Lochte defeats Phelps, France makes history

Shanghai 2011 - Swimming

altOver 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.

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Mighty world champion USA rumbled by Russia in women's water polo

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

GRE vs NED - credit: Russell McKinnonWorld champion United States of America, so long a permanent feature of the FINA World Championship women's water polo final, will not be contesting a medal this year.

Perennial podium-climber Australia, Olympic champion Netherlands and 2009 silver medalist Canada were also denied a top-four finish when quarter-final action was played today at the Natatorium.

The USA was upstaged by a gutsy Russia who used a seven-goal blitz to shatter the hearts of the North Americans. Not out of a podium finish since 2001, the multi-awarded USA had no answer to Russia after being 4-0 up midway through the second quarter.

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“Revenge Day” for Cielo, Huegill and Dale Oen

Shanghai 2011 - Swimming

credit: Giorgio ScalaCesar 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.

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Montenegro, Spain, USA and Germany keep medal hopes alive

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

credit: Russell McKinnonMontenegro, Spain, United States of America and Germany have fired through to the quarter-finals of the FINA World Championships men’s water polo competition at the Natatorium today.

The second-round games went as predicted but the pressure was firmly put on the Spaniards as Australia came back from 7-2 down only to fall a goal short at 9-8.

Montenegro, who missed the top eight two years ago in Rome, beat Romania 84; the United States of America which was fourth in Rome, rumbled North American cousin Canada 127-4 and Germany put paid to Japan’s hopes with a rousing 8-6 success in front of 150 screaming German youth camp swimmers.

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China takes it all at home!

Shanghai 2011 - Diving

credit: Giorgio ScalaChinese great Qiu Bo got the last gold on offer in Shanghai in the 10m platform. This medal completes the host federation’s complete sweep in all diving events for an overall, record-breaking tally of 10 gold.

Diving can be cruel and unpredictable. In the 3m springboard, five-time World Champion Qin Kai suffered so much in his last dive, a 4 ½ Forward Tuck (109C), that he finished fourth, despite a brilliant performance in the other five rounds.

In the 10m platform preliminaries, it was two-time World Champion Gleb Galperin from Russia who experienced some difficulty with the same dive. Galperin was worrying mostly about his Armstand Reverse (3.0 DD), a new diving combination that was included to his free programme at the beginning of the year. He got quite high marks for execution and assumed that the most important part of the work was done.

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