FINA World Masters Championships
More information on the OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.finamasters2012.org
The 14th edition of the FINA World Masters Championships will take place in Riccione (ITA) on June 3-17, 2012
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 25 years ago, the first edition being held in 1986 in Tokyo, Japan, and would later confirm its inclusion at a Congress meeting in Madrid the same year. The second and third editions of the Championships included swimming events only. But since then (1990), it incorporates FINA’s five disciplines.
Riccione 2012, Open Water: Record swimmers take to the Adriatic Sea
Never before in the history of open water swimming have so many competitors entered an event than at the FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione. About 1349 men and 594 women dived took to the clear water of the Adriatic Sea. Air temperature was about 30 degrees Celsius and water temperature 23. The organising committee had prepared the triangle course for a great final of the championships. Due to the great number of entries, it was decided in advance, that the race would be split in two days. The younger age groups (40-44 and younger) competed at the same time. On the last day of the championships, a huge crowd of spectators, some even took to the water to be as close as possible to the competitors, celebrated the final event of the successful championships.
In 2004, when Riccione hosted the FINA World Masters Championships for the first time, 1083 competitors had entered the open water race, a record in participation at the time. Now the figures are nearly doubled and the organising committee has registered a new record. The great number of competitors was also a great challenge for safety and security instructors. No less than eight water crafts, 15 rescue boats, four boats for the organising committee, another four with coast guards and divers managed the swimmers throughout the race. “In my opinion, we provided the best ever conditions for the competitors”, said Andea Prayer, vice chairman of the organising committee and a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee.
Riccione 2012, Swimming: A flowering of five-time champions
The Championships' biggest reception was reserved for swimming, where the entire Masters community - competitors, spectators and fans - cheered from the stands at the outdoor pool of the “Polisportiva Communale” in Riccione. It is a quarter past midnight. They are all waiting for the last heat, men's 50m butterfly, to start. Sergey Mukhin from Russia was the last champion of the day, winning the event in 25.09 (25-29 age group). And all together, they celebrated a great midnight show after all heats were held during a long, long day. The competition had started at 7:30 in the morning with the first heat for the men's 400m IM, Spain's Manuel Pinya touching first in 13:17.93 (85-89 age group).
Long days and sessions confirmed the ever-vibrant interest for Masters swimming all over the world. A total 77 afiliated member federations, from Andorra to Zimbabwe, were present in Riccione and close to 10'000 competitors in swimming only provided a total 28'878 individual and 1556 relay splashes at the event - an absolute record in FINA's history. Up to now, the 2000 edition in Munich, Germany, held the record of entries (17'144, individual and relays together). “We never expected such a great number of participants. We are very surprised and overwhelmed by this very great interest”, said Paolo Barelli, FINA Bureau Honorary Secretary and President of Italian Swimming Federation. “It shows also the great attraction of Riccione and the Adriatic Sea”, he added.
Riccione 2012, Synchronised Swimming: A family affair
Compositions of pop, rock, soul, classical music blared on the loudspeakers for the five-day synchronised swimming competition of the 14th FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione, Italy. A total 588 competitors performed routines in solo, duet, trio, team and combination. Some travelled a long way to compete on the wonderful Adriatic coast. From Kobe, Japan, 89-year-old Chisako Oishi competed in the 80+ age group, bringing home a gold medal from the solo event. She earned a second gold medal with her daughter Mayumi Araki in the duet (70-79 age group). “I have trained hard up to three times a week for this event”, she said.
Team Caem from Canada also brought the family to Riccione, but at a quite different level. Two of the nine competitors had their young babies with them. “We must organise our training and practice according to the feeding schedule”, Annie Arseneau said. Robert Prevot is coaching the club's three teams that are in Riccione. "I'm responsible for creativity and artistry”, he explained. “And I'm having very busy days here at the championships”, he added.
Riccione 2012, Diving: "Hat-trick" but not just for the Magic Six!
Amongst all the diving stars at the 14th FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione six divers managed to secure a wonderful three victories each in their respective events but in addition to their hat-trick is another namely: the Iranian, Hassan Lotfi, the Indian Rajendra Kanphade and the Italian Ugo Sansonetti. The Italian was the oldest competitor in the diving events and was victorious in the 1m Springboard event securing a total of 118.50 points while competing in the 90-94 years age-group. The 93 year-old former farmer who had spent many years in Costa Rica is now back in his homeland and is coached by Italian diving legend Klaus Dibiasi. Back in February he had broken his ankle but fortunately he got the green light from his doctor to compete in the Championships on the Adriatic coast of Italy. He had previously also held 10 World Masters records in athletics in the 200m, 400m and 800m too. His 10 children, 25 grandchildren and five great grandchildren were all truly proud of him.
Riccione 2012, Water Polo: Three lots of extra time and two penalty shootouts!
Drama it certainly was and right up until the last second at the 14th FINA World Masters Championships where the 274 matches in Riccione certainly provided fantastic publicity for this discipline of the aquatic sports. Exactly one hundred teams took part (one team had to withdraw at the last minute as it did not have enough players) and those present including FINA President, Dr. Julio C. Maglione, FINA Hon. Secretary and President of the Italian Swimming Federation, Paolo Barelli, and FINA Executive Director, Cornel Marculescu, witnessed a fantastic spectacle the likes of which has seldom been seen before. Of the teams taking part twelve of them were women’s teams competing in four different age-groups while the remainder in the men’s tournament were competing in eight different age-groups. And the finals themselves provided a particularly tense and exciting atmosphere with three of them going into extra time and of those three two went to penalty shoot-outs. In just two age-groups were the winners from Boras in Sweden two years ago able to repeat their triumph and in the women’s tournament there was just one successful title defense.
Discover Masters World: Bernice Orwig (USA)
2000 Sydney Olympics. Women’s water polo is played for the first time at the Olympic Games. Atop the podium stands Australia, second is the USA and third Russia. American silver-medallist Bernice Orwig was among those to write the first page of water polo Olympic history.
Ten years later, we meet her at the FINA Masters World Championships in Boras (SWE, for water polo only), where she takes some time to talk about her fantastic Olympic experience and how her passion for the sport has continued to exist since.
Discover Masters World: Lori Crawford & Penny De Meules (USA)
“I learned to swim on the Internet”
Five years ago, Lori Crawford did not know how to swim. Today she is 33 and is competing in synchronised swimming at a World Masters championship for the second time! How did she go from zero swimming skills to performing synchro routines? Here is the story.
It all started with a free gym membership. Where Lori used to live at the time there was a gym with a pool. One day, she decides to take it to the water and soon realise that she does not know how to swim. “Ok, I have to fix this,” she tells herself.
Discover Masters World: Olga Larissa Vargas (MEX)
Two months ago, Olga Vargas from Mexico did not know whether she would be able to compete at the FINA Masters World championships or not. Like some others, the economical aspect almost jeopardised her Masters participation. Today, the 30-year-old leaves with happy memories from Gothenburg having bagged two gold medals, one in Solo and another in Duet, with swimming partner and long-time friend Nara Lorena Falcon.
Background: an early start
As a matter of fact, Olga’s success finds its roots in a former elite career, which stretches from 1997 to 2004. Before getting started with synchro at 11, Olga had already six years of gymnastics under her belt!
Discover Masters World: Lucia Molnarova & Veronika Strapekova (SVK)
One of these 13th FINA Masters World Championships’ latest sensations was revealed with Slovakia making its first appearance in the Team and Combination events at world level. Overall, the Slovakian ‘mermaids’ proved themselves tremendous performers, picking up three golds in Solo (swum by Lucia Molnarova), Team and Combination and one silver medal in Duet (swum by Lucia and Veronika Strapekova) in Gothenburg (SWE).
Lucia, 26, and Veronika, 32, who both swim for the Iuventa Bratislava in Slovakia, explain what lies behind their success: “Some teammates have swum at very high level”, says Veronika, who represented Slovakia at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. As to Lucia, she swam at Open level until 2006.
Discover Masters World: Mayumi Ochiai (JPN)
Finding a pool nearby in Japan is quite a challenge and Mayumi Ochiai is a case in point. Living in the crowded centre of Tokyo, the 28-year-old takes half an hour in her car to get to the pool where she practices synchronised swimming twice a week, between two and four hours, with her coach.
But distance is no obstacle for Mayumi, who came all the way to Gothenburg (SWE) to compete and enjoy her third World Masters experience, after Stanford (USA) in 2006 and Perth (AUS) in 2008.
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