Olympic Medalist Arkady Vyatchanin Now Eligible for USA National Team

Olympic backstroke medalist Arkady Vyatchanin, who formerly represented Russia internationally, has gained his U.S. citizenship. SwimSwam reported last summer that Vyatchanin was seeking American Sporting Citizenship after FINA blocked him from representing Serbia internationally due to residency. He has now attained his American citizenship and is eligible for the U.S. National Team.

Vyatchanin has plenty of international experience, having represented Russia at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He was the bronze medalist in both backstrokes in Beijing. His resume also includes World Championships medals, European Championships titles, U.S. Winter Nationals titles, and short course World Records in both backstrokes set in 2009, though his backstroke World Records have since been broken.

Vyatchanin has been competing at this weekend’s U.S. Open in Long Meadow, New York. There, he placed 2nd in the 200 back (1:57.13) and won the 100 back (53.91) with times that rank him among the top 6 performers at meets specified within the USA Swimming National Team selection procedures.

As a refresher, here are the selection criteria for making the team:

  • The top six athletes in Olympic Events from the combined results of the 2017 Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships (World Championship and World University Games Trials), 2017 FINA World Championships, 2017 World University Games, and the 2017 USA Swimming U.S. Open.
  • Times from Prelims, Semi-Finals and Finals (A, B and C) only will be used.
  • Relay lead offs, time trials, swim-offs and intermediate splits will not be included.

Men’s 100 Back Selection Rankings

100 BACK
1. Matt Grevers 52.48
2. Ryan Murphy 52.59
3. Justin Ress 53.37
4. Jacob Pebley 53.72
5. Arkady Vyatchanin 53.91
6. Sean Lehane 54.21

Men’s 200 Back Selection Rankings

200 BACK
1. Ryan Murphy 1:54.21
2. Jacob Pebley 1:54.78
3. Jonathan Roberts 1:56.88
4. Sean Lehane 1:57.07
5. Arkady Vyatchanin 1:57.13
6. Robert Owen 1:57.17

As the U.S. Open comes to a close tomorrow, the only remaining qualifying meet for the National Team is the World University Games. The USA will send Sean Lehane and Taylor Dale to that meet for the 100 back, while Joey Reilman and Robert Owen will represent the USA in the 200 back.

In the 100 back, Lehane is already in the top 6, but if Taylor Dale is able to swim sub-54 for the first time (his career best is a 54.00 from the Mare Nostrum this year), he would knock either Vyatchanin or Lehane out, depending on how Lehane performs. If Lehane beats Vyatchanin’s time from Nationals and Dale swims faster than Vyatchanin, it would lead to Vyatchanin being bumped out of the top 6. If, however, Lehane didn’t beat Vyatchanin and Dale swam a faster time than Vyatchanin, it would bump Lehane off the list instead of Vyatchanin.

Vyatchanin’s spot in the 200 back appears to be more secure at this point because Owen is already in the top 6 and Reilman would have to drop 2 seconds from his lifetime best (1:59.33) to knock Vyatchanin or Owen out of the top 6.

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