FINA World Masters Championships
The 15th and last stand-alone edition of the FINA World Masters Championships took place in Montreal (CAN) from July 27 - August 10, 2014.
The FINA World Masters Championships is the Federation’s biggest competition in terms of participation, for the reason that it welcomes, every two years, swimmers, divers and water polo players aged 25 to more than a 100 years old from all corners of the world.
The vibrant Masters movement actively promotes fitness, friendship, understanding and competition through its five disciplines (swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and open water swimming).
FINA officially created the Masters movement about 30 years ago, the first edition being held in 1986 in Tokyo (JPN).
Starting in 2015, the FINA World Masters Championships will be held in conjunction with the FINA World Championships, taking place in Kazan (RUS).
Montreal 2014: Katherine Johnstone, 97 (NZL): "I don't know how to stop!"
"That was a long swim!" said 97-year-old Katherine Johnstone of New Zealand after clocking 7:59.19 in the 200m freestyle. The brave lady was tired but all smiles: she had just become the one and only FINA World Masters champion in the 95-99 category!
Unrivalled in Montreal, Johnstone celebrated the new accolade in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, and 50m breaststroke. Two years ago in Riccione, Italy, Johnstone also swam the 800m freestyle but was not allowed this time. Back home, she still holds the national record in the 1500m freestyle.
Montreal 2014, Diving: Canadian Olympian Jeff Hirst completes hat-trick
Toronto-based Jeff Hirst, an Olympian from the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in the 10m platform, bagged three gold and one silver from the 15th FINA World Masters Championships diving competition taking place on August 5-9 in Montreal. Hirst was in a class of his own in the 50-54 age group, sweeping three events in three days: the 1m (291.75 points), 3m springboard (332.45) and 7.5m platform (222.30).
On Saturday August 9, Hirst finished second with Mike Inglis in the platform synchro, less than 3 points behind U.S. pair Scott Smith and Ronald Kontura.
Montreal 2014, Diving: 1989 earthquake keeps her off board for 20 years
At Masters Worlds, each individual has its own story to tell related to their sport. American diver Sara Gilliland's story is quite special. The 37-year-old practiced diving for one year in 1989 and stopped for 20 years. The very day she decided she would never stand on a board or platform again, Gilliland had just had a terrifying experience: she was on the 3m springboard at her home-town club in California when a huge, tidal wave rose from the swimming pool, steming from the San Francisco-Oakland earthquake of October 17, 1989.
The major earthquake, also known as Loma Prieta earthquake, hit the San Francisco bay area, causing more than 60 deaths. "I was so scared that I stopped diving for 20 years," Gilliland said.
Montreal 2014, Synchro: "sport for life" is the motto!
More than 480 synchro swimmers performed in Montreal in one or more of the four events on the programme - Solo, Duet, Team and Free Combination - held from July 28 to August 2, 2014. If the team and free combination often generate the most "wows" thanks to sky-high jumps and original lifts, the solo is a particular event, where the athlete drives the audience in a world of her own.
On Saturday August 2, swimmers aged 25 to more than 80 years old shined in the solo free routine. On that sunny afternoon, the last performer of the day was Kanako Kitao of Japan, 2004 Olympic silver medallist in the team event in Athens. The 28-year-old stunned the judges and audience alike when she appeared on the pool deck with her hair loose and thin braids. The long, dark hair clearly added to the dramatic dimension of her magnificent routine. The audience was blown away, completely mesmerised by Kitao's unique performance.
Montreal 2014: 1996 Olympic champion Claudia Poll still looking strong
Costa Rican swimmer Claudia Poll is one of the few Olympic champions to have made the trip to Montreal for the 15th FINA World Masters Championships. At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Poll won the country's only gold medal, in the 200m freestyle. Two years later in Perth, she was crowned World champion in the same event. She has tallied a total three Olympic and four World championships medals.
At 42, the standout, 1m91-tall swimmer is still an ever-looming threat in the distance freestyle and IM events. The Olympian and multiple national record holder is attending her third straight Masters Worlds. In Gothenburg, Sweden in 2010, she finished first in the 200m IM and second in the 200m freestyle, and picked up another silver in the 200m IM in Riccione, Italy in 2012.
Montreal 2014: Gold rush for France's swimmer Nicolas Granger
Since his first participation at FINA World Masters Championships exactly 20 years ago, in Montreal in 1994, Frenchman Nicolas Granger had but one idea in mind: to come back. The 47-year-old Masters swimmer, who has broken a total 21 World records, pocketed two titles today, August 4, at the Parc Jean-Drapeau pool, the 100m freestyle and 100m breaststroke, and is clearly on track for more medals this week.
You can tell from the first look that Granger is no stranger to racing. In the line-up for the 100m breaststroke, the man stayed focused despite the surrounding hurly-burly, relaxing his long arms, his mind set on a clear goal: win this race. And so he made it happen, obliterating the field to post a remarkable 1:06.66, rattling Vladimir Pylypchenko's world record of 1:06.35, and claiming his 21st Masters world title to date.
Masters Worlds gather a record 97 countries!
More than 3'000 athletes, coaches, officials and FINA family representatives gathered to the 1976 Olympic Park in Montreal, Canada for the opening ceremony of the 15th and last stand-alone FINA World Masters Championships on August 2, 2014 for a memorable celebration of the Masters movement.
While Swimming events start today, August 3 at the Parc Jean-Drapeau, this edition proves already a success, with a record 97 member federation taking part in the 14-day event!
Montreal 2014, Water Polo: "We are here for the camaraderie and love of the game!"
Today August 2 successfully concluded the men's and women's water polo competitions at the 15th FINA World Masters Championships, where a total 950 players, representing 15 countries and more than 60 clubs, took part. It was a hot Saturday afternoon at the Parc Jean-Drapeau's aquatic complex with enthusiastic cheering from the crowds in the stands as finals for men and women were underway.
After an intense bronze-medal match in the men's 50+ age group, which they won, James Bates and Eugene Dafoe from the Kaos club (USA) shared their impressions, still panting: "That's the best we've done here," said Dafoe. Does that mean we get better with age? "I guess so!" they both replied, laughing.
Montreal 2014, Synchro: Olympian Paola Tirados makes joyful debut at Masters
Six years ago, she was claiming Spain's first Olympic silverware at the Beijing Games in the team event. Today, world-class synchro swimmer Paola Tirados also climbed the podium for a second-place finish in the solo at the 15th FINA World Masters Championships in Montreal, Canada, and that medal tasted no less sweeter.
The three-time Olympian from 2000, 2004 and 2008, whose remarkable tally include nine world medals (six silver and 3 bronze), retired in 2009, before the FINA World Championships in Rome, and never dipped a toe in a pool again... until three weeks ago.
Montreal ready to host Aquatics biggest ‘family party’
On July 27, Montreal, Canada will stage the 15th FINA World Masters Championships, the last stand-alone edition of the event. The picturesque city, which already hosted the championships exactly 20 years ago, will welcome a total 7’794 participants, representing 101 nations, for the 12-day colourful bash.
The Parc Jean-Drapeau Aquatic Complex on St. Helene island, regarded as the fastest pool in Canada, will be the main venue of the competition. This is where the 1976 Summer Olympics were held and quite likely, this year's championships may include medallists from those Games.
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