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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Meet Sees Slow Win For Pankratov

He came, he swam, he conquered.

Two-time Olympic champion Denis Pankratov was in his usual position at the end of the 200-meter butterfly at the Moscow Cup international swimming meet at the Olympic pool, finishing first and beating his nearest competitor Alexander Gorguraki by more than two and a half seconds.

But Pankratov's time Saturday was "only" 1:58.13 -- a whole 5.5 seconds slower than his own short-course world record, set just three weeks ago in Germany. The swimmer then decided to skip the 100 meters on Monday, giving others a chance to vie for the gold.

"If Denis was in the race today, I wouldn't be standing on the top of the podium," said 100-meter winner Konstantin Ushkov. "Pankratov is simply unbeatable for the rest of us."

Although one veteran competitor questioned his effort in the pool, the performance was just fine for his coach Viktor Avdeenko, who before the competition had warned everyone "not to expect any world records."

"If you think, looking at his time, that Denis forgot how to swim, you're a fool," Avdeenko said matter-of-factly. "World records don't fall every day, and 1:58 is an excellent time for anybody. For instance just this week an American [Steve Brown] won his country's national championship in 2:01 in the 200 butterfly."

Indeed, it would have been almost perfect for anybody, except for Pankratov who, on previous performances this season, is in a league of his own. Arguably the best swimmer in Atlanta, where he won both the 100 and 200-meter butterfly events and broke the world mark in the 100, the Russian has already set four short-course world records this month alone.

"All winter I competed in the 25-meter pool," Pankratov said. "I haven't swum in the 50-meter pool since Atlanta, so I'm satisfied for now."