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SWC 2011, Stockholm day 1: Alshammar wins twice, Sjostroem best performer

Swimming World Cup

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Sarah Sjostroem was the hero of the first day of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup, taking place in Stockholm (SWE), clocking the fastest time of the finals’ session in the women’s 200m free – 1:52.92 (954 points). The spectators in the Eriksdalsbadet complex were happy to see a local star approaching the World Cup record in this event, established in 2010 by Femke Heemskerk (NED, 1:52.42). The silver medallist, Australia’s Angie Bainbridge, leading until the 150m-mark, touched home in 1:53.03 (951 points), the second best performance of the day.

Swedish swimmers had more opportunities to shine in the women’s 100m breaststroke (victory of Jennie Johansson in 1:05.27), and in the women’s 100m butterfly (triumph of Therese Alshammar in 55.99). With this result, Alshammar (34 years old and winner of the overall World Cup in 2010) established the third best result among women, with 950 points. The Swedish “diva” added a second medal to her tally, by winning in the 50m free in a time of 23.80. Finally, in the men’s 100m free, Stefan Nystrand (who will turn 30 on October 20) got the gold in a slow time of 47.08.

In a very close race, Chad Le Clos (RSA), winner of six events in the first leg of this year’s World Cup, was the best in the men’s 400m individual medley, getting the gold in 4:03.10. He was slightly faster than Japan’s Daiya Seto (4:03.33) and Hungary’s David Verraszto (4:03.45). Le Clos, also the best performer in Dubai, obtained the third best result of the day, by getting the silver in the 200m butterfly (1:51.88 – 927 points). The race was won by Japan’s Hidemasa Sano in 1:51.33 (941 points, the best male performance of the day). His teammate Naoya Tomita was also in evidence, by getting the gold in the men’s 200m breaststroke, in 2:05.13.

In the women’s 800m free, Hungary’s Evelyn Verraszto also got a performance above 900 points, winning in 8:20.78 (905 points), and closely beating Eleanor Faulkner (GBR, 8:21.19). The fifth best performer of Day 1 in Stockholm was Canada’s Erica Morningstar in the women’s 200m individual medley (2:07.90 – 924 points).

Australians were also in good shape, getting the gold in the women’s 50m backstroke (Rachel Goh, 26.63), in the women’s 200m backstroke (Belinda Hocking, 2:05.76), in the men’s 50m backstroke (Kenneth Ko, 52.07), in the men’s 100m individual medley (second win of the day for Ko, in 52.02 – 929 points and second best performance in the men’s field), and in the men’s 50m butterfly (successful return of Geoff Huegill to World Cup action, with a win in 22.70). Also from Oceania, Glenn Snyders (NZL) was the fastest in the men’s 50m breaststroke (27.04).

In the men’s 400m free, natural expectation surrounded the performance of world record holder in the distance, Germany’s Paul Biedermann. Leading the field from the 100m-mark, the German star touched first in 3:43.45, almost 11 seconds slower than his 2009 performance in Berlin.