FINA World Championships
Sun Yang (CHN) improves 1500m free World Record
Exactly 10 years and two days later, the oldest World Record in the charts, established by Grant Hackett (AUS) in the men’s 1500m free (14:34.56) at the 2001 edition of the FINA World Championships in Fukuoka (JPN), was improved by China’s Sun Yang in the last day of the swimming finals in Shanghai. Yang touched home in 14:34.14, bettering Hackett’s mark by 0.42 and getting the second World Record of this competition, after Lochte’s effort in the 200m individual medley. It was the fourth medal in front of his fans for Yang (19 years old), after the gold in the 800m free, the silver in the 400m free and the bronze in the 4x200m free relay. The Chinese star was already the second best performer in history in this event, after clocking 14:35.43 in November 2010. At 17, in Rome 2009, he had been the bronze medallist, behind Ryan Cochrane (CAN, again silver in 14:44.46) and Oussama Mellouli (TUN, the current Olympic champion). In China, the Tunisian finished only 15th of the heats, which opened a new possibility for Gergo Kis (HUN), third at the Oriental Sports Centre in 14:45.66.
“I’m very happy to have won the gold and broken the World record. I didn’t think I could break the record; I just wanted to keep my pace. In a long-distance swimming event like this one, anything can happen in the middle of the process so my aim was to keep the good energy and a stable mindset to the end. This is a result of all the hard training and preparation I went through in Australia with Denis Cotterell [Grant Hackett’s coach],” commented Sun Yang on his race.
USA success: six medals for Phelps; Franklin with five
In a teenagers’ final, Melissa (“Missy”) Franklin (USA) got her fourth medal in these championships, the gold, in the women’s 200m backstroke (2:05.10). In Shanghai, she had previously assured the title in the 4x200m free relay, obtained the silver in the 4x100m free relay and earned bronze in the 50m backstroke. The 16-year-old swimmer is definitively the most notable “rookie” of the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai, and various experts in the pool deck consider her arrival at the top of the world hierarchy a phenomenon similar to the first gold of a “certain” Michael Phelps in 2001 in Fukuoka, also at 16… Franklin was born on May 10, 1995 in Pasadena (California), but lives in Aurora (Colorado). Swimming for the Colorado Stars and coached by Todd Schmitz, she started swimming because of her mother’s fear of the water!
Lochte: two more gold for the versatile champion
With two more wins during the sixth session of the swimming finals of the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai, Ryan Lochte (USA) is definitively the second best swimmer ever in the history of this competition. His medal tally now stands at 11 gold medals, three silver and three bronze, and only his arch-rival in China, Michael Phelps, has done better so far. Lochte’s path to glory started at the 2005 edition in Montreal (CAN), where he helped USA winning the 4x200m free relay, and got two bronze in the 200m backstroke and 200m individual medley. The count raised in Melbourne 2007 to five podium finishes (two gold, three silver), and continued in Rome 2009 with four titles and one bronze medal. In Shanghai, he is the world champion in the 200m free, 200m individual medley (on these two distances, he defeated Michael Phelps) 200m backstroke and 4x200m free relay.
Lochte “imperial” sets WR in the 200IM
In another thrilling duel Ryan Lochte/Michael Phelps, the 14-time gold medallist lost again, this time in the men’s 200m individual medley. Lochte, the world record holder in this event (he had clocked 1:54.10 when he won the world title in Rome 2009), improved his own best work mark and touched home in 1:54.00, setting the first World Record of these championships. It was also the first 50m World Record since the change of the FINA rules concerning the swimwear in the beginning of 2010. Lochte, winner of the 200m free, also in a close fight with Phelps, confirmed his status of main challenger of the greatest swimmer in history. Before Shanghai, the 26-year-old swimmer from Florida, had already an impressive roll of honour of 13 medals at FINA World Championships. With his two gold already in the Chinese metropolis, he is the third best in history in this competition, after Phelps and legendary Australian Grant Hackett.
China on the top of the world
It all started with Diving. Today, only open water swimming is missing. In the mid-80s, China’s emergence in Aquatics debuted with their first stars in Diving, a discipline in which the Asian nation rules until the present day – in Shanghai, they have swept all the 10 diving titles on offer! Then, at the beginning of the 90s, came Swimming, with the first World Championships’ medals appearing at the 1991 FINA World Championships in Perth. By the time of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Chinese Synchronised Swimming appeared at the highest level and at these home championships, China obtained an unprecedented set of seven silver medals in the discipline. As far as two/three years ago, Chinese women’s Water Polo started to be feared by the traditional powerhouses in the game, and in Shanghai, the host nation is for the first time in the final of the women’s tournament. The weakest link remains Open Water Swimming, where China’s best results in Shanghai were an eighth place in the 5km Team Event and an individual 12th position in the women’s 10km race.
Lochte defeats Phelps, France makes history
Over the years, the men’s 200m free has become one of the most awaited races of the swimming programme at both the FINA World Championships and Olympic Games. Two emblematic examples: the Athens 2004 Olympic duel between Ian Thorpe, Michael Phelps and Pieter van den Hoogenband (Thorpe was then the fastest), or the 2009 world championship battle between Paul Biedermann and Michael Phelps (the North American, winner in 2005 and 2007, had then lost to the German star). In Shanghai, the first final of the third day of the swimming programme was also outstanding, and included the following “attractions”: Yannick Agnel, the new rising star in France and fastest qualifier of the semis; Michael Phelps, the man of the 14 Olympic gold medals and best swimmer in history; Ryan Lochte, Phelps’ teammate with 14 world medals; Paul Biedermann (GER), the defending 2009 world champion and world record holder (1:42.00); Tae Hwan Park (KOR), Olympic silver medallist in this event and already winner of the 400m free in Shanghai.
“Revenge Day” for Cielo, Huegill and Dale Oen
Cesar Cielo Filho (BRA) has definitively solid nerves. First Olympic swimming champion for Brazil in 2008 (in the men’s 50m free), he touched the sky in 2009 after winning the 50m and 100m free races at the FINA World Championships in Rome (ITA). “Positive” nerves, one would say: you train, you make splendid races, you win, and you receive your medal (occasions in which he often cries…). Cielo has since then become a legend in Brazil, where he is an icon of the country’s passion for sport – additionally, he is one of the most prestigious ambassadors of the 2016 Olympics taking place in Rio de Janeiro. Two months ago, his world turned upside down: after taking his usual nutritional supplement, a positive doping test led to a warning from his National Federation. FINA appealed the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the Olympic champion had to wait for an audience held while he was already in Shanghai to know if he could swim at these championships: the verdict was a relief for him. The warning sanction was validated by the CAS and Cielo was free to shine in the pool.
Park (KOR) is back, Pellegrini (ITA) remains strong
After winning the men’s 400m free at the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne (AUS) and reinforcing his status of Korean star at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (gold in the men’s 400m free and a silver in the 200m), Tae Hwan Park did not appear in great shape at the 2009 Worlds in Rome (ITA), finishing only 12th in the longest distance. In 2010, Park seemed to have recovered, with victories in the 100m, 200m and 400m of the Asian Games. In Shanghai, he confirmed that he is back to the top, winning the first swimming final of the programme at the 14th FINA World Championships Shanghai 2011, precisely the 400m free, in a time of 3:42.04. It was the third fastest 400m victory in the history of the FINA World Championships, after the 3:40.17 triumph of Ian Thorpe (AUS, 2001) and the 2009 win of Paul Biedermann (GER, 3:40.07, the current World Record). At 21, Park demonstrates that he is ready for the 2012 Olympic celebration in London (GBR).
Splash in Shanghai with Eurosport and Pieter van den Hoogenband!
Dutch triple Olympic Champion Pieter van den Hoogenband joins Eurosport as swimming consultant for FINA World Championships and London 2012 Olympics
Paris, July 8, 2011 - Eurosport's Road to London 2012 starts in Shanghai with the Swimming FINA World Championships taking place from 24-31 July. This competition marks Eurosport’s first blockbuster event on the road to London 2012, just one year before the start of the much awaited Olympics Games.