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Russian swimmer smashes world record

Kliment Kolesnikov beat the long-standing mark at the Russian championships

Kliment Kolesnikov obliterated the world record for the 50m backstroke as he stormed to victory at the Russian Short Course Championships in Kazan on Wednesday.

Kolesnikov registered a time of 22.11 seconds for his swim – surpassing the previous record mark of 22.22 set by France’s Florent Manaudou at the World Short Course Championships back in 2014.

Manadou’s time had been among the longest-standing records in men’s swimming before Kolesnikov surpassed the Frenchman.

Russian swimmers remain banned from official international competitions because of the conflict in Ukraine, although governing body FINA has said records set at domestic events will count as long as they meet the required standards.

As noted by swimming website swimswam.com, Kolesnikov holds three of the five fastest times ever recorded in the short course 50m backstroke.

The Moscow-born swimmer, 22, was a silver medalist in the 100m backstroke at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, finishing just behind compatriot Evgeny Rylov.

Kolesnikov also picked up a bronze in the 100m freestyle in Japan.

Kolesnikov is a six-time world champion in short course swimming, where the competition takes place in a 25-meter pool, as opposed to the long course length of 50 meters.

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin praised Kolesnikov for his performance in Kazan, noting that he has maintained focus despite the ban from international events.

“The world record once again proves that Russian athletes are real fighters,” said Matytsin. “Despite the enormous pressure they are under, the guys not only do not lose heart, but, on the contrary, they continue to achieve the highest results and set world records.”

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov also hailed the achievement.

“It’s a very significant event for world swimming and for Russian sports in general. Now we have very good competitions, they are held at a high level, this has not gone away,” Pozdnyakov said.

The Russian Short Course Championships are being held in Kazan as part of the broader ‘Friendship Games’, which are welcoming athletes from numerous countries for a range of swimming tournaments.