Wednesday, 13 October 2010

FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup - Beijing

The two days of swimming at the FINA/ARENA World Cup in Beijing have produced some outstanding times.

Some of the highlights below:-

Thiago Pereira - 200m IM - 1:54.21 - 932 Points. Pereira took another maximum 25 points from Beijing to match his 25 from Rio. With a full 50 points from the first two legs and due to compete at all the remaining legs of the World Cup, the competition for this year's World Cup prize for top male point scorer might just be over. One possible cause for concern is the difference in time (1.49 seconds) from his win in Rio (1:52.72) and Beijing (1:54.21).

Darian Townsend - 200m IM - 1:54.26 - 931 Points. Pereira only just held on to win the 200m IM from Townsend. At 150m Pereira was 1.44 seconds up on Townsend but only finished 0.05 seconds ahead of the South African. The two are due to go head to head again in Singapore this weekend and if Townsend can get even closer at the 150m we might see these positions reversed.

Gao Chang - 26.00 - 50m Back - 966 Points. The top scoring swim of the meet came from Gao in the 50m Back. It becomes the 5th fastest all time performance over 50m Back and is just 0.3 seconds shy of Sanja Jovanovic' World Record of 25.70. The Chinese Backstroker is putting together a strong 2010, she's now ranked No.1 in the world for LC and SC 50m Back and is 6th in the world in the LC 100m Back rankings with the Asian Games still to come this year.

Liu Jing - 400m Free - 4:00.55 - 931 Points. Liu Jing took the maximum available 25 points with victory in the women's 400m Free. She becomes the 16th fastest all-time performer in the event. Still a long way behind Laure Manaudou's textile best time of 3:56.09 though. (Manaudou's time from 2007 is one of the most impressive short course swims ever, despite being set before the suit era, it remains the third fastest swim ever).

Therese Alshammar - 56.80 - 100m Fly - 910 Points. Alshammar suddenly looks a little vulnerable in the race for the women's top points scorer. Despite winning the 100m Fly in an excellent time of 56.80, Alshammar was only able to pick up 5 points. Fortunately for the Swedish sprint star, not one of the Chinese women who finished ahead of Alshammar in the points in Beijing will be competing at the next stop in Singapore. Hinkelein Schreuder is the only other woman to have scored points from the first two World Cup legs and she sits 17 points back of Alshammar.

Ye Shiwen - 400m IM - 4:28.67 - 917 Points/53.66 - 100m Free - 859 Points. 14 year old Ye Shiwen continued to impress in 2010 with a particularly impressive 400m IM swim. Trailing World Record holder Julia Smit for most of the race, Ye put in a devastating freestyle split of 58.97. Smit led by 2.08 seconds at 300m but could only manage a freestyle leg of 1:01.30 to take second in 4:28.92.

Ye Shiwen's time is all the more impressive as it came on the same evening as her victory in the 100m Free in a time of 53.66. Clearly a special talent.

Ye Shiwen's swims will come under scrutiny. Some people will doubt her times and suspect that to acheive so much at such a young age, she must be doped... strange that Yolane Kukla, just turned 15, Yannick Agnel, Vlad Morozov, Bence Biczo etc don't receive the same scepticism. I suspect this will come to the fore when the Asian Games are upon us, where I predict China will set a number of world leading times... Remember - All athletes should be innocent until proven guilty.

Full Results - Here
Men's Overall Points Leaderboard - Here
Women's Overall Points Leaderboard - Here

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