Tokyo silver medalist Alexander Krasnykh summarizes Olympics results
Alexander Krasnykh’s silver medal in the relay is one of the main achievements of Tatarstan’s athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. The Sintez Aquatics Club athlete was one of the sixth swimmers who are generally referred to as “the pride of the nation” and in fact, it is truly Russian pride. A silver medal at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, a silver and a gold medal at the 2018 and 2021 European Championships respectively and the current second place. Krasnykh has been part of the relay teams four times, this team is probably one of the most stable in Russian sport. Realnoe Vremya has exclusively interviewed one of the leaders in Russian swimming over the past four Olympic years.
“Three months after qualifying, a person is completely different“
Alexandre, this season you had three important competitions. These are the Russian and European championships plus the Olympics. Where do you think you had the best shape?
As the result shows, I was at the top among Russian nationals. The pre-Olympic European Championships were a usual competition, we didn’t prepare for it. And the result that we got there is quite a lot of happiness and luck. As for me, I showed my time that I usually swim during this period, after the end of the country championship. It is still difficult for me to assess what happened at the Olympics due to the lack of such an experience, but I suspect there were some issues in the preparation and pre-training. competition. These problems have nothing to do with the coach. I would define them as more global problems.
It works differently in cyclic sports. The same track athletes qualify for the Olympics based on the results of the June national championships when they are in their best shape and will compete in the Olympics in that form. In swimming, the qualification is in April, and it is clear that there is a fall afterwards. Can an athlete physiologically reach the second top three months later?
This problem is as old as the world. As far back as I can remember, our qualifiers for the biggest 50m pool tournaments were three months away from their start. It is difficult for me to say why this term was chosen. But experience shows that three months after qualifying a person is completely different. Also, no one knows what the preparation looked like. For this reason, there is a term “take away game”, but it’s hard for me to say why it’s not being done.
I made a big mistake in the 400m, which didn’t allow me to fight for a place in the team early, some 150m from the start. It was easier in the 200m
If you remember the Russian nationals, you qualified for the only race, in the 4x200m relay. Then commentator Denis Pankratov thought out loud if you were to be taken to the Olympics to swim a single distance. It was worrying for the fans of Tatarstan: what if the technical staff asked this question?
I deeply respect Pankratov as an Olympic champion, but now he’s a commentator, not a member of the coaching staff. In this regard, commentators cannot know the journey of every athlete, therefore, it turns out that this is the opinion of a layman that should not be taken into account. As for the country championship itself, I made a big mistake in the 400m, which didn’t allow me to fight early for a place in the team, some 150m from the start. It was easier on 200m, I finished fourth there, giving way to Alexander Schegolev at about 0.05 seconds, what’s the problem?
“In Rio, I was young and green, excited”
The problem is that Pankratov’s thoughts cast fear, worry and nervousness, although in an interview with me Denis Pimankov, for example, firmly stated that “Krasnykh should definitely be taken to the Olympics”.
Yes, and this decision was taken by the technical staff during the national championship. If there was any doubt, it was on the candidacy of Veronika Andrusenko. As for me, there was no doubt.
Then there was a victory at the European Championships, the first for many years if we do not mention the 2017 World Short Course Championship. What impressions did you have?
In general, it was an ordinary competition. In fact, there is nothing special to say about it, only in the context of pre-Olympic competitions. People went there to compete again like we did or those who didn’t have a national went there to try to qualify. The same Great Britain was formally strong but showed nothing special, and stiff competition was expected at the Olympics, that was obvious.
Now I have traveled with absolutely different emotions, realizing that it is necessary to compete now because there may not be another Olympics
England were dangerous with the phenomenal seconds of Duncan Scott, James Guy who competed with you in the third leg of the relay at the European Championships. Thomas Dean won the Olympics in the 200m. By the way, later he wasn’t as good in the relay himself.
Individual competitions at the Olympics exhaust you from the inside out, I can tell for myself. In Rio, I swam every round of the 200m and the relay, but it was tough for me in the 4x200m final. At this point, you are both physically and mentally exhausted. That’s why I think Dean’s relay result was expected.
For you, it was only the second Olympics, but you were already part of the national team with one of the veterans, after Yulia Yefimova.
Andrusenko, Vladimir Morozov and Anastasia Fesikova. We were excited for a performance. We arrived in Tokyo, spent a lot of time at the airport doing a PCR, which is done there via saliva, which is very convenient. After arriving at the Olympic Village, we started to wait for the competition. Yes, we could only move inside the village, but in general everything was quite free. In general, I wouldn’t see much difference between the organization of the two Olympic Games in Rio and Tokyo. But in Japan, there wasn’t the well-known fast food. As for the difference in personal feelings, in Rio I was young and green, excited, such people often win because they don’t care about the significance of the Olympics seeing them as a usual competition. Also, I had six events: three individual 200m events, two relays and the 400m. Now I have traveled with absolutely different emotions realizing that it is necessary to compete now because there may not be another Olympics. When we participated in the ISL League, after the first pandemic, it was more difficult because we lived on an island, in single rooms and we only shuttled from the hotel to the pool for about 20 minutes. But in general, it didn’t confuse anyone.
I paid more attention to the technical moments, not to the race itself: that at the start the American, I think, was the only one to swim in 1.44.7. While compatriot Zack Apple who was 1.47, of course people don’t swim that way for a medal in the Olympic final
“I was worried if Mikhail Dovgalyuk had enough power ”
Didn’t the expected schedule changes have an impact on when the preliminary heats were in the evening and the finals in the morning?
If a person is ready, it has no impact on them. Personally, I think the morning finals made them more spectacular. For example, the preliminary part of the competition was very interesting for me because everyone was doing their best and it was very interesting to watch.
A Tunisian swimmer won the 400m freestyle. Made you know him before the Olympic Games?
I don’t think anyone knew about swimming in Tunisia except for Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli. For example, the sensational Rio champion Joseph Schooling from Singapore trains in America, while Ahmed Hafnaoui may be training in his homeland, which can be judged by his coach who appears to be local.
How do you think the final race was?
I paid more attention to the technical moments, not to the race itself: that at the start the American, I think, was the only one to swim in 1.44.7. While compatriot Zack Apple who was 1.47, of course, people don’t swim that way for a medal in the Olympic final. But Zack was good in the 100m freestyle and mixed relays. I also watched the guys and Mikhail Dovgalyuk arrive in the last jump as he started really fast and wondered if he had enough power. He did, we were 0.03 faster than the bronze medalist. It’s nothing, of course, once we got so close to a world record.
Another athlete from Tatarstan, Grigory Tarasevich, finished fourth with the mixed medley relay team. Sadly, Yevgeny Rylov lost half a second to the Italian and a second at his best with which he won the Olympics.
But I don’t think it was Evgueni’s problem who swam a little worse than he can. But all the guys did their best, as it was tough for Yevgeny after his individual 200 meters where he became champion. Then he was lined up for the mixed relay event.
Since I was invited to the club, I feel full support absolutely everywhere: from a medical point of view, training, moral support
“It’s a fantasy that Kazan has such a good selection of 50-meter pools”
Why is Mack Horton in the shadows? At the 2019 World Championships, he set the tone with his confrontation with Sun Yang, when he was worse than the others in the relay semi-finals and was not in the final.
Yes, to me it was a surprise that Mack did not qualify for the final of his key 400 meters, he won a gold medal in Rio with a magnificent result. As for the relay, Australia already had a strong squad.
After mentioning Horton, I would like to list those stars who were in the shadows at Tokyo 2020. They are Simone Manuel, Sjöström, Hosszú, Japanese swimmers Daiya Seto and Kosuge Hagino. Is that any clue that by hosting the Olympics a year later, world swimming is seeing a new generation?
Maybe everyone has their own reason. Sara Sjöström had certain health problems. Kosuge Hagino was going to retire: I don’t know why because he is my age, 26 years old is a bit early. Daiya Seto said he was poorly prepared. And it was tough for him at the home Olympics. Indeed, his last 50 meters in his signature 400m medley event was a sad spectacle. I would not hurry to talk about the alternation of generations, you have to see the results of the 2022 world championships in Fukuoka.
You joined the Sintez Aquatics Club team in the middle of the previous Olympic cycle. What did it give you?
For starters, I want to talk about Kazan in general because it’s a fantasy that there is such a good selection of 50m pools. Personally, I can train at Burevestnik, Aquatics Palace, Orgsintez. However, now it is more convenient for me to swim in Zalesny just because of its location. As for Sintez, since I was invited to the club, I feel full support absolutely everywhere: from the point of view of medicine, training, moral support.