Swimming, Day 7 - Men’s 50m free: Cielo (BRA) gets third consecutive title and sixth gold in total
Cesar Cielo from Brazil became the first swimmer to win three titles in the 50m free (and consecutively) after getting the gold in Barcelona, in a time of 21.32 (best time of the year). Winner in Rome (ITA) four years ago in 21.08 (the current Championships record) and in Shanghai (CHN) in 2011 (21.52), the Brazilian star had a perfect race in lane 6 and earned his sixth gold medal at FINA World Championships – 2009: 50m free and 100m free; 2011: 50m free and 50m butterfly; 2013 – 50m butterfly. Cielo was also the bronze medallist in this event at the 2012 Games in London.
The minor medals went to Vladimir Morozov (RUS), silver in 21.47, while George Bovell gave Trinidad and Tobago the first medal ever at FINA World Championships, touching home for the bronze in 21.51. Bovell had already been a pioneer at Olympic level, when in Athens 2004 he got the bronze in the 200m IM. For Morozov, this was his first individual medal, after the bronze in the 4x100m free relay.
Outside of the podium, the 2012 Olympic champion Florent Manaudou (FRA) was fifth in 21.64, while Nathan Adrian (USA) did slightly better, concluding in fourth (21.60). Adrian has four Olympic medals and six podium presences at FINA World Championships. The three veterans of the final – Anthony Ervin (USA, 32), Roland Schoeman (RSA, 33) and Fred Bousquet (FRA, 32) – closed the ranking, finishing respectively in sixth, seventh and eighth.
World Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA), 20.91 – December 18, 2009 in Sao Paulo (BRA)
Championships Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA), 21.08 – August 1, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
Best performance of the current season (since January 2013): Cesar Cielo (BRA), 21.32 – August 3, in Barcelona (ESP)
2003-2011 winners in this event: 2003 – Alexander Popov (RUS, 22.05); 2005 – Roland Schoeman (RSA, 21.69); 2007 – Ben Wildman-Tobriner (USA, 21.88); 2009 – Cesar Cielo (BRA, 21.08); 2011 – Cesar Cielo (BRA, 21.52)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Cesar Cielo (BRA, 2009, 2011 & 2013)
2012 Olympic podium: 1. Florent Manaudou (FRA, 21.34), 2. Cullen Jones (USA, 21.54), 3. Cesar Cielo (BRA, 21.59)
Gold medal winner: Cesar Cielo (BRA)
"It's a great feeling, I was not expecting to win, I was focusing on my lane and try to do the best I could. When I touched the wall and saw the scoreboard, I was ecstatic, this race was the best feeling I had in my whole career!"
"At the Olympics, I finished in a place I did not want to be in it. Tonight, I just had one of the best races in my life, for me it was really redemption moment, just putting everything I've been through the whole last year."
"Now it's time to get a little break after here, to relax myself and have a little time off hard practice. Since the surgery I had, I had pressure on myself everyday to get back in time. Now it doesn't matter, I have time to heal 100%."
On age and fast times here in Barcelona: "For the age, you can never underestimate anybody. If somebody is in the final, it doesn't matter how old they are. The most experienced guys are the hardest ones to beat, they know how to relax. The new blocks, the pool overall is a better technology, and the training for sprinters has changed a lot since 2000 so there's a bunch of factors that somehow make the 50m a lot faster than 10 years ago."
Silver medal winner: Vladimir Morozov (RUS)
On why this sport is so fast: "The starting blocks help a lot, the technique is also developing and our training has changed a lot. We train so much in the gym now, we do weight training. These are the 3 things - technology, technique and power - that changed the sport."
On Cielo: "I had never raced against him before, I was really stoked on beating his NCAA record last March. In the call room, he makes so much noise getting ready, breathing heavily, and it pumps you up for the 50m. People say you win it before you are on the blocks, you win in the ready room so that's something I can take away from Cielo."
"It's my first World Championships swimming individual events, 6 out of 8 in the final were either Olympic or World champions."
On being presented the medal by Popov: "I actually talked to him for the first time ever before we went out to get our medals, it's his grounds here, he told me I was going in the right direction, it was great to talk to him."
Bronze medal winner: George Bovell (TRI)
"It is a very surreal experience because I've been in probably 9 or 10 world championships finals in the 100IM, 200IM and 200 free and finally I could climb on the podium."
"These races are always so close, whether you win or lose it's always a question of 'what if I did this or that' so I'm very grateful."
"I just turned 30 in July and when you get to my age there's a pressure to grow up so to speak. 10 year ago I was swimming here in the individual medley and I was kind of afraid that if I came and did not have a successful meet, there would be even more pressure on me to sort of move on in my life."
"I love swimming, I don't want to give it up and I'm grateful because finally I'm able to justify the effort I have put in, I clinched a medal and a PB and it gives me the will to keep swimming until Rio."
On "older" swimmers: "The 50m free is really my 'second' swimming career, I used to be a middle distance swimmer. Looking at Anthony Ervin and Fred Bousquet, both in their 30s, they keep going faster, so it changes the paradigm that swimming is a sport only for 20s. I think I'll continue to get stronger and faster."
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