Kliment Kolesnikov once again broke the world record in the 50 meter backstroke of the Budapest Swimming Europeans. He did it this Tuesday in the final. Again, coming out last, thanks to a reaction time of 68 hundredths of a second, too much for a sprinter. His entry into the water was late. His arrival at the wall, devastating. He touched the plate in 23.80 seconds, seven hundredths less than his Monday record of 23.93s. The turbulence that it generated on fourth street could drag the Romanian Robert Glinta, who did 24.42s and lost the silver. Away from the wave, the Spanish Hugo González de Oliveira was not so lucky: he could only catch the bronze with 24.47s. It has the great merit of being the first medal of the Spanish team in online swimming races, the most disputed of the fields.
Kolesnikov turned each arm into a rotating shovel, his body sliding as if pushed by an invisible current. Downstream by the same river as the others seemed doomed to go up. While the Russian appears in Budapest as a serious contender for the Tokyo Olympic podiums, Hugo González confirms his status as the best talent in Spain. At the moment, he has no company. The 21-year-old swimmer from Madrid, a key player in the Cal de Berkeley varsity team, is part of a category that his teammates still don’t know about. His mark in the 50 back surpasses the legacy of Aschwin Wildeboer in the Spanish ranking. It will not go down in history outside the national lists but it allows you to think that you have raw material to transcend in a sport saturated by the concurrence of the great geopolitical powers. Its class is undoubted. So much so that, provided with a bone and muscle structure more suitable for the 100 and 200 meter tests, it is capable of adapting to 50 meters without having the necessary power.
Every hundredth of a second is a constellation of possibilities in the 50-meter races. Between the 23.80s of Kolesnikov and the 24.47s of the Spanish they mediated 67 hundredths, just over half a second. A hand away, maybe. But 23.80s is the best mark in history while 24.47s is the national record for Spain, until this Monday, the 43rd in the FINA ranking in a test that evolves at a dizzying pace. Up to thirty swimmers have covered the 50 meters faster than the best Spaniard since the 2016 Rio Games. After Kolesnikov, the most outstanding in this cycle has been Glinta himself, who stopped the clock at 24.12s at the 2018 Europeans. .
“I’m very happy,” said Hugo González, covering his mouth with a mask, as he left the pool. The boy is cautious and laconic. “There is a lot of championship left,” he added, at the request of the press officer of the Spanish federation.
Wise words those of the swimmer who understands that a European bronze in 24.47s in the year 2021 is good for Spain but it is not enough guarantee to dream of an Olympic podium.