Discover Masters World: Jim Montgomery (USA)
Those who have had the good luck one day to meet Jim Montgomery certainly remember how genuine, kind and unassuming this great man is. The American is in Gothenburg (SWE) for the FINA Masters World Championships where he shares his thoughts about his incredible career, his new passions and why, at 55, he still swims. It is hard to know where to start when recalling the accomplishments of the legendary freestyle swimmer, who was born in 1955 in Madison, Wis. (USA).
The sprinter years
Jim Montgomery etched his name into the history books when he was the first man to swim the 100m freestyle under the 50-second barrier in a World record time (49.99) at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal (CAN). He began an unstoppable reign over the freestyle events, also winning gold in 4x100m medley and 4x200m freestyle, and a bronze in the 200m freestyle.
Discover Masters World: Mieko Nagaoka (JPN)
Ms. Mieko Nagaoka was born in 1914. She lives alone in the South of Japan and started swimming at 80 years old to recover from a knee injury. Her story teaches us a simple but often overlooked lesson: it is never too late to start something and make great accomplishements.
In the beginning, Ms. Nagaoka didn’t know how to swim. She used to come to the swimming pool to do exercises for her knee. At 82, she started to learn and swim on her own. And because she performs in a Noh – Japanese traditional dancing dramas – this was also an incentive to learn how to swim so that she would keep in shape for the plays.
Masters putting new life into former Olympians' career
Evgeny Zhilyaev, 36 years old, Sergey Gorovoy, 34, and Alexandr Shvedov, 36, all belonged to the Kazakstan men’s water polo team which took part in the Olympic Games for the first time in Sydney (AUS) in 2000 and in Athens (GRE) in 2004, where they finished in a respectable ninth and eleventh place, respectively. They also made three FINA World Championships appearances in 1994 (Rome, ITA), 1998 (Perth, AUS) and 2001 (Fukuoka, JPN). They finished twelveth in Rome and Fukuoka and eleventh in Perth.
After a full high-profile water polo career, their still-competitive spirit continues to thrill at their first FINA Masters World Championships participation, in Gothenburg (SWE), where they play in the 30+ and 35+ age groups.
Men's Water Polo World Cup 2010, Day 6: Serbia add World Cup title to World League gold
Inspired by his captain Vanja Udovicic and well shaped by coach Dejan Udovicic, Serbia reaffirmed their status as the current world strongest team by winning the World Cup, just two weeks after conquering the gold medal in the World League. In spite of having lost the first match to Croatia, today Serbia crushed their neighbours and traditional rivals thanks to swift start and four goals in the first period (to none). Croatia won the second period but eventually the goal gap at the end was of six. Spain conquered the bronze medal clearly defeating the United States. In other matches Romania beat Australia and conquered the fifth place and the qualification for the next World Championships; for the 7th place China crushed Iran.
Men's Water Polo World Cup 2010, Day 5: Croatia & Serbia for the gold medal
On the sixth and last day Croatia and Serbia will play the final for the gold and the silver medal on the last of the 24 matches of the tournament. Both the mighty Balkan teams defeated their opponents - the Unites States and Spain, that will play one another for the bronze medal - by the margin of two goals at the end of two spectacular games.
In the first two games, Australia defeated China by a four-goal difference while Romania buries Iran under another 24 goals (against six). The winners will play for the fifth and sixth place, the losers for the 7th and 8th place.
Olympic gold medallists at Masters water polo
The Masters community has many stories to tell, but water polo may be the sport to have players with the greatest pre-Masters life achievements to reveal. Indeed, going to a Masters game offers the best chances to cross the way of former Olympians.
Such is the case of Aleksandr Shidlovsky, who was gold medallist at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. He played in the men’s water polo team representing Russia and now operates as a coach.
Discover Masters World: Giorgio Levi Della Vida (ITA)
Rome-based Giorgio Levi Della Vida is a fresh face of Masters diving. He turned 25 on July 29, 2010, consequently eligible to compete for the first time at the FINA Masters World Championships, taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden, from July 27 to August 7.
His diving venture began when he was 16. He always wanted to practice the sport but his parents thought it was too “dangerous”. As a result, when he reached 16, he started looking for a club but for a rookie of his age, possibilities were limited: “There wasn’t any course for boys of my age because I was too old to get into a group and too young for Masters.”
Discover Masters World: Rene Puddifoot (GBR)
Ms. Rene Puddifoot is one kind of a lady. Not only is she the oldest diving competitor at the 13th FINA Masters World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, she also happens to be the oldest diver in action in her entire country, England. She is 88 years old – the oldest male diver is “only” 85 – and trains at the Beaumont Diving Academy in Hatfield, England.
As a child, she remembers her unfortunate experience because of her lack of team spirit: “I was always hopeless at any sort of sport at school”. Soon, she would swim mostly daily to keep fit. At 73, she found swimming was very “boring” and saw some people diving. It looked interesting and she decided to give it a try.
Men's Water Polo World Cup 2010, Day 4: Serbia, USA, Spain & Croatia win and go through for the podium
The outcome of today’s four games was easily predictable, except for Romania vs. USA, a match that had lifted many expectations among the local fans and that was broadcast live by the Romanian national television (as all Romania’s games); following their request, today’s game of Romania was started at 5 p.m. instead of 3:30pm (the same time for Romania’s game has been agreed for tomorrow and after tomorrow). The home team managed to bravely stay in the game for three quarters: at the end of the 3rd period the score was on tie, 9-9. The hopes of the Romanians faded away in the last period when the Americans managed to convert into goals some extra-man opportunities. The Australians too fought bravely against the Serbians, and lost narrowly to them, but in this case the outcome of the game was never in doubt. Against Spain, China confirmed their progressive improvements while Iran could only limit the damage against Croatia.
Men's Water Polo World Cup 2010, Day 3: Unbeaten Spain and Croatia top respective group
The end of today’s last game – the 12th – marked the conclusion of the preliminary round. From the 4th day all games – quarterfinals on Friday, semi-finals on Saturday and finals on Sunday - will end with a winner and a loser. Spain and Croatia topped Group A and B respectively; Romania and Serbia were second; Australia and USA third; Iran and China fourth, with zero points.
Today the first two games ended in an almost identical score: 8-15 China-Serbia, 8-14 Romania-Spain. Croatia’s victory over the United States was clear cut and never in doubt in spite of a narrow final 2-goal gap. Much predictable the outcome of Australia-Iran, which the Aussies won 26-4.
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