YOG Singapore 2010, Day 7: Hungary, China and France shine in the last session of the Swimming programme

Youth Olympic Games

No less than 16 nations medalled in the sixth and last session of the Youth Olympic Games, being held in Singapore. Throughout the nine finals of this Friday, witnessed by Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, three countries were, nevertheless in evidence, at the pool of the Singapore Sports School: China and Hungary, with three gold medals each, and France, with two swimmers winning a race. Australia and Croatia were the remaining winners of the session, which had two shared gold medals, precisely in the first and fastest event on the programme, the women’s 50m free.

France’s Anna Santamans had the fastest reaction time of the eight finalists (0.63), but on a very tight race, she would touch the wall with the same time of China’s Yi Tang, both in 25.40. In third, Emma McKeon (AUS) got the first of the five medals of the day for her country.

Hungary's Peter Bernek - credit: SPH-Syogoc/Mugilan Rajasegeran

Then, started the Hungarian rhapsody, with the first title of the session going to Peter Bernek in the men’s 200m backstroke. Bernek touched home in 1:59.16, but was closely followed by Israel’s Yakov Toumarkin (1:59.39). On a clear third position, the other Hungarian swimmer of the final, Balazs Zambo, touched in third with the time of 2:01.60. Less than one hour later, another Magyar competitor, Bence Biczo, triumphed in the men’s 200m butterfly (1:55.89), defeating one of the heroes of these Games, South Africa’s Chad Le Clos (second, in 1:56.85). Poland’s Marcin Cieslak was third in 1:57.68. Fifteen minutes later, Boglarka Kapas, this time in the women’s field, was the strongest in the 400m free, clearly touching ahead in 4:10.37. Kiera Janzen (USA) was a distant second in 4:14.28, while Eleanor Faulkner (GBR) got the bronze in 4:14.31.

From China’s side, Lan Liu was the fastest in the women’s 100m butterfly (victory in 59.67), and was followed by Judit Ignacio (ESP, 1:00.07), and by Rachael Kelly (GBR, 1:00.26). The two medals from the British swimmers in this last session were the only ones in the pool of these Olympic Games. Liu was also decisive in the victory of the Chinese mixed 4x100m medley relay, in a time of 3:52.52. The Asian team was the only of the eight finalists to use the strategy “two boys in the start and two girls for the finish” and the tactics paid off. Russia got the silver in 3:55.29 and Australia touched third in 3:55.63.

For France, Medhy Metella got his first gold of the Games, by winning the men’s 100m free in 49.99. He was the only swimmer below the 50 second-mark, as Velimir Stejepanovic (SRB) got silver in 50.25 and Kenneth To (AUS) was third in 50.29. To’s teammate Emily Selig was luckier and earned the gold in the women’s 200m breaststroke in 2:27.78 (it was Australia’s only gold of the day). Canada’s Tera van Beilen was second in 2:29.39 and Japan’s Maya Hamano concluded in third, with 2:29.75. 

Medhy Metella (FRA) - credit: SPH-Syogoc/Ray Chua

Ivan Capan got the only medal for Croatia at this swimming competition, after winning the men’s 50m breaststroke in 28.55. His satisfaction at the end of the short race illustrated the minimal difference with his main challengers – Australia’s Nicholas Schafer was second in 28.59 and Romania’s Razvan Tudosie finished third in 28.69.

At the end of the 34-event programme, China clearly dominated the competition, with a total of 11 gold, two silver and one bronze medal. In the top-five of the medal chart, we still find: Australia (4+6+6), Hungary (4+1+1), France (3+1+2) and Ukraine (3+1+1). No less than 27 countries earned medals at the Singapore Sports School, a number that includes nations that have never won an Olympic award in Swimming: Israel, Venezuela, Portugal, Czech Republic, Kuwait and Singapore. On the side of deceptions, Brazil did not get a single medal, the USA had only three awards, Germany and Japan never listened to their national anthems at the Singapore Sports School.

Individually, 10 swimmers from four nations have earned at least four medals in these Games. This list includes: from China, Jianbin He (four medals), Yi Tang (6) and Lan Liu (6); from Australia, Kenneth To (6), Nicholas Schafer (4), Emma McKeon (6) and Emily Selig (4); from Russia, Anton Lobanov (4) and Alexandra Papusha (4); and from South Africa, Chad Le Clos collected five medals.

In terms of performances, and if we take into consideration the last FINA Points Table for 50m-pool, the best individual results were achieved by Bence Biczo (HUN) among men, with his 1:55.89 victory time in the 200m butterfly (890 points). Curiously, in the women’s field, the most valuable performance came also from the winning result of Boglarka Kapas in the 200m butterfly (2:08.72 – 881 points).

China's mixed 4x100m medley relay - credit: SPH-Syogoc/Joseph Nair

Quotes of the day
"I was so nervous before the race. But she (Iwasaki) is an Olympian so her pet talk before the race made me calm. I was impressed with her calibre and (she is) someone I can really admire."
- Kyoko Iwasaki (JPN), coach of Maya Hamano (JPN)

"I’m overwhelmed. I’m grateful to my coach and the team members for their encouragement and love."
– Yi Tang (CHN)

"It's good that we train together because we swim the same race. We have someone we can compete with. When I swim, I don't want to be slower than (Julia) and she doesn't want to be slower than me." - Annick van Westendorp (SUI) about her training partner and would-be rival, Julia Hassler (LIE)

"Stay focused. Keep your mind clear. Keep in good shape for the race. You don't get anything if you do nothing. Even if you are slow, you must be able to accept failure." – Tips from Raphael Stacchiotti (LUX)

"I'm so proud to be here because not many people from Spain are here."
– Claudia Dasca (ESP)

Diving ready to start at Toa Payoh

The aquatic programme of these Youth Olympic Games continues with the Diving competition, taking place at the Toa Payoh Sports Complex, from August 21-24. Four finals will be contested, the individual 3m springboard and 10m platform, for both men and women. On the first day, will be held the women’s 10m platform, followed, on Sunday, by the men’s 3m springboard (where the indisputable star will be Tom Daley, from Great Britain, who is slightly injured and preferred to skip his pet event, the 10m platform). On Monday, will take place the women’s 3m springboard, and the last day is reserved for the men’s 10m platform.

In springboard preliminaries, boys will perform 10 dives (five with a maximum 9.5 DD, and five without DD limit), while girls are supposed to dive nine times (five with DD limit and four without). On the 10m platform, boys will do nine dives (four with a maximum 7.6 DD, and five without) and girls eight dives (four with and four without DD limit). For finals (in the two boards), boys will dive five times and girls four (all the dives without DD limit).