Dubai, Day 4: Belmonte Garcia (ESP), a Star is born

FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)

Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) - credit: gettyimagesThe 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) consecrated a new star in the women’s events, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia. Swimming in lane 8 of the 200m individual medley final, Belmonte Garcia got the gold in a new championships record of 2:05.73 and collected her fourth medal in the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex – after the victories in the 400m IM and 200m butterfly, and the silver in the 800m free. An amazing performance in the most demanding races of the programme, proving that the 20-year-old Catalonian (she was born and lives in Barcelona) world revelation has a bright future. At European level, the Spaniard had collected a gold medal in the 2008 long course championships also in the 200m IM, while in 25m-pool, her most brilliant moment had been the triumph in the 400m IM, also in 2008.

In Dubai, Belmonte Garcia is displaying an outstanding resistance and versatility, and for her latest achievement, she defeated China’s Shiwen Ye (14 years old and winner of the 200m and 400m IM at the Asian Games), and US Ariana Kukors, winner of the 100m IM on Day 3 (and of the 200m IM at the 2009 Worlds in Rome). Ye got the silver in 2:05.94, while Kukors was third in 2:06.09. The Hungarian team is definitively not shining in Dubai, with Katinka Hosszu and Evelin Verraszto (2010 short course European champion) in fourth and fifth position respectively.

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Dubai, Day 3: Lochte imperial sets WR in the 200m IM

FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)

Ryan Lochte (USA)- credit: gettyimagesRyan Lochte (USA) obtained his fourth medal at the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) – and 19th since 2004 -, with a superb new World Record in the men’s 200m individual medley and the highlight of the third day of the competition in Dubai. Touching first in 1:50.08, he improved the previous world best mark established by Darian Townsend (RSA) in November 2009, in a time of 1:51.55. Lochte, already with one WR in Dubai (in the 400m IM) and medals also in the 200m free (gold) and 4x200m free (silver) performed a solitary race, leaving Markus Rogan (AUT) with the silver in a time of 1:52.90 and Scott Clary (USA) with the bronze (1:53.56). Nothing seems to stop Lochte, also with a very successful career in 50m-pool: six Olympic and 13 world medals.

“I always get better after the first day, but I race for fun, so what comes as outcome I take it! These results just get me ready for the 2011 Worlds in Shanghai and the Olympics in 2012,” considered Lochte about his performances so far in Dubai. Asked about his personality, he confessed: “I am just being myself, and let my personality to come out (like with the story of the shoes…), in order to attract more people to swimming. My overall goal in swimming is just to make it bigger than it is now. I think Phelps started with all that and made the Sport bigger than what it was before. I just try to help in that effort”.

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Dubai, Day 2: Two more WR and tied match (3-3) between USA and Russia

FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)

Stanislav Donets (RUS) - credit: gettyimagesTwo World Records and a handful of Championships records on Day 2 definitively confirm the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Dubai as the premium event of the year in terms of world-class results. In a session with eight finals, USA and Russia shared the lead of the medal chart with three gold each, and also obtained one WR each: for the Americans, the first individual WR of the season (by the “insatiable” Ryan Lochte in the men’s 400m IM), and for the Europeans a new best time in the 4x200m free relay. Spain (and Belmonte Garcia) continues to impress, and South Africa got the first title in Dubai.   

Unstoppable Lochte
Lochte remains the man to beat in Dubai, and after the victory in the 200m free on Day 1, he established the first individual World Record of the year, with a superb 3:55.50 effort in the 400m individual medley. This performance improves the previous world best mark by a comfortable margin (Laszlo Cseh, from Hungary, had clocked 3:57.27 in December 2009). This was Lochte’s 17th medal in this competition, and his 10th victory at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), since his first participation in 2004, in Indianapolis (USA). Moreover, it was the third consecutive victory for Lochte in this event, after his 2006 and 2008 successes (he now equalled the three straight wins of Matthew Dunn, from Australia, in 1995, 1997 and 1999).

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Dubai, Day 1: China sets first WR of the year and Spain gets first gold ever

FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)

China - credit: gettyimagesAs FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione predicted in his opening Press Conference of the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships, memorable performances will highlight this competition in Dubai (UAE). After the first day of action in the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, the first World Record of the year was established in the women’s 4x200m free relay and no less than 12 Championships records were established.

Following the five finals on the programme, a variety of countries is also represented in the medal chart, with swimmers from 10 countries (153 nations, a new record, are represented in Dubai) getting at least one award. The gold medal count is led by Spain, with two victories in this first day (the championships are held until December 19).

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Soni looks forward to renewing her “very good” rivalry with Leisel Jones of Australia in Dubai

FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)

Rebecca Soni (USA) - credit: gettyimagesOlympic gold medallist Rebecca Soni of the United States of America (USA) is looking forward to renewing her “very good” rivalry with Australia’s Leisel Jones when the two go head-to-head at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Dubai next week. Soni won her gold medal in Beijing in 2008 when she edged out Jones in the 200m breaststroke final and she beat the Australian in the 100m and 200m events in this year’s Pan-Pacific Championships in Irvine, California in August.

But Jones turned the tables on Soni to win the 100m breaststroke final in Beijing and was also part of the 4x100m medley relay team that beat the USA, including Soni, to gold. That level of competition between the pair sets things up beautifully for another confrontation at the spectacular, new Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex on the Dubai Bypass Road when the Championships take place from 15 – 19 December.

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