Category Archives: Aquatic Sports

BLAKE PIERONI: “I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND OTHER SWIMMERS PARTICIPATE IN THE FINA SWC MEETS”

Currently fifth in the overall FINA Swimming World Cup 2018 ranking, Blake Pieroni of the USA is one of the swimmers, slowly but steadily, making his way up to the top of the Series.

Improving his times legs after legs, Pieroni, 22, is competing for the first time in the Swimming World Cup:

Admitting that he is having “more fun at this event than any other Series”, Pierioni keep his focus in mind:

“My goal is to keep improving on my times, I can’t control how other people swim, but I can control my attitude and my races. I’ve done my main races in yards hundreds of times but I’ve only done them in short-course a handful, so racing them more is a key for me.”

Despite long-course swimming being the norm in the USA where Pieroni grew-up, the Olympic gold medallist (4×100 freestyle relay, Rio 2016) admits he has in fact always been training in 25m-pool swimming pool.

“I’ve trained short course for most of my early swimming career, when I was in middle school and high school, we didn’t have a 50m pool so we trained in 25m all summer and I think it prepared me for meets such as the World Cup and the World Swimming Championships (25m)”

After completing the first two Clusters and four meets in total, Pieroni agrees that there are many attractive aspects to the 25m events.

“This is a more opinionated answer but for me, only racing 50m-pool gets a bit arduous and I get tired of it. I think racing short-course keeps things fresh and it’s just fun. What makes it fun and attractive is partially the use of underwater dolphin kicks.”

“Since the Olympics are long-course, people have always thought of the 25m event as not being as important, but for me I like them just as much, maybe even more!”

“I think that short-course prize money should be closed to the World Championships (50m) prize-money. It would help develop the popularity of these events and I would highly recommend other swimmers participate in the FINA Swimming World Cup meets!”, adds Pieroni.

Amongst the perks of the World Cup, Pieroni happily mentions: “Meeting new people who share the same passion that I have for the sport of swimming has been awesome and I get to visit cool new places.”

Both great freestylers, Pieroni considers Russia’s Vladimir Morozov, provisionally atop of the overall ranking, his biggest rival at the World Cup.

“I think it is pretty clear that Vladimir Morozov is the biggest overall opponent in the World Cup. We swim similar events and he is always near the World Records, which is extremely impressive. I think he is a great competitor, I look up to him and racing at all these meets makes both of us better.”

“This being the first time I have competed in a World Cup circuit, there were many swimmers that I did not know, but it was great to meet them and make friends with them. Now going to each meet is fun to catch up and see how they are doing.”

With the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) just around the corner, to be held in Hangzhou (CHN) from December 11-16, Pieroni confirmed his attendance and how he uses the Swimming World Cup meets to actually fine-tune his preparation.

“I will be taking part in the FINA World championships in Hangzhou in December and the World Cup circuit has been the majority of my preparation for the meet.”

“In my opinion, doing the race is the best practice a person can get, it’s the most specific and I feel that you learn the most.”

The FINA Swimming World Cup 2018 resumes on November 2-4 in Beijing, China, for the fifth leg of the season. The circuit will then move to Tokyo (JPN, Nov 8-10) and Singapore (SGP, Nov 15-17). Beijing Entry List

You can watch all meets LIVE on FINAtv and daily race reports are available on FINA website during competition.

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SWIMMING WORLD CUP RESUMES IN EINDHOVEN

On the eve of the start of the FINA Swimming World Cup’s second Cluster, in Eindhoven (NED), Cluster #1 winners Chupkov (RUS) and Sjostrom (SWE) warm up for more action.

After Kazan and Doha, the Swedish star and the Russian ace are the provisional leaders of the 2018 ranking, with respectively 120 and 90 points.

They were the first beneficiaries of the US$ 50,000 prize money distributed to the best of each Cluster which concluded in Doha on September 15 as 5 new World Cup records highlighted the three-day event (against 7 World Cup Records in Kazan).

2017 Series overall winner Sjostrom has won 10 races so far, while Chupkov was the fasted in 3 races.

In the women’s competition, Olympic and World champions Katinka Hosszu (HUN) and Yulia Efimova (RUS) have kicked started the 2018 circuit with top performances in the two inaugural legs allowing them to secure the second (90) and third (78) ranking positions, while USA’s most promising young swimmer Michael Andrew won the 100m fly races as well as the 50 back in Doha. He is naturally second (87) in the ranking and last year overall runner up Vladimir Morozov of Russia is provisionally third (84).

With two days to go to Eindhoven (Friday September 28 to Sunday September 30), nearly 185 athletes are registered. Amongst them big names such as Mitch Larkin (AUS), Pieter Timmers (BEL), Yuliya Efimova (RUS), Laszlo Cseh (HUN), Felipe Lima (BRA), Katinka Hosszu (HUN), Emily Seebhom (AUS), Chad Le Clos (RSA), Blake Pieroni (USA), Alia Atkinson (JAM), Mehdy Metella (FRA), Anton Chupkov (RUS), Daiya Seto (JPN), David Verraszto (HUN), Sarah Sjostrom (SWE).

Ranomi Kromowidjojo leads the 48-strong home delegation.

FINA

2018 FINA Men’s Water Polo World Cup: Host Germany Defeat World Silver Medallist Hungary

Group B

Victory for Serbia

Serbia opened the FINA Men’s Water Polo World Cup in Berlin with a goal festival. In the first match of Group B, the Olympic Champion outclassed the World Championships 16th South Africa 21:3 (4:1, 5:0, 7:0, 5:2). After just 47 seconds, Gavril Subotic scored for the first time. With six goals, the 22-year-old was also named the most successful shooter of the opening match, which was decided after the first quarter and peppered by hits in the minute.

For Serbia, four goals were scored by Nemanja Vico, while captain Dusan Mandic and Ognjen Stojanovic scored three times, Mateja Asanovic and Strahinja Rasovic scored twice while Dorde Lazic scored once. For outsider South Africa, Mark Spencer scored twice and Donn Stewart once.

Croatia prevails against the USA

In the second match of Group B, World Champion Croatia defeated the tenth of the Olympic Games USA with 15:10 (3:2, 4:2, 3:3, 5:3), but they had some difficulties. After a well-balanced first quarter, the Croatians had the lead with three goals however, lost their competitive advantage during the middle of the third quarter as the US-team caught up to a close 6:7.

With several goals within only a minute and a half, the favourite increased their lead and pulled away just before the last break and was unbeatable from there on. Top-scorer of the Croatian team was Ante Vukicevic with four goals, for the United States Alex Bowen scored three times.

Group A

Japan was defeated by Australia

In the first match of Group A, the seventh of the World Championships Australia did not waste any time against the tenth of the World Championships Japan and won confidently with 14:6 (3:0, 5:0, 5:5, 3:1). The Australians survived the first two quarters even with a clean sheet and led to the half of the game already with a sovereign 8:0. Captain Aaron Younger impressed with a remarkable strike-rate of 100% by scoring four out of four chances. On the other hand, Atsushi Arai was the most successful shooter with three goals for Japan.

Germany defeats runner-up to the World Champion Hungary

What a kick-off to the host: Facing the second place of the World Championships Hungary, the team of national coach Hagen Stamm managed the big surprise of the day. With the 12:10 success (1:2, 3:4, 4:2, 4:2), the German team turned up the heat at the Europasportpark (SSE) in Berlin and their spectators were chanting with them. They managed to finish the game in victory after lagging behind 4:6 after the first two quarters.

“There are 100 days of hard work behind us, including the European Championship and now the next tournament,” said German national coach Hagen Stamm. “The boys are just worth it and really deserve it today. The effort payed off and the audience was really terrific today. ”

At the beginning of the third quarter, the Hungarians even moved ahead to 7:4, but then the Germans turned the tables and started with a 8:8 tie in the last break. At the score of 9:9, the German team turned their power up even more with scores from Ben Reibel, Julian Real and again Reibel to 12:9 – the victory was clear.

Best scorers from the German point of view were Ben Reibel and Julian Real with three goals each, for Hungary Bence Batori also scored three times.

BIG SWIMMING NAMES READY FOR POOL ACTION AT SWC’S INAUGURAL LEG

With less than 10 days to go to the inaugural leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup 2018, many swimming legends have shown interested in one of the most important events of the discipline.

With room for more entries, Russia’s Kirill Prigoda has confirmed his attendance to all seven stops of the World Cup, while Olympic bronze medallist and current World Record holder Vladimir Morozov and Olympic silver and bronze medallist as well as World champion Yuliya Efimova are amongst the other home nation athletes registered for Kazan.

While last year’s overall Series winners Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) and Chad Le Clos (RSA) are ready to make the headlines again, the famous Iron Lady of Hungary, Katinka Hosszu, who is a veteran of the World Cup is also set to take the plunge at the Kazan Aquatics Palace from September 7-9. Compatriot Zsuzsanna Jakabos and David Verraszto will also be there.

China will be represented by, but not only, Yifan Yang, Yuhang Wu and Zhiaho Zhang.

The U.S. delegation will be led by short-course World champion Michael Andrew.

Australia’s accomplished talent Mitch Larkin also confirmed attendance, as did Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Jesse Puts of the Netherlands.

CREDIT: FINA

Kazan hosts are organising a Speedo Swim Clinic & autograph session on September 4 as well as a formal World Cup presentation at the Kremlin on September 5. A press conference will be hosted on September 6 at the venue before the Opening Ceremony kick-off the event on Friday September 7.

In addition, the organisers have focused on a out-of-competition programme open to kids and amateur swimmers with two dedicated challenges on Saturday September 8.

The World Cup meets will count towards qualifying for the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2018 to take place from December 11-16 in Hangzhou, China.

SWEDISH SWIMMING SUPERSTAR SARAH SJOSTROM TO HIGHLIGHT SWC INAUGURAL MEET

Multiple Olympic and World champion but also last year’s Series overall winner Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden who just completed an impressive European championships is gearing up to the highly anticipated FINA Swimming World Cup to start in just 22 days.

Sjostrom, 24, doesn’t need to be introduced anymore. She counts 1 Olympic gold medal, 10 World titles and holds another 6 World Records. She will – with no doubt – be one of the biggest stars to highlight the pool action over the next few months throughout the circuit of the World Cup (calendar 2018).

Despite anticipating the new Series with so much success and prowess in her bag, Sjostrom admits that equalling 2017 is going to be tough:

“I was in the best shape of my life during 2017.”

“My main goal is obviously to always get better every year. This year was all about improving my training again, to build a good base for next year (2019) and 2020.”

A big fan of both the 25 and 50m pool format and understandably the Eindhoven (NED) venue*, Sjostrom says:

“I like the short and long course mix. I really liked the World Cup in Eindhoven last year. The Dutch people just know how to organise swimming meets.”

*Sjostrom bagged her first European championships title in Eindhoven 10 years ago when she was 14, so Eindhoven holds a special place in her heart.

“Eindhoven Organising Committee provided a good hotel, lovely food, easy access to the pool, a lots of space for warm up / warm down etc.”

Sjostrom, who once received the precious advice to “Remember that winning and failure is a part of being an athlete. You have to learn to handle them both”, shared detailed about her current training regime.

“At the moment I share my training time between two locations: I am training 50% in Stockholm with the national elite centre with my coach Johan Wallberg and 50 % in Belek, Turkey.”

“My training includes 10 swim sessions and 2 gym + 2 core /circuit / Pilates per week. I sometimes swim 14km (2x7km sessions) and the next day it can be just 5 km and gym in the afternoon. But I would say an average of 10km a day (two 5km sessions).”

Being an elite athlete isn’t always easy and training can be particularly challenging.

Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden is gearing up to the highly anticipated FINA Swimming World Cup
photo credit: FINA

“The most difficult part for me is to get in the freezing water in the morning, I hate it! I dislike hot water too! Also, when I feel low in the water, it doesn’t even matter if I try to use my legs or arms more, I just sink more. These are the worst kind of sessions.”

With 22 days to go to the start of the FINA Swimming World Cup, Kazan, Russia is finalising preparations to host the inaugural leg from September 7-9. Live Streaming available on FINAtv. A press conference during which the Trophies will be revealed will take place on September 6.

The Series will be held in 50m format pool at the Kazan Aquatics Palace, a five-year old state-of-the-art facility on the banks of the Kazanka River built in 2013 on the occasion of the Summer Universiade and then used for the diving and water polo competitions of the FINA World Championships in 2015.

There will be a total of 32 individual events and 2 relays as below:

CHAMPIONS LE CLOS AND SETO LOOK FORWARD TO RACING AT SWC 2018

One of the biggest annual swimming competition is around the corner, and it is time to start previewing the event and the medal contenders.

FINA managed to steal a little bit of time of two of the best swimmers of the FINA Swimming World Cup, the current Title holder South Africa’s Chad Le Clos and SWC 2017 6th place Daiya Seto of Japan.

The Swimming World Cup 2018 promises to be once again a fierce battle between the sport’s biggest names.

“No pressure at all, the World Cups are always a good time, of course I always want to win any competition I race in but I feel the World Cups are always special for me,” says a very confident and relaxed Le Clos, who currently trains in Antalya in Turkey for about 30 hours per week.

Discussing the format of the Series, Le Clos adds:

“For me personally, I think short course swimming is more exciting when it is over a series of events. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of a circuit with many stops around the world, although sometimes the structure around the events makes it difficult to train in between, especially when travelling through time zones.”

Seto is also looking forward to facing his opponents:

“The World Cup is fun. I’m looking forward to the race with the rivals. I think that it will be good exercise.”

World Cup’s favourite Le Clos admits having many favourites hosts:

“I have many but my all-time favourites are Doha, Eindhoven and Singapore because they combine great swimming facilities with an exciting atmosphere.”

“The World Cup is an opportunity for me to work on my skills throughout the year with short course racing and I challenge myself to win the overall series. There are many great champions that have come through and will challenge, and I have huge respect for all of them.”

photo credit: FINA

For Seto, who currently swims about 10km every day in preparation, it is the adrenaline of racing the Butterfly King that is the most exciting:

“Chad le Clos of South Africa is the one I am particularly looking forward to swimming next to because he is tough.”

Positive thinking and winning attitude is definitely two ways to describe Seto and Le Clos although the latter confess the best advice he ever received was from his father, Bert Le Clos, whom we know well from his energy in the stands.

“I have received a lot of great advice from numerous mentors but the best advice has usually come from my Dad, he is the greatest. He has always said to me to never give up in any race no matter how far behind or ahead you are, that’s why I’m always able to push through during tough wins or losses.”

Both athletes have confirmed they will attend the FINA World Swimming Championships 2018 in Hangzhou, China, in December this year with the objective to establish new World Records.

FINA

FINA INAUGURATES LAUSANNE HEADQUARTERS ON 110TH ANNIVERSARY

The FINA Family gathered today in Lausanne (SUI) for the celebration of FINA’s 110th anniversary and the official inauguration of the new FINA Headquarters. Many IOC members and other distinguished sport dignitaries were also present in the ceremony, where a symbolic ribbon was cut by FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione, IOC President Thomas Bach, ANOC President Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.

Addressing all the guests present in Lausanne, Dr Maglione was naturally a happy man: “Our 110-year history is made of many achievements and sport Stars. It was built on unforgettable competitions and exciting moments. It was dictated by the challenges of our world and the opportunities it may offer. It was shaped with the essential support of our members. FINA was founded by eight national members in 1908. 110 years later, our International Federation has 209 partners in the five continents. We have a solid past behind us, brilliantly conducted by many generations of great leaders”.

FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione

On the new Headquarters in Lausanne, the FINA President declared: “For the first time, FINA owns its Headquarters. This inauguration in the Olympic Capital is also a testimony of our growth and sustainability. We are a leading International Federation in a very competitive sport environment and we surely constitute one of the pillars of the Olympic Movement”.

In his speech, IOC President Thomas Bach congratulated FINA for this double celebration: “It is definitively a great day for Aquatics, but also for the entire Olympic Movement. You have a 110-year-history of success. You had great and outstanding athletes, strengthening the role of Sport in society. This house is simultaneously a symbol of tradition and a commitment to the future”.

After concluding his tribute to FINA, Mr Bach presented to the FINA President a special IOC President Trophy. “The title of this piece is ‘The sky is the limit’. I believe it fits FINA quite well”, considered the IOC President.

Sheikh Al-Sabah was the third speaker at the ceremony. “Without offending any other International Federation, I can say that FINA has an unparalleled level of popularity. You may start your programme at the Olympics at any time – morning, afternoon or evening – and your levels of audience are always outstanding!” considered the ANOC President. “FINA’s work on Development issues is also outstanding. You are truly helping athletes all over the world”.

A second ceremony took place a couple of hours later, gathering specifically the FINA National Federations that wanted to be associated with this celebration.

“You are doing a superb work in each of your countries. Your devotion and commitment to Aquatics has produced great stars, and is constantly inspiring the youth to our disciplines. There are more nations winning medals at the highest level, there are more athletes from more countries getting their selection to the Olympic Games. Our Sport keeps growing in a more harmonious way”, stated FINA President Dr Maglione.

A second cut-of-the-ribbon was then performed by Dr Maglione, FINA First Vice-President Husain Al Musallam and FINA Second Vice-President Sam Ramsamy.