, 16, clocked 1:46.65 over 200m freestyle at Russian nationals to shave 0.05sec off the 1992 record that had stood to double Olympic champion Evgeny Sadovyi since the Barcelona Games.
Ian Thorpe (AUS) was 16 when he set his first world record in the 200m, of 1:46.34, in 1999. And we all know what happened next.
Elsewhere at the Moscow championships, Nikita Lobintsev swam a very solid 3:46.31 in a 400m freestyle that went without Yuri Prilukov, who tested himself in a 400m medley that ended in 4:17.93. Arkady Vyatchanin took the 50m backstroke in 25.82 and Roman Sludnov, who back in 2001 was the first man ever to race inside a minute in the 100m breaststroke, was a touch over the magic barrier, at 1:00.09. Among women, Anastasia Zueva was on form, clocking 28.46 and 59.85 in the 50m and 100m backstroke, Yulia Efimova set a national record of 1:07.35 in heats of the 100m breaststroke and then won the crown in 1:07.70 ahead of Elena Bogomizova, on 1:09.02. Natalia Sutiagina raced to a 58.73 victory in the 100m butterfly.
The nationals in Moscow are just one of a galaxy of meets of the next few weeks that will serve to test swimmers ahead of the Beijing Games in August. This weekend alone holds the Japan Open, June 6-8, the Sette Colli meet in Rome, the opening leg of the Mare Nostrum Tour in Monte Carlo and US grand prix meets in Omaha and Charlotte. Then?s there?s the Janet Evans Invitational and the Texas meet in Austin, among others events.
The Omaha and Charlotte meets read like a who?s who of US Swimming: Omaha - Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff, Gary Hall Jr., Kaitlin Sandeno, Erik Vendt, Neil Walker (Verona, Wis.), Kate Ziegler, Scott Usher, Kim Vandenberg and Eric Shanteau; Charlotte - Ryan Lochte, Mary DeScenza, Cullen Jones, Kara Lynn Joyce and Elizabeth Beisel.
The Seven Hills meet in Rome includes the British Olympic team, members of which will then head off for training camps in Sardinia and at Canet following the Mare Nostrum Meet there. The last test for the Brits will be at nationals in Liverpool in mid-July.