The Russian federation has announced the team composition for the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. While the veterans will be leading the solo and duet events, it is a renewed Russian roster that awaits us in the team event, as only two Olympians will be returning there.
The swimmers named to compete in the team events in Budapest are:
- Daria Bayandina, 2014 World Jr. champion
- Anastasiya Bayandina, 2014 World Jr. champion
- Vlada Chigireva, 2016 Olympic champion
- Marina Golyadkina, 2016 senior team member
- Veronika Kalinina, 2016 World Jr. champion
- Polina Komar, 2016 World Jr. champion
- Maria Shurochkina, 2016 Olympic champion
- Darina Valitova, 2016 senior team member
The alternates are Varvara Subbotina and Anastasia Arkhipovskaya.
While it is a renewed roster, it remains a stacked one filled with familiar faces. All of these swimmers have been on the international stage for years, whether in the junior or senior ranks.
The team is led by Chigireva and Shurochkina, both 2016 Olympic champions.
Daria and Anastasiya Bayandina competed at the 2014 at the Junior World Championships where they won gold in the duet and team events. They have been training with the senior squad since then, waiting for their turn to shine on the big senior stage.
The Bayandina twins, along with Golyadkina and Valitova, were part of the 2016 Olympic training squad and trained right alongside the Olympic team until the very last moments. Golyadkina formerly swam in Ukraine, but internationally competed for Russia as soon as her citizenship change was finalized in 2016. She won gold at the European Championships that year in the technical team and free combination events.
Valitova is most known for her performance at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia in the mixed duet category where she won gold and silver in the free and technical events, respectively. She is now out of the mixed duet but is back with the team.
Komar and Kalinina have been around the junior scene for a while, and both competed and won gold at last year’s Junior World Championships. Kalinina was also part of the winning duet routine there.
While we already knew the composition of the duet (Svetlana Kolesnichenko/ Aleksandra Patskevich), the other big announcement was that of the new soloist to replace Natalia Ischenko on the world stage. The federation revealed that Kolesnichenko would be the one taking on that task in Budapest. She is a 2016 Olympic champion and has been on the senior team since 2011. However, she has only been featured in the team events, and briefly in the duet during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, so it will be interesting to see what she can deliver in solo.
The biggest surprise here relates to Varvara Subbotina, who is relegated to only an alternate spot in the team event. Subbotina burst onto the international stage last season as a 15-year-old. She absolutely dominated both the Junior World Championships and the COMEN Cup, and made waves in the synchro community as Russia’s next prodigy. With her surprising absence from the 2017 Junior European Championships and the knowledge of her training with the senior team at Round Lake, many expected her to heavily contribute at Worlds. It is quite puzzling to see one of the best swimmers Russia has had in recent years being benched, while two of her 2016 junior teammates get to swim the team routine. Whatever the reasons are behind this decision, it remains disappointing we will likely not see her at all this season.
Finally and just like during the 2016 season, the mixed duet will be represented by Aleksandr Maltsev and Mikhaela Kalancha.