Victor Viktoria Gunes, Twice A Champion On The Day: 100 Breaststroke & 200 Medley

Viktoria Gunes, world senior chaps campaign followed by world junior crowns, by Patrick B. Kraemer

Minna Atherton got the session off to a speedy start with her second world junior record of the day, on 27.92 in the 50m backstroke; Anton Chupkov and Rikako Ikee take championship-record golds in 200m breaststroke and 50 ‘fly respectively

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Minna Atherton got the session off to a speedy start with her second world junior record of the day, on 27.92 in the 50m backstroke; Anton Chupkov and Rikako Ikee take championship-record golds in 200m breaststroke and 50 ‘fly respectively



The other wildly hyped American, Reece Whitley, has mirrored MA by again missing the medals. A very very big boy; whether there’s anything more to him remains open to question.


Great swim from MA. That swim is deserved of the hype. Chupkov is a wonderful technician of the breaststroke.

Now onto the 50 fly for men…


Headline looks favourite for tomorrow’s M50FLY final. 3 way dead heat for final position in final.

Cook extremely impressive in W400. If she’s in this brand of form April next year, then she’s good odds to collect herself a plane ticket to Rio for this event.

A double collect tonight for Gunes, Her’s was the only internationally competitive (in senior terms) in W100BRS & her 200IM was creeping close to breaking 2.11.

Craig Lord

Only if he goes on to beat Matt Grevers et al, Wez 🙂


I think Michael Andrew will be very relieved to have had a good day, but lots of lessons to take away when all is said and done. Gunes 200IM impressive, particularly on the back of the 100 breast. I think Whitley has had a very good week. He did after all, win silver in the 100 breast and he has had a great year all in all.


I would love to see a rivalry develop between Chalmers and Andrew.. The same way Adrian and Magnussen have pushed each other


Andrew must first prove himself to be internationally competitive in Olympic events ….. and Chalmers to demonstrate next year that 2015 wasn’t just the “blaze of glory” of yet another sporting “comet”.

Lets see if they both progress before forecasting any such rivalry.

Have to disagree with you, Ger, re Whitley. At this point, he is a big lump but I think that’s been his advantage so far in his career. He’s now nearing the end of competing against the boys & starting to come across those who are older, maybe similar size ….. and 1000 times better technically & far better conditioned.

Rooney’s 1.46 relay split marks him on a very short list, along with Gunes, Cook, of the likely Rio Olympians competing at these championships.

Why no Chalmers ?? We do not know at this point what the AUS qualifying times may be OR whether Magnussen is a viable proposition for Rio (vital issue with regards to whether an AUS MX100 can even qualify for Rio).

Atherton ?? Would make almost every other Rio team but her path is blocked by nos 1&2 in the world over 100 & she probably needs to drop another 2sec for the 200.


commonwombat.. Based on Ribeiro 48,5 split from the free miexed relay, if he breaks 48 individually he may have a chance to get a relay swim on Brazil.. Lanza with a little evolution might go for 100 fly
Brandonn will probably go with his 400 IM/1500, also Giovany Lima might get him a chance for the 4×200 relay based on his times here.


Rafael, thanks for the backgrounding with the Brazilians.

The line I was taking, however, was who at these championships look likely to make Rio teams; not just the possibles.

From what you are saying, you have one likely & the others possibles/maybes


I am loving commonwombat’s lovable phrases from “serial tourists” to “headline”.
They capture the essence in a humorous way…


As a long time legal man, one learns all varieties of arcane language ……. and how to be thoroughly insulting (but amusing) through inventive use of the English language !!

I bear MA absolutely no ill-will and recognise that he is an exceptional prospect but the “boosting” one could read from certain US “pundits” has been completely OTT.

I’ve been around too damned long, maybe not quite as long as Craig, and seen all too many “comets” blaze their path through juniors and even for a short time in seniors before “fizzling out” for whatever reasons.

Hence I like to see “follow through” after one good showing/one good year before labelling someone a realistic prospect for “the big time”.

Craig Lord

Quite right, commonwombat: this meet is for the moment and good to see talent in the honing but history tells us that some will make it through, a few to the very helm, many will not see a brighter result after their junior years. I read no offence to MA in the very amusing “human headline” – it speaks much more to those making him the headline rather than the talented boy himself.


Commonwombat, I would make no predictions re. Whitley. He may indeed, not progress to represent the U.S. at senior level. But to medal at these championships is great for him and along with the time improvements this year, from 2:16 to 2:11 in the 200BR, and best times in the 100BR represent a great year all in all, I would say. That does not imply he has a great future ahead of him by any means and I would be very cautious in making any claims to the contrary. As Craig points out, this meet is for the moment.

Patrick S

Some (useless) information: Sophie Hansson is the sister of Louise Hansson.

Craig Lord

Not at all useless, Patrick. Thanks for letting us know.

Felix Sanchez

Craig, there has been civil war in Eastern Ukraine. There was no engagement in Crimea.

This was a mercenary move by the Solnceva family, not a fleeing anything.


Incredible day for Gunes…
I think is unlikely for Ribeiro to be in 4x100free relay next year.Let s see if he can break 49 mark.
By the way, Chalmers is seventeen years-old(I saw somewhere saying he is born in June-1998)

Craig Lord

Felix, you can read the quotes from the swimmer: if you wish to say she is a liar, do so, I will not … and neither you nor I know what the full circumstances of events might have been.
Beyond that, there was annexation of sovereign territory. You may call it what you want. I call it annexation at the very very least. Many news sources to read up on if you wish, some referenced in this Wiki take:

Craig Lord

DDias, June 25, MA, April the following year, nine months apart; the age-peer (which is what they are) difference now noted. Thanks.

Felix Sanchez

Craig, ‘liar’ is a strong term, it’s more a manipulation of the facts. And it was the article that said the Solnceva family fled civil war in 2013, not a direct quote.

The annexation of Crimea occurred without military engagement or displacement of civilians. The casual observer from afar may mistakenly confuse that situation with the civil war which did break out in Eastern Ukraine in mid-2014.


Commonwobat, I think you would find Chalmers on the plane to RIO. He will either be on the relay team & maybe a spot in the 50 free or if relay team doesn’t make RIO due to Magnussen’s injury, then most expect Chalmers on the plane as the no 2 100 swimmer.
To say Chalmers may be ‘a comet’, you could say the same as any of these swimmers including Gunes, Rooney or Cook.

Craig Lord

Felix, the one article referred to is one of many which carry direct quotes from the swimmer and her father; I read well and I know what I read. To accuse either of manipulating the facts is tantamount to saying they are lying, intent inherent in both scenarios. I cannot say what the circumstances of their flight were; and neither can you.
Thanks for your interpretation of what has happened in the Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine; again, I read what I read, from the BBC to sources far and wide, including the paper I work for, The Times, and its correspondents. I trust them. You paint a far too cosy picture of the annexation of sovereign territory and the involvement of armed personnel – the timeline:
“Starting with the 2014 Crimean crisis, soldiers of ambiguous affiliation began to take control of strategic positions and infrastructure within the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which Russia then annexed.[63][64] On 4 March, during his press conference, Putin denied Russian troops interfered[65] but then admitted on 17 April[66] that Russian troops had been active in Crimea and said this had laid the ground for the Crimean status referendum.[9][64][67][68] The invasion by Russian military forces was later acknowledged by Putin in the 2015 documentary Crimea.”–15_Russian_military_intervention_in_Ukraine

paolo rubbiani

@Commonwombat: It’s a pity that I can’t understand every shading of your posts..

Just a few comments (about that I’ve understood..):

1) Whitley is very tall, that’s obvious, but remains a 2000…so, even if I suppose that his ambitions are greater, if he will he could swim “against the boys”, like you said, still other 3 years

2) In your very short (extremely exclusive..) list of the likely Rio-Olympians, I would add at least Taylor Ruck (also Penny Oleksiak for an extremely interesting canadian 4×100 free relay) and someone other.
I’m a simple and “naive” swimming-fan, without your decades of experience, but I think that Ruck could do something good in the water..already in Rio.

Felix Sanchez

Craig, no, I meant that it was this article that used the term ‘civil war’ – I didn’t see it in any direct quote.

No need to thank me, I have not offered any interpretation of what happened in Crimea or anywhere else. The Russian annexation of Crimea did not meet with military resistance, or cause civilian displacement, and the civil war in Eastern Ukraine was several months later; there’s no interpretation there. Nor have I painted a picture – cosy or otherwise – of anything.

You do not need to add links or quotes. If you would like to discuss Ukraine in detail feel free to contact me privately.


Paolo, you are very correct about my oversight re Ruck who should at minimum make the CAN 4X100. a bad “miss” on my part.

She does, indeed, look an immense prospect, but prediction of continued rate of progress of someone that age is very uncertain.

Rob, until I see the AUS QTs, I’m going to err on the side of caution. Chalmers does look a lead candidate for the 2nd AUS spot but he is, at this point, a 48mid-high, and there are a few others capable of that mark ….. at least in domestic waters.

Craig Lord

I understand all of that Felix S, but there are things we don’t see in this scenario, including the closeness of operations between Russian and Ukraine swim federations throughout 2014 (they stayed in the same hotel in Berlin, travelled together, for e.g.). She was not only fleeing circumstances at home related to the fear that accompanied military movements and persuasion long before tension escalated, it seems to me. There is no ‘civil war’ (not a useful term, that’s for sure) nor anything official of that nature in many of the places where refugees are running from and ending up in countries across Europe right now – in vast numbers – yet many of those people are feeling oppression, political and economic – and the whole thing is causing civil tension (not far from where I live we have witnessed riots, judicial orders to keep locals from demonstrating outside refugee camps etc … not sure what the name for such things is but I do know it would be quite right for some of those people in the campus to say they are living in fear). My point: you should be careful to say someone is fibbing about their circumstances without knowing the full facts. As for your term mercenary, there may well have been financial incentive involved in any choice made but neither you nor I know whether that is true; neither you nor I know the details of any financial deal there may have been … so mercenary would seem a stretch too far at this point in the thread of knowledge.

Felix Sanchez

“I’m aware that Turkey especially was hungry for victory in swimming”, is hard to interpret in a way other than financial. And the whole story simply doesn’t make sense otherwise.

If you go down to those refugee camps you won’t see too many people from Crimea. Nor is an actual refugee likely to use so flippant a phrase as “Sweden is cold, but Istanbul is very beautiful”. (The full irony of the destination is hard to get into without this turning into a political discussion).


There is a slight sporting precedent, albeit not swimming, involving Turkey “receiving” a top line sportsperson as a result of “defections” from other countries.

In 1986, Bulgarian World Champion weightlifter, Naim Suleimanov (a member of a Turk minority in Bulgaria) defected at an international tournament in Melbourne. At the time, the Bulgarian government has embarked on a policy of “Bulgarianising” the names of such minority groups.

He found his way to Turkey and after the exchange of $1.25mill from Turkey, Bulgaria allowed his “release” to compete for Turkey for whom he won Gold medals at 3 successive Olympics (Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta).

Turkey has NOT, however engaged in the practice of actively “buying” athletes from other countries, notably Africa, along the lines of the Gulf states (esp Bahrain & Qatar).

Craig Lord

No, and in this case, commowombat, there was no money flowing from Turkey to Ukraine, which was not kept informed of the switch of nations. In this case GR2.6 rules have not been complied with; nor has any official explanation been provided by FINA as to how the ‘secret’ switch came about and under what provisions in the rulebook the transfer was made.

Craig Lord

I’m aware of that, Felix – without proper investigation, I would not wish to imply what you are implying because I simply don’t know. Beyond that, it concerns me far more that FINA has, apparently, turned a blind eye to its rules and offered no explanation as to what unfolded in this case.

Felix Sanchez


Are you saying that Bahrain and Qater pay a fee to the source country as well as the athlete?

Turkey certainly do pay foreign athletes to change their nationality. A high profile current example is Elvan Abeylegesse, who not only openly admits switching for the Lira, but has this month had her substantial achievements called into question by evidence of doping.


Victoria Gunes is ethnic Russian because of her young age has never had Ukrainian passport. The search for the better professional swimming environment was going long before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine took place. The annexation of Crimea accelerated the process. The decision was made by Victoria’s parents. I have no information if they changed the citizenship. So technically there was no defection done by the child. Were there any financial considerations as a part of normal process of planning a professional career? Sure they were. Has the Russian aggressive politics toward Ukraine made the normal life for Ukranian swimmers more difficult? Yes it has. Will Victoria choose Ucraniane citizenship when she becomes adult? Most likely not because Ukranian Sport Federation tries to block Gunes from presenting Turkey in Rio.

Craig Lord

Thanks Yozhik: I would be amazed to find that Viktoria did not have a Ukraine passport: on what passport did she travel to all those competitions? And what would delegates have shown as proof of nationality had they been asked (as they can be asked) at all those competitions, including 2013 FINA world titles?


I am sorry, Craig. You are asking tough questions that are far beyond my competence in this area. I’m sure that there are some rules that regulate international junior competition. Maybe those rules are automatically applied when a child participates at senior meets.

Craig Lord

Yes, there are rules, Yozhik… and she would have needed a Ukraine passport or official citizenship papers: whether anyone ever checked is another matter but I would find it astonishing if Ukraine did not have that covered at the time. She must now have Turkish citizenship; without it she cannot compete for Turkey.


it’s nice Craig, that you know the answer. From my immigrant experience I learned hard lessons that child citizenship is not that simple as it may look like. My children didn’t have any travel documents that allowed them to travel by themselves without parents(adults) with corresponding travel documents and paid visas. But it was long time ago. As I said I am not an expert to tell if travel documents and citizenship documents are the same thing.

Craig Lord

I don’t know the answer, Yozkik; I only imagine that it must be so in terms of the duties and responsibilities of federations when entering swimmers for international competition. That’s what I base my view on. I’ve no idea whether that view coincides with the reality of VG’s story. The inability of children to travel without parents is covered, at least by the few nations I know about, including the two nationalities of my own children, by written consent – the world at large, in general. In sport, when swimmers make teams, documentation pertaining to their selection covers (in the nations I am aware of) consent to travel/guardianship responsibilities of adults travelling officially with organisations such as a swim federation.


I’m from Ukraine and I confirm that there are no threats to life to Ukrainian citizens throughout the country excepting some Eastern regions. Crimeans who are still loyal to Ukraine face some problems of course, but they are minor compared to the war in the East, where people actually die. Anyone from Crimea can always move to Kiev or other town in Ukraine, if they don’t want to see Russian flag everywhere – there’s no need to change citizenship to feel secure. At least for now.

I don’t know the details too, but I’m pretty sure that it’s an excuse for the pursuit for a better life abroad. You can’t be wealthy as an athlete in Ukraine (depends on sports), and if your parents are poor it may be a struggle since you will have to work and train every day to make some money to afford yourself many things which are much more accessible in other countries. So competing for a richer country where you may be a star is a good chance for a young promising swimmer and her family.

BTW, a lot of athletes live and train abroad but still compete for their Motherlands, when the time comes.

Anyway, she’s still underage and the decisions are most likely being made by her parents, who are probably not the biggest patriots of Ukraine. So is their daughter. It’s their right.

Craig Lord

Thanks for the insight, Eugene.

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