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PR2 - 231 participants from 74 countries discover the secrets behind success

231 delegates from 74 nations had a unique opportunity to gather for the first edition of the FINA World Swimming Coaches Conference, held in Singapore (SIN) from January 15-17, 2009. During three days of discussion many successful coaches shared their experiences with an audience interested in learning the latest trends in swimming training. The mentors of 2008 Olympic gold medal winners Kosuke Kitajima (JPN), Stephanie Rice (AUS) and Leisel Jones (AUS) explained how much work and preparation their athletes face on a daily basis for achieving optimal performances.Other examples of training programmes were presented, such as the case of Tao Li (SIN), the team of Canada, the development of swimming schools in Malaysia or in the importance of early planning for success. “This conference demonstrates our desire to involve the Swimming coaches as key players of our sport. We need their support so we can have the best swimmers represented as often as possible in FINA events. We need to be visible all year long, year by year and not only every four years during Olympic Games. Together we need to ‘think big’”, said FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui in his opening speech.Besides the coaching presentations, the participants were briefed about upcoming FINA challenges: the FINA Strategic Plan 2009-2013, the opportunities created by the TV coverage of FINA events, the organisation of the FINA World Championships in 2009 in Rome and the 1st Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore, and last but not least, an update on the new FINA Doping Control Rules enforced since January 1, 2009.Another key moment of this conference was the much-awaited and appreciated debate between Mark Schubert, Head Coach of USA, and Alan Thompson, his counterpart for Australia, about the programmes of the two swimming powerhouses on the planet.Given the enthusiasm generated during these three days, the first edition of this Conference will certainly not be the last one!

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19Jan2009

PR1 - Coaches of the world unite to learn from leaders in their field

The 1st FINA World Swimming Coaches Conference – the first major swimming event of 2009 - is set to be held from January 15-17, 2009 in Singapore, welcoming approximately 230 coaches and representatives from 90 nations. By providing an educational and interactive forum for the world’s coaches, the event hopes to maintain the momentum of popularity the sport has experienced following the resounding success of swimming at the Beijing Olympic Games, and leading to the 13th FINA World Championships this summer in Rome (ITA).Participants of the Conference have the opportunity to attend presentations from renowned swimming coaches such as: Norimasa Hirai, the coach of Kosuke Kitajima; Michael Bohl, the coach of Stephanie Rice; Rohan Taylor, the coach of Leisel Jones; Pierre Lafontaine, the National Coach of Canada; and Bill Sweetenham, former National head coach of Australia and Great Britain. There will also be an open interview with Mark Schubert (Head Coach USA) and Alan Thompson (Head Coach Australia), and specific presentations on subjects ranging from building the base of a strong team, elite training and competition preparation, updated doping control rules, and broadcast and Olympic-related topics. The Programme has been designed so the Conference will assist in the future success of every coach in attendance, regardless of the size and standing of their team. FINA leaders are also using this opportunity to impart advance information on the World Swimming Calendar 2009-2013, the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships of Rome 2009, the FINA Strategic Plan 2009-2013. Overall, the Conference offers a unique international networking platform where the world’s best coaches can share their expertise with counterparts from many FINA National Federations, and therefore make a positive impact on the global development of competitive swimming.

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15Jan2009

PR85 - FINA Information on the update of the swimwear approval procedures

As previously announced, FINA is in the process of reviewing the procedures for swimwear approval, namely in the areas of the swimsuits’ material, thickness, use, shape and availability. For that, FINA has scheduled a meeting in Lausanne on February 20, 2009 inviting the swimwear manufacturers and the representatives of the FINA Technical Swimming Committee as well as FINA Athletes, Coaches and Legal Commissions. On this occasion, an objective analysis of the issues which have recently been raised will be made and eventual solutions for the future will be studied.To support the development and possible implementation of these solutions, FINA will rely on independent experts of high reputation.After the outcome of the above mentioned meeting and if any scientific reports are available, FINA will then bring these conclusions to its Bureau meeting, to be held from March 12-14, 2009 in Dubai (UAE), in order to take appropriate action on this matter.FINA underlines that the issue of swimwear approval is a complex one and needs to be considered in a careful manner. That is why FINA is looking for the collaboration of all the partners in this area, so that final decisions can be globally accepted and fully understandable by the Swimming worldwide community.

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22Dec2008

PR84 - Gemma Mengual (ESP) and her teammates win at home

Spain won the 3rd FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy that took place in Madrid (ESP) from December 5-7, 2008. At home, Gemma Mengual and her teammates dominated the operations by triumphing in the four events of the competition – Duet Free, Duet Thematic, Team Free and Free Combination. Russia had won the previous two editions of the World Trophy, held in 2006 in Moscow (RUS) and 2007 in Rio de Janeiro (BRA).

Behind Spain, whose swimmers had been silver medallists in the Duet and Team event at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (CHN), the team of China confirmed its recent evolution, concluding in the second position of the overall ranking – this classification is made by totalling the scores of the four events of the Trophy. The Asian squad was also second in every session of the competition, concluding with a final score of 390.666. It was China’s first participation in the World Trophy.In a process of renovation, both Russia and Japan presented very young squads. Despite the lack of international experience, those competitors proved that they will be capable of fighting for the top-positions in the next major rendezvous. The Russians, without their stars Anastasia Ermakova/Anastasia Davydova (Olympic and World champions), who decided to make a break in 2009, finished third of the overall ranking, while Japan (also without their duet Emiko Suzuki/Saho Harada, definitively retired) concluded in the fourth position. The Japanese had been third in 2006 and also fourth in 2007. Canada and Italy were fifth and sixth respectively, while the two last places of the ranking were occupied by Great Britain (seventh), building-up a team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and Egypt (eighth), whose swimmers are taking this competition (since is first edition) as an additional occasion to gain international experience. The 3rd FINA World Trophy was marked by the introduction of a new event – Duet Thematic – with specific rules allowing the athletes to use or wear additional accessories. This idea added a spectacular dimension to the event, as for the first time in a FINA competition it was possible to see synchronised swimmers with both legs covered or swimmers wearing shoes in the water!The final ranking (and prize money) of the 3rd FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy 2008, a competition attended by FINA Honorary Treasurer Dr. Julio Maglione, was as follows:1st place – Spain 396.666 (US$ 50,000)2nd place – China 390.666 (US$ 30,000)3rd place – Russia 386.001 (US$ 20,000)4th place – Japan 381.667 (US$ 15,000)5th place – Canada 380.668 (US$ 12,500)6th place – Italy 377.999 (US$ 10,000)7th place – Great Britain 355.333 (US$ 9,000)8th place – Egypt 329.667 (US$ 8,000)

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07Dec2008

PR83 - Seven potential bidders in Lausanne for information meeting

The seven Cities/National Federations who expressed their interest in organising the 15th FINA World Championships were welcomed by FINA in Lausanne (SUI) on December 4, 2008 for the first information meeting concerning the organisation of these Championships. The seven Cities/National Federations are: Belgrade (SRB), Budapest & Belatonfüred (HUN), Dubai (UAE), Hamburg (GER), Hong Kong, China (HKG), Madrid (ESP) and Moscow (RUS). In Lausanne, items such as Venues, Budget, TV Production, Accommodation, Transportation, Commercial Programmes or Participation were discussed in this meeting. In accordance with the published Milestones for the organisation of these Championships (comprising the five FINA aquatic disciplines: swimming, water polo, diving, synchronised swimming and open water swimming), the deadline for the presentation of a formal final bid is March 2, 2009. Finally, the decision on the organiser for this competition will be taken by the FINA Bureau on July 18, 2009 on the occasion of the 13th FINA World Championships in Rome (ITA).

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04Dec2008

PR82 - The best of the world in Madrid (ESP)

The 3rd FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy, which will be held from December 5-7, 2008 in Madrid (ESP) at the facility “Centro de Natacion M-86 C” welcomes the best synchronised swimmers in the world, who will compete with superb presentations in duet (December 5), team (December 6) and free combination (December 7) for the enjoyment of all those watching the event. Following a decision of the Technical Synchronised Swimming Committee, a new competition session truly unique to this year’s Trophy has been added to the Programme on Day 1 following the Duet Free event. A Thematic Duet, which will be performed to music reflecting the culture of the Host Country with a duration of 2 minutes plus/minus 15 seconds, will be presented. Exceptionally, the use of accessories in costuming will be allowed for this duet, as it has been specifically included to increase the beauty and creative appeal of the event for the benefit of the audience. Teams from Canada, China, Egypt, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and Russia will take part in the 2008 World Trophy. In this group, we find all the medallists of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (CHN). Russia, winner of the World Trophy in the first two editions (2006 in Moscow and 2007 in Rio de Janeiro) and Olympic champion in duet and team, is naturally the team ‘to beat’ in the Spanish capital, but taking into account that the competition does not reward for technical merit (in which the Russians are clearly above the rest of the field), this circumstance renders the final outcome more difficult to predict. Furthermore, and according to the latest entry list received from Russia, the stars Anastasia Ermakova/Anastasia Davydova (Olympic, World and European champions) will not swim in Madrid. In Rio, in 2007, Spain was very close to securing the final victory (in fact, the overall ranking of the Trophy is done by adding the notes in each of the events), having won the team event. In the end, Russia triumphed with 296.333 against Spain’s 295.000. At home, Gemma Mengual and her teammates will certainly look for first place on the podium, after a quite successful Olympic Games, where they took the first medals ever for their country in this discipline – two silver. Besides this European duel, the other two medalled teams in Beijing – Japan and China – will also try to display their best performances in Madrid. At the Olympics, Japan took the bronze in the duet, while China was third in the team. The FINA World Trophy, streamed live on the FINA website www.fina.org, will distribute US$ 154,500 in prize money, distributed as follows: 1st place – US$ 50,000; 2nd place – US$ 30,000; 3rd place – US$ 20,000; 4th place – US$ 15,000 ; 5th place – US$ 12,500 ; 6th place – US$ 10,000; 7th place – US$ 9,000; 8th place – US$ 8,000.

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04Dec2008

PR81 - Van der Burgh (RSA) and Guehrer (AUS) overall winners

Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) confirmed the successful tradition of his country in the recent history of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup, by becoming the new overall winner of this year’s competition in the men’s category. After the seventh and last meet of the series in Berlin (GER), Van der Burgh concluded with a total of 192 points and will take home the US$ 100,000 prize money allocated for the winner of the series. Peter Marshall (USA), third before Berlin, was the second best performer (40 points) in the German capital, and still got a bonus (20 points) for his WR in the 100m backstroke. He finished then in the second overall position, with 133 points and US$ 50,000 of prize money. Randall Bal (USA), 2007 winner and fifth before the last meet, also benefited from his WR bonus (in the 50m backstroke) and managed to climb to the third overall place, with 129 (prize money of US$ 30,000). In the women’s ranking, Marieke Gueher (AUS) was also rewarded for her regularity (she attended all the seven meets of the series) and got the first place with 199 points. Before Berlin, she was closely followed by Therese Alshammar (SWE), who needed to be the best performer with a World Record in this last meet to beat Guehrer. In the 50m butterfly, event in which Alshammar had set a new World Record (25.31) in Stockholm, it was the Australian who established a new WR in 24.99 (best women’s performance in Berlin), ending with Alshammar’s hopes for the overall victory (she finished second, with 137 points). The third placed swimmer of the overall classification was South African Katheryn Meaklim, with 78 points. A total of 12 World Records were established in this edition of the World Cup, the best outcome since the 2001/2002 edition – where a maximum number of 22 WR were set. In the last five editions, the distribution of World Records was as follows: 2002/2003 – 7 WR; 2003/2004 – 4 WR; 2004/2005 – 5 WR; 2005/2006 – 2 WR; 2007 – 5 WR. Berlin closed the circuit In the seventh and last meet of the series in Berlin (GER), on November 15-16, Peter Marshall (USA) improved on Day 1 his own World Record in the 100m backstroke, clocking 49.63 – in Stockholm (the previous leg of the circuit) he had established the best world mark in 49.94. The second day of the last meet of the series (a competition attended by FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui) was highlighted by the World Record of local star Paul Biedermann in the men’s 200m free. The German swimmer clocked 1:40.83 and erased the previous best world mark (1:41.10) obtained by Australian legend Ian Thorpe in 2000 in the same pool. The 11th World Record of this World Cup was established by the 2007 winner Randall Bal (USA) in the men’s 50m backstroke, in a time of 22.87 (he became the first swimmer to perform under the 23 seconds in this event). The previous WR holder, his compatriot Peter Marshall (23.05 in Stockholm, the previous leg of the circuit) was second in 22.90 (under the former best world mark), while the bronze went to Robert Hurley (AUS, 23.50), who also set a WR in this event at this World Cup (in Sydney, he won in 23.24). In the women’s 50m butterfly, Guehrer appeared really motivated to be the first of the overall ranking, and finished her brilliant participation in the 2008 World Cup with a new World Record in the event – 24.99, faster than the previous world best mark set by Alshammar in Stockholm (25.31). Four World Cup records were also set in this last meet of the circuit: in the men’s 100m butterfly, Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS) was first in 49.74 (faster than the 50.10 established by German Thomas Rupprath in 2002); in the men’s 200m individual medley, Oussama Mellouli (TUN) got his 28th gold (and 35th medal) of the series with a winning time of 1:52.41 (the previous World Cup record was obtained by Thiago Pereira, of Brazil, in 2007, with a time of 1:53.14); in the women’s 400m free, Coralie Balmy (FRA) clocked the second best time ever in the event, touching first in 3:56.24 – Lindsay Benko (USA) was the former owner of this World Cup record (3:59.53) since 2003, while Laure Manaudou, also from France, has set the World Record in 3:56.09 in December 2006; finally, Singaporean star Li Tao in the women’s 100m butterfly clocked 56.28 - the previous best mark of the competition was held by Natalie Coughlin (USA), who swam 56.34 in 2002, in New York.

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17Nov2008

PR80 - Four WR highlight sixth meet in Stockholm (SWE)

The sixth meet of the 2008 FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup, held in Stockholm (SWE) on November 11-12, was the most successful so far in terms of performances. Four World Records and one World Cup record were established during the two-day competition in the Swedish capital. Among the new World Record holders there was Peter Marshall (USA) in the men’s 50m backstroke (23.05) and 100m backstroke (49.94), Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) in the men’s 50m breaststroke (25.94) and Therese Alshammar (SWE) in the women’s 50m butterfly (25.31). With these results, eight World Records - four in Stockholm, two in Sydney and two in Moscow - were set so far in this edition of the World Cup. Moreover, Katheryn Meaklim (RSA) set a new World Cup record in the women’s 400m individual medley – 4:27.21. Before the last leg of the 2008 World Cup in Berlin on November 15-16 – in the German meet, points will be doubled -, the leaders of the overall ranking are, among men, Cameron van der Burgh with 160 points, followed by Robert Hurley (AUS) with 83 and Peter Marshall with 73. Burgh’s advantage seems comfortable to assure the overall win of the series and the only hypothetical way for Hurley to still get the US$ 100,000 for the first place is to obtain the best performance in Berlin and establish two World Records – hoping also than Burgh will not score. In the women’s field, the fight is more open, with Marieke Guehrer (AUS) leading with 129 points and Therese Alshammar in second with 105. With this difference, everything is still possible in Berlin for these two swimmers. In the third spot, Katheryn Meaklim (58 points) seems in a more difficult position to get the overall triumph.

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13Nov2008

PR79 - Van der Burgh (RSA) sets two WR in Moscow (RUS)

Cameron van der Burgh, from South Africa, established two new World Records in the fifth leg of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup 2008, held in Moscow (RUS) on November 8-9. In the men’s 50m breaststroke, Van der Burgh clocked 26.08, bettering the former WR set in January 2006 by Ukrainian Oleg Lisogor (26.17), while in the 100m breaststroke the South African touched in 56.88, improving the best world mark (57.47) obtained by Ed Moses (USA) in January 2002. With his 50m breaststroke performance, Van der Burgh established the best male performance of the meet (1056 points) and managed to climb to the lead of the World Cup overall ranking (115 points). Also in the men’s field, Oussama Mellouli (TUN), the 1500m free Olympic champion in Beijing, obtained four more victories in this World Cup – in the 400m and 1500m free, as well as in the 200m and 400m individual medley. He has now a total of 22 wins in the five legs of the competition. Robert Hurley and Matt Jaukovic, both from Australia, got two triumphs in Moscow and complete the top-3 of the male’s overall ranking (Hurley is second with 76 points and Jaukovic is third with 70). Among women, the local star Valentina Artemyeva was the ‘most valuable swimmer’, establishing a new World Cup record in the 50m breaststroke – the Russian clocked 29.86, faster than the time (30.03) set by Australian Leisel Jones in November 2007. With this result, Artemyeva also got the best female performance of the meet (1021 points). In the overall ranking, Australian Marieke Guehrer continues to lead (116 points), after being the third best performer in Moscow. She is followed by Therese Alshammar (SWE, 2007 winner), who was the second best in the Russian capital and now has 65 points. In third, remains Katheryn Meaklim (RSA), with 42 points.

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10Nov2008

PR78 - World Cup reaches European soil; action continues in Moscow

The FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup 2008 has reached Europe, where three final stages take place until mid-November starting with a Moscow stop this weekend. The ‘Olympiisky’ Swimming Pool will welcome, in the spirit of the World Cup, a combination of international stars and top swimmers from the region and host nation. Headliners include Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli (TUN), who continues his arduous but very successful World Cup marathon that has already generated 18 victories. The top two ranked women will also be in Moscow, namely Marieke Guehrer (AUS), who holds a vast lead of 100 points, and Therese Alshammar (SWE) in second with 45 points. The men’s rankings are much tighter, and all three leaders will be present in Moscow to continue aiming for the US$100,000 prize accompanying overall victory. As of now it’s an all-Australia affair, with Christian Sprenger leading (60 points), Robert Hurley hovering in second (56 points), and Matt Jaukovic in third (52 points). It remains to be seen whether Sprenger can retain his lead while being trailed by some of Australia’s next generation of greats, especially considering double points will be awarded at the final stop in Berlin. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), also swimming in Moscow, is 4th ranked with 50 points, still a relatively negligible difference. Other guests of honour in Moscow include the 4th ranked woman Melissa Ingram (NZL), Asian and Southeast Asian Games star Tao Li (SIN), who took 5th in Beijing for the 100m butterfly, as well as Olympian Igor Borysik (UKR), dual breaststroke medallist at the 2008 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Manchester. Olympian Ryosuke Irie (JPN), a national backstroke record-holder, will swim, as will Stefan Nystrand (SWE) and Darian Townsend (RSA). Australian Olympians Sophie Edington, Ashley Delaney, Nicholas Ffrost, Sally Foster and Alice Mills are on the bill, as are Kristel Kobrich (CHI), Fabiola Molina (BRA) and many more. Fans can access coverage of the finals via free LIVE streaming on the FINA website, and witness some of the best test their endurance for glory and lucrative prize money. Competition dates: Belo Horizonte (BRA): October 10-12, 2008 Durban (RSA): October 17-18, 2008 Sydney (AUS): October 25-26, 2008 Singapore (SIN): November 1-2, 2008 Moscow (RUS): November 8-9, 2008 Stockholm (SWE):  November 11-12, 2008 Berlin (GER): November 15-16, 2008

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06Nov2008

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