Russian swimmers Evgeny Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov have flown under the radar a little bit throughout the first two seasons of the International Swimming League, but those days are done.
The duo, who have already signed up for the ISL Draft registration process for Season 3, have progressively gotten better and better in recent years, and that evolution was on full display at the recent Russian Olympic Trials in April.
Primarily known for their backstroking prowess, the two men traded the Russian Record a few times in the men’s 100 backstroke, with Rylov ultimately winning the event with one of the fastest swims ever: 52.12. Kolesnikov, still just 20 years old, entered the all-time top 10 in the event with a time of 52.24.
After the race, Kolesnikov was fairly content, but Rylov believed he could’ve been better.
“I think so far Evgeny and I are at the top of the rankings,” Kolesnikov told Russian media after the event (via translation). “On the one hand, I am satisfied with the result, but it’s possible (to swim) faster.”
“I was ready to swim faster,” added Rylov.
Later in the competition, Rylov, 24, broke his European Record in the 200 back (1:53.23), while Kolesnikov took down the Russian Record in the 100 freestyle (47.31).
While these swims may not have been a surprise for some – Rylov is already a multi-time World Champion, and Kolesnikov a world record holder – it did seem as though the performances brought their stardom to the next level.
The two of them – who have represented the Energy Standard club in each of the first two seasons of the ISL – are beginning to evolve from top European competitors to some of the best swimmers on the planet, full stop.
During the ISL’s inaugural season, Rylov and Kolesnikov tied with 102.5 points, ranking 26th in the league, to help Energy Standard win the championship trophy. Their performance in the pool elevated during Season 2, as Rylov scored 170.75 points and Kolesnikov scored 133.5 – numbers that don’t even do justice to their contributions on the Energy Standard relays.
Given their level of skill across the freestyle and backstroke events, along with Kolesnikov’s ability to compete at a high level in the individual medley, they’ll be hot commodities for Season 3 of the ISL. Energy Standard will have the opportunity to keep them on their roster at the upcoming draft, a move that could prove critical as the club looks to regain the league championship from the 2020 champion Cali Condors next season.
And as their star power grows inside the swimming community, it has the chance to transcend the sport this summer, as both enter the Tokyo Olympic Games with a chance to win multiple gold medals.
Given their talent, youth and ability to perform under pressure, the sky is truly the limit in terms of the potential impact Rylov and Kolesnikov can have in the ISL, Russia and swimming in general.
ABOUT THE ISL: The International Swimming League is a global professional swimming competition that saw the completion of a second successful in 2020 with competing teams from Europe (Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron, and London Roar), North America (Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current, NY Breakers and Toronto Titans), and Asia (Tokyo Frog Kings).
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