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SWC 2011, Tokyo day 2: Alshammar and Le Clos eclipse rivals for World Cup success

TOKYO, Japan - Swedish superstar Therese Alshammar won the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup crown for an incredible fourth time in Tokyo tonight. The 34-year-old veteran had a relatively quiet time for her in Tokyo but a gold medal in the final event — the 50m Butterfly — reaffirmed her status as the Queen of the World Cup pool. It was her sixth straight victory after missing the opening Dubai round. She was joined on the victory dais by South African revelation, 19-year-old Chad Le Clos, whose 22 World Cup victories led to a commanding win in the men’s section on the second day of the seventh and final FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup meet at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre.Alshammar topped the 2011 standings with 145 points, well clear of the USA’s Missy Franklin with 70 and Korea’s Choi Hye Ra with 60. Alshammar took out $US100,000 with Franklin $50,000 and Choi $30,000. Alshammar said that she thinks her season was better than last year. “What pleased me the most was winning all the Butterflys (50m) with four times under 26 seconds. By missing the first round there was less travelling. I have improved my strength and we have worked strongly on technique, making big improvements.”

Swimming World Cup 2011
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13Nov2011

SWC 2011, Tokyo day 1: Japan’s Matsuda scares butterfly world record

TOKYO, Japan - Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda turned it on for the large crowd on the opening day of the seventh and final FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup meet at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre today. Matsuda gave Brazilian Kaio Almeida’s 200m Butterfly world record a big nudge with a spectacular first leg. He was under world record split by 1.22 at the 100m but lost time in the next 50m, going on to 1:49.50 as against Almeida’s 1:49.11 set in Stockholm, in 2009. The leading male swimmer of the series, South Africa’s Chad Le Clos finished fast for 1:51.00 and Kazuya Kaneda (JPN) was third in 1:51.05. An excited Matsuda said straight after the race that he wanted to take the record tonight: “I knew I had a chance to break it and even though I didn’t, I am so happy. I knew the record was there to break so I gave it my best with a strong start. I really wanted to take the record in this final.” The three best swims of the night came from the blockbuster Butterfly race — Matsuda scored 989; Le Clos 949 points and Kaneda with 948.

Swimming World Cup 2011
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12Nov2011

Thorpedo continues to hog media limelight ahead of World Cup finale

Australian superstar Ian Thorpe gained the lion’s share of attention at today’s media conference ahead of the seventh and final FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup 2011 meet at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre this weekend. The hunger for Thorpe quotes dominated proceedings as the large international media contingent fronted six stars who were given a chance to speak. But it was Thorpe’s resurrection as a swimmer that had people clambering for the microphone.“I never thought I would swim again, I would ever compete again. I spent five years away from the pool and I guess five years not being a swimmer. Just by chance, one day, I thought about swimming and I had thought about doing it previously but this was the first time I thought of the reasons why I would like to do this and those reasons may also be why I don’t want to do this. I decided to have another shot at it."

Swimming World Cup 2011
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11Nov2011

SWC 2011, Beijing day 2: Le Clos collects six gold and 1 silver medals

BEIJING, China - The South African swimmer bid a farewell to the "Water Cube", gaining inspiration from a venue that hosted the last Olympic Games. He is leaving Beijing with seven medals in his luggage, six of them golden. He is squarely in the lead of the men's FINA World Cup rankings and on pace to collect the $100,000 men's FINA World Cup overall series prize month in the final edition this weekend in Tokyo. "I'm very happy with my performances in Beijing. Tonight was a tougher day for me even though the events were shorter and easier. I'm definitely pleased that this meet is over. I had a two and a half hour nap today and I woke up delirious. It was hard to get up and race today, but I'm pleased with three gold medals tonight and to know the end isn't too far off."

Swimming World Cup 2011
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09Nov2011

Thorpe posts 54.35 in 100 butterfly prelim swim at the "Water Cube"

Thorpe split a 25.29 at the 50 and stopped the clock at 54.35, finishing 13th out of a field of 27 athletes in the men's 100m butterfly. On November 5th at the recent Singapore edition the Australian Olympic legend split 25.27 and posted a final time of 54.09; he finished 11th out of 26 athletes in the same event. Following the prelim session of the Beijing edition of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup, Ian Thorpe met with the media throng that had come to watch him swim and to get his reaction about his own comeback. Here's Ian Thorpe in his own words:

Swimming World Cup 2011
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09Nov2011

SWC 2011, Beijing day 1: South Africa's Chad Le Clos earns three gold medals

BEIJING, China - South Africa's Chad Le Clos made four trips to the medals podium during the first evening of the Beijing edition of the FINA/ARENA World Cup collecting three gold's and a silver in the 100m free, an event he swum for the first time in World Cup competition. The 19 year old is the current leader in the men's FINA World Cup rankings. Tonight's gold medal collection included championship titles in the 400m individual medley, 200m butterfly and the 100m individual medley.  When he finally got a break from racing and medal ceremonies Le Clos reflected on the motivation that he gained from the five medals that he earned at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore. "It was my first exposure to international competition and I was really nervous, but I can still remember every one of those races." At the Youth Olympic he won the 200m individual medley and would bring home three silver medals in individual events and a relay bronze.

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08Nov2011

What to expect at Beijing's "Water Cube"

Leigh Nugent, Australian National Team Director: "My expectation is more about Libby and Ian returning to competition that it is about their results. Before his races in Singapore, Ian has not competed in six years so this is part of the learning process. We are looking for improvements this week over his performances in Singapore and we will be looking for him to swim even faster in Tokyo.  Of course we expect a significant improvement in his times before our Olympic Trials in March. Ian is entered in the 100 IM and in the 100 Fly. His objective is to qualify for the Australian 4 x 100m free relay. I'd like to have him on the 4 x 200m free relay as well. If he is fast enough perhaps he will race in some individual events as well in London." Therese Alshammar, Sweden: "I am very pleased to be in Beijing as I have very fond memories from the 2008 Olympic Games held at this pool. It's the first time that I am back at the Water Cube after the Olympics. I am really looking forward to this competition. This is a very good pool. I also enjoyed the Shanghai World Championships this past summer. China has offered strong performances during the previous World Cup events. I look forward to strong racing from Chinese athletes in Beijing which makes all of us better."

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07Nov2011

SWC 2011, Singapore day 2: McKeon stuns Alshammar, Le Clos totals six golds

SINGAPORE, Singapore - The victory of 17-year-old Emma McKeon from Australia in the women's 100m freestyle was the first remarkable performance on Day 2 of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup in Singapore. McKeon touched the wall in 52.41 ahead of defending World Cup champion Therese Alshammar (SWE, 53.01). One could say it is not a big deal to be faster than the 34-year-old but not in this case: the sprint queen's experience and ability to remain focused during the race are considerable assets and she's a well-established threat in the pool. As a consolation, Alshammar captured the last gold of the day in the 50m butterfly.  Chad Le Clos (RSA) continued his winning streak with another gold in the men's 200m freestyle, touching home in 1:43.80. It was quite a tough race: Le Clos, Сameron McEvoy (AUS) and Kosuke Hagino (JPN) fought to the end, with the Australian eventually being faster (1:44.45 against 1:44.58).

Swimming World Cup 2011
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05Nov2011

SWC 2011, Singapore day 1: Le Clos in top shape, Thorpe makes timid start

SINGAPORE, Singapore - The first Asian stop of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup featured Chad Le Clos (RSA) having the top performance of the day and walking away with three victories in the 200m butterfly (1:51.05), 100m individual medley (53.06) and 400m individual medley (4:04.16).    The toughest battle was probably in the 100m IM where the South African talent had to contend with the likes of powerful Markus Rogan from Austria. For the two swimmers, the only way to get noticed amid the frenzy surrounding Ian Thorpe's comeback was to win a race, which Le Clos did in convincing fashion. All three made it to the 100m IM final. Rogan was the swiftest in the heat (55.25), 0.5 ahead of Le Clos while Thorpe finished sixth (56.74). In the final, Le Clos emerged victorious while Rogan and Thorpe placed sixth and seventh respectively.

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04Nov2011

Thorpe: "I am more nervous than I usually am"

Australian swimming icon Ian Thorpe revealed a little about his expectations at a press conference held today in Singapore in sight of the fifth leg of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup taking place from November 4-5. This will be the first competition for Thorpe since 2006. Here are some extracts:"It's not going to be extraordinary and it's not going to be horrible. That's quite a vast range, so I expect to hit something in the middle there. I have to remind myself that I am a guy who hasn't swum for five years. I forget that sometimes and I think other people do as well. This is an important step for what I am trying to do next year. This is a starting point."

Swimming World Cup 2011
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03Nov2011

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