Vladimir Salnikov: “Rivalry between Rylov and Kolesnikov is one of the intrigues of the Russian Swimming Championship”

From 20 to 25 April in Moscow the Russian Swimming Championship will be held. President of the Russian Swimming Federation, four-time Olympic champion Vladimir Salnikov in an interview with the ROC Information Service spoke about the upcoming tournament and the appointment of the new head coach of the national team.

– Traditionally, the national championship serves as a qualifying event for the major international competitions. The European Championship as well as the Short Course Swimming World Championship will be held this year in Glasgow. However, the Olympic 50-meter pool format is still considered a priority, and athletes concentrate their efforts primarily on it.

It is expected that our strongest swimmers will take part in the Moscow competitions, so the competition will be very intense. Taking this opportunity, I invite everyone, who is fond of swimming, to visit the championship at the Olympic Sports Complex swimming pool.

I would also like to note that in September we will host the home World Cup stage, which has moved to Kazan, after many years held in Moscow. Tatarstan expressed the desire to organize it and offered all the necessary conditions.

– The European Championship is to be held only in August, and the Championship of Russia will take place already in April. Is not that too early?

– As for the dates there are different views. We believe that before the main start of the season, it is necessary for the athletes to complete a full training cycle. All the swimming countries of the world adhere to this principle.

– Will there be a meeting of the Federation Presidium during the championship, as it was planned, to discuss the appointment of the national team head coach?

– We will hold the Presidium meeting on the last day of the championship, April 25. We will need to determine the team composition for the European Championship at the end of the competitions. As for the head coach of the national team, the Federation Executive Committee considered three candidates and will report on its choice to the Presidium, that will make a decision. And if it is positive, it will suggest  the candidate for the consideration of the Ministry of Sport.

– How do you assess the work of Sergei Chepik, who has been holding the position of the head coach since November, after Sergei Kolmogorov resigned?

– Over the past time, both Sergei Chepik and his Coaching Council (including Dmitry Lazarev, Sergei Tarasov and Alexander Nemtyrev) coped with their task well enough.

– Will the Council remain?

– Of course, in one form or another. Perhaps it will be enlarged.

– Why did Kolmogorov leave?

– For health reasons.

– In which disciplines do you expect struggle at a high level?

–  World leaders in the men’s breaststroke and backstroke were determined at the last year’s world championship (the winners in the 200m were Anton Chupkov and Evgeny Rylov). In the women’s breaststroke we are still in a good position (in the 2017 World Championships Yuliya Efimova became first in the 200m). Serious rivalry is expected in the men’s crawl. I think the main battles will be waged in 50m and 100m freestyle. Moreover, there will be a struggle for getting into the relay team, which always has chances at the international level. We still can not improve the women’s butterfly and long crawl. But we are working on it.

– Did Rylov recover from the injury received at the end of last year?

– Yes, as far as I know. We’ll see how he performs. The rivalry in the backstroke swimming is increasing. Last season 17-year-old Kliment Kolesnikov showed excellent results. I lost count of how many youth world records he has broken. Over a dozen. In our federation we continue receiving certificates confirming the set records. I hope that all the results will be finally confirmed.

– You sparkled at the stayer distances, but in recent years they have been problematic.

-There are reasons for that. In a large part of the Russian Federation swimming is considered as an important, but not a priority sport. And due to the widespread interest to swimming, the possibilities of children’s schools reduce, because of the limited swimming pools renting time. Meanwhile, stayer swimming obviously requires more time. Within the Federation’s program called ‘I will become a champion’, aimed at preparing the reserves, we pay much attention to these distances. This also applies to the open water swimming. By the way, during the championship we have planned a meeting with coaches who specialize in it. In particular, we plan to increase the number of competitions, and we think how to increase motivation of athletes who have lost it, being in a shade.

– At the recent tournament in Stockholm Kupcov, Ustinov and others performed successfully. Does this mean that they are already on the right track?

– In Stockholm there was a warm-up before fight. No one prepared particularly for this check start, and not all managed to show themselves. But, although we did not set the task to win by all means, victories give athletes confidence.