Thorpedo continues to hog media limelight ahead of World Cup finale
Australian superstar Ian Thorpe gained the lion’s share of attention at today’s media conference ahead of the seventh and final FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup 2011 meet at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre this weekend. The hunger for Thorpe quotes dominated proceedings as the large international media contingent fronted six stars who were given a chance to speak. But it was Thorpe’s resurrection as a swimmer that had people clambering for the microphone.
“I never thought I would swim again, I would ever compete again. I spent five years away from the pool and I guess five years not being a swimmer. Just by chance, one day, I thought about swimming and I had thought about doing it previously but this was the first time I thought of the reasons why I would like to do this and those reasons may also be why I don’t want to do this. I decided to have another shot at it."
SWC 2011, Beijing day 2: Le Clos collects six gold and 1 silver medals
BEIJING, China - The South African swimmer bid a farewell to the "Water Cube", gaining inspiration from a venue that hosted the last Olympic Games. He is leaving Beijing with seven medals in his luggage, six of them golden. He is squarely in the lead of the men's FINA World Cup rankings and on pace to collect the $100,000 men's FINA World Cup overall series prize month in the final edition this weekend in Tokyo.
"I'm very happy with my performances in Beijing. Tonight was a tougher day for me even though the events were shorter and easier. I'm definitely pleased that this meet is over. I had a two and a half hour nap today and I woke up delirious. It was hard to get up and race today, but I'm pleased with three gold medals tonight and to know the end isn't too far off."
Thorpe posts 54.35 in 100 butterfly prelim swim at the "Water Cube"
Thorpe split a 25.29 at the 50 and stopped the clock at 54.35, finishing 13th out of a field of 27 athletes in the men's 100m butterfly. On November 5th at the recent Singapore edition the Australian Olympic legend split 25.27 and posted a final time of 54.09; he finished 11th out of 26 athletes in the same event.
Following the prelim session of the Beijing edition of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup, Ian Thorpe met with the media throng that had come to watch him swim and to get his reaction about his own comeback. Here's Ian Thorpe in his own words:
SWC 2011, Beijing day 1: South Africa's Chad Le Clos earns three gold medals
BEIJING, China - South Africa's Chad Le Clos made four trips to the medals podium during the first evening of the Beijing edition of the FINA/ARENA World Cup collecting three gold's and a silver in the 100m free, an event he swum for the first time in World Cup competition. The 19 year old is the current leader in the men's FINA World Cup rankings. Tonight's gold medal collection included championship titles in the 400m individual medley, 200m butterfly and the 100m individual medley.
When he finally got a break from racing and medal ceremonies Le Clos reflected on the motivation that he gained from the five medals that he earned at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore. "It was my first exposure to international competition and I was really nervous, but I can still remember every one of those races." At the Youth Olympic he won the 200m individual medley and would bring home three silver medals in individual events and a relay bronze.
What to expect at Beijing's "Water Cube"
Leigh Nugent, Australian National Team Director: "My expectation is more about Libby and Ian returning to competition that it is about their results. Before his races in Singapore, Ian has not competed in six years so this is part of the learning process. We are looking for improvements this week over his performances in Singapore and we will be looking for him to swim even faster in Tokyo. Of course we expect a significant improvement in his times before our Olympic Trials in March. Ian is entered in the 100 IM and in the 100 Fly. His objective is to qualify for the Australian 4 x 100m free relay. I'd like to have him on the 4 x 200m free relay as well. If he is fast enough perhaps he will race in some individual events as well in London."
Therese Alshammar, Sweden: "I am very pleased to be in Beijing as I have very fond memories from the 2008 Olympic Games held at this pool. It's the first time that I am back at the Water Cube after the Olympics. I am really looking forward to this competition. This is a very good pool. I also enjoyed the Shanghai World Championships this past summer. China has offered strong performances during the previous World Cup events. I look forward to strong racing from Chinese athletes in Beijing which makes all of us better."
SWC 2011, Singapore day 2: McKeon stuns Alshammar, Le Clos totals six golds
SINGAPORE, Singapore - The victory of 17-year-old Emma McKeon from Australia in the women's 100m freestyle was the first remarkable performance on Day 2 of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup in Singapore. McKeon touched the wall in 52.41 ahead of defending World Cup champion Therese Alshammar (SWE, 53.01). One could say it is not a big deal to be faster than the 34-year-old but not in this case: the sprint queen's experience and ability to remain focused during the race are considerable assets and she's a well-established threat in the pool. As a consolation, Alshammar captured the last gold of the day in the 50m butterfly.
Chad Le Clos (RSA) continued his winning streak with another gold in the men's 200m freestyle, touching home in 1:43.80. It was quite a tough race: Le Clos, Сameron McEvoy (AUS) and Kosuke Hagino (JPN) fought to the end, with the Australian eventually being faster (1:44.45 against 1:44.58).
SWC 2011, Singapore day 1: Le Clos in top shape, Thorpe makes timid start
SINGAPORE, Singapore - The first Asian stop of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup featured Chad Le Clos (RSA) having the top performance of the day and walking away with three victories in the 200m butterfly (1:51.05), 100m individual medley (53.06) and 400m individual medley (4:04.16).
The toughest battle was probably in the 100m IM where the South African talent had to contend with the likes of powerful Markus Rogan from Austria. For the two swimmers, the only way to get noticed amid the frenzy surrounding Ian Thorpe's comeback was to win a race, which Le Clos did in convincing fashion. All three made it to the 100m IM final. Rogan was the swiftest in the heat (55.25), 0.5 ahead of Le Clos while Thorpe finished sixth (56.74). In the final, Le Clos emerged victorious while Rogan and Thorpe placed sixth and seventh respectively.
Thorpe: "I am more nervous than I usually am"
Australian swimming icon Ian Thorpe revealed a little about his expectations at a press conference held today in Singapore in sight of the fifth leg of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup taking place from November 4-5. This will be the first competition for Thorpe since 2006. Here are some extracts:
"It's not going to be extraordinary and it's not going to be horrible. That's quite a vast range, so I expect to hit something in the middle there. I have to remind myself that I am a guy who hasn't swum for five years. I forget that sometimes and I think other people do as well. This is an important step for what I am trying to do next year. This is a starting point."
Mexican Espinosa leads diving at home
Thousands of spectators cheered the home favourite diving team during their total sweep of eight gold medals at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara (MEX). Diving was one of the most watched sports during America's biggest sports festival. Besides, the host nation totalled a record tally of 133 medals, including 42 gold, 41 silver and 50 bronze, to finish fourth in the overall medals ranking.
Paola Espinosa, Olympic and world medallist, created a sensation at the Games, going down in Mexico's diving history by gathering three gold medals in the 10m platform, both individual and synchro, and 3m synchro (also incidentally bagging a bronze in the 3m springboard). Espinosa successfully defended her title in the 10m platform in a tight final with team-mate Tatiana Ortiz. Mexico eventually placed 1-2 with Espinosa (370.60 points) and Ortiz (369.05 points). The minor medal was reserved for Meaghan Benfeito from Canada (358.20 points).
Brazil third behind USA and Cuba at Pan Am Games
The Brazilian delegation bagged 30 medals (ten golds, nine silvers and 11 bronze) from the Pan American Games which concluded on October 30 in Guadalajara (MEX). The squad was reinforced by the presence of swimming aces Cesar Cielo and Thiago Pereira. Olympic champion Cielo won four gold medals. He notably took out the 100m freestyle in 47.84, the season's second best time. Team-mate Pereira won eight medals, thus becoming Brazil's most decorated athlete at the Games with a total 12 gold medals.
In open water, Poliana Okimoto repeated her silver medal from Rio (2007) while the men's and women's water polo teams both won the bronze against Cuba. Brazil's synchro team finished third in both the duet and team free and Cesar Castro was the only Brazilian diver to pick up a medal (bronze) in the 3m springboard competition.
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