Kliment Kolesnikov 23.80 Blasts Backstroke Dash Record Inside The Pace Of Jonty Skinner’s 1976 World-Best 50 Free Pace

2021-05-18 Reading Time: 3 minutes
Kliment Kolesnikov - Photo Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Kliment Kolesnikov took the pace of 50m backstroke up a gear to keep the European 50m backstroke crown with a 23.80 World record that rocketed the Russian inside the pioneering pace of Jonty Skinner on freestyle back in 1976.

Two world records in 24 hours, then, the 23.80 preceded by a 23.93 in semis yesterday. At that pace, Kolesnikov, 20, had no company, the silver to Romania’s Robert Glinta in 24.42, the bronze to Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez in 24.47.

Kolesnikov had rattled the door to the 23s back in 2018 when he claimed the continental crown for the first time, in 24.00. His 2019 troubles are yet to be fully understood but a year after the pandemic began the 20-year-old Russian is firing on all cylinders, his latest speed in the dash following qualification for the final of the 100m freestyle with efforts of 47.5 in heats and 47.8 in the semis.

Back in 1976, when the world was young and the 50m freestyle was a decade shy of joining the World-Championship program ahead of its Olympic debut in 1988, Jonty Skinner, the U.S.-based South African sprinter denied a golden shot at the 1976 Games by the wretchedness of apartheid laws back home, took down Jim Montgomery‘s famous Montreal-gold-winning 49.99 100m World record in a stunning 49.44.

Skinner’s split was 23.86, which at the time was the fastest one-length of a long-course pool in history. Today, he would have picked up silver behind Kolesnikov in a virtual time-warp game.

The 50m backstroke is not an Olympic event. There has been an attempt to make it so but the International Olympic Committee would want FINA to suggest what might be cut from the program if the stroke dash events are ever to make it. Kolesnikov emerged from his pace-setting dash to say:

“I don’t know what to say. I swam 100m free fifteen minutes ago so I was a bit tired. At the same time, I was full of energy, mental energy and just tried fire myself up. That’s all, I have nothing more to say.”

Kliment Kolesnikov

Two golds in the bag (he anchored the winning Russian 4×100 free relay in 47.10 on day 1), Kolesnikov has a shot at a few more medals before the week is up. In the semis of the 100m freestyle less than an hour before the backstroke final, he watched Italian Alessandro Miressi thump out a 47.53 Italian record (22.73; 24.80) before racing stroke for stroke with teammate Andrei Minakov, on 47.82 to his 47.85. Hungarian Nandor Nemeth was the first outside the 48sec door, at 48.02.

At Russian Trials last month, Kolesnikov scorched a 47.31 in the 100m free to top the Russian rockets. A moment worth recalling my first meeting with a teenage Kolesnikov at training-race camp in Italy with Energy Standard.

PL NationSwimmer/DobR Time Gap 
(09 JUL 2000) 
 0.69 23.80 WR-ER-CR   
23  ROUGLINTA Robert-Andrei
(18 APR 1997) 
 0.57 24.42 0.62   
(19 FEB 1999) 
 0.53 24.47 0.67   
45  GRECHRISTOU Apostolos
(01 NOV 1996) 
 0.57 24.59 0.79    
(01 AUG 1995) 
 0.55 24.72 0.92  
(28 MAY 1994) 
 0.53 24.89 1.09   
(11 OCT 1999) 
 0.47 24.92 1.12   
(03 OCT 1996) 
 0.62 24.92 1.12   

Semis-finals …

Women’s 50m backstroke

Kathleen Dawson, of Britain, set a national and championship record of 27.19, 0.02sec inside the standard set by Georgia Davies when she lifted the British Record, Championship Record. The dash title in her sights, the greater significance of Dawson’s turn of new speed is what it may mean for her 100m ambitions after a sizzling 58.2 at British Olympic Trials last month. Dawson is also lining up for Britain medley relay action, women and mixed, with medal chances in both. She said:

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better than that. To be swimming so well at this point in the season, it bodes well for the Olympics. The Olympics are all I’ve wanted since I was a kid, so to be able to go into the Olympics in a position to possibly go for a medal, it’s more than I could’ve asked for. I’m looking forward to the final. I know people will be looking out for me, but this is just prep for the 100m for me, so I’ll just go out and enjoy it. Everything that I’m applying in training is finally paying off for me.”

Kathleen Dawson – photo by Georgie Kerr, courtesy of British Swimming

Dawson had watched D Dutch c challenger Kira Toussaint just miss Davies’ mark in 27.22 in the first semi. A tight tussle of a final ahead.

In the men’s 200m butterfly semis, Hungarian pair Tamas Kenderesi, 1:54.37, and Kristóf Milák, the World champion and record holder, on 1:54.72, took lanes 4 and 5 for the showdown tomorrow.


Women’s 50m backstroke

 124  GBRDAWSON Kathleen   03 OCT 19970.5527.19 CR 
 214  NEDTOUSSAINT Kira   22 MAY 19940.4927.220.03 
 325  NEDDE WAARD Maaike   11 OCT 19960.6027.690.50 
 315  RUSFESIKOVA Anastasia   08 MAY 19900.6527.690.50 
 513  AUTPILHATSCH Caroline   01 MAR 19990.5827.810.62 
 623  FINJALLOW Mimosa   17 JUN 19940.5727.930.74 
 722  GBRWILD Cassie   12 JUN 20000.5827.980.79 

After both went 28.01 in semis, the swimmer-off decided:

PLANE NationSwimmer/DoBR Time Gap
14  DENJENSEN Julie Kepp
(03 JAN 2000) 
 0.59 28.01     q
25  POLTCHORZ Alicja
(13 AUG 1992) 
 0.59 28.20 0.19   

Men’s 200m Butterfly:

 122  HUNKENDERESI Tamas   13 DEC 19960.751:54.37 
 224  HUNMILAK Kristof   20 FEB 20000.671:54.720.35 
 323  ITABURDISSO Federico   20 SEP 20010.711:55.030.66 
 414  BULIVANOV Antani   17 JUL 19990.701:55.451.08 
 515  SUIPONTI Noe   01 JUN 20010.701:55.811.44 
 616  ITACARINI Giacomo   02 JUL 19970.641:55.871.50 
 727  BELCROENEN Louis   03 JAN 19940.671:55.961.59 
 812  RUSKUDASHEV Alexander   05 DEC 19950.751:56.432.06 
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