The SWIMNEWS team of four in Gšteborg for the 3rd Ericsson World Short Course Championships allowed us to give this event extensive coverage. The Swedish hosts were outstanding and put on a terrific show.
The idea of a temporary pool in an existing indoor arena is definitely a winner. Curiously, it was talked about in the early 1970s when Montreal was planning to host the Olympics in 1976. The Montreal Forum was an early possibility. Now with the Swedish technology it has become a viable solution. Over the course of the four days of competition, with two sessions daily, the total paid admission was over 36,000 and the average cost of a ticket was the equivalent of $10 Canadian.
Karin Helmstaedt worked for the organizing committee in media support, providing flash quotes from the medallists within minutes of finishing their races.
Karin wrote the story of the competition, with day-by-day reports based on my observations during the finals. Prominent athletes were interviewed by Karin for the personality profiles throughout this issue.
I had been specially invited to provide "Start Lists" to the several hundred journalists present, as well as the team coaches and officials. This has become a specialty and a by-product of producing world rankings, annuals, etc. Each event has a summary sheet with biographies of the finalists, as well as current rankings (including any times from the preliminaries), all-time lists, continental records, etc. I have been invited to the European Championships next August in Sevilla, Spain and the World Championships next January in Perth, Australia to provide same. This work has become easier since the entry form has been redesigned to allow for each athlete to provide such information as: birthdate, place of birth, height, weight, occupation, hometown, coach, etc.
Marco Chiesa was given deck access, along with a handful of agency photographers (Reuters, etc), moving him to the elite level of specialists covering the sport. Ten years ago when he covered the 1986 World Championships in Madrid, he was ranked 154th among the photographers, condemned to fight for a spot at every session and having to shoot into the sun during the finals. His outstanding work illustrates every page of our championship story.
Anita Lonsbrough, our English correspondent, was in Gšteborg, writing stories for The Daily Telegraph in London, and providing us with a couple of profiles.
Most of this information, especially the results after the prelims and finals, together with a summary article of the evening's highlights, was sent to Toronto from poolside by Marco Chiesa to up-date our website, which was at its busiest ever during the week of the championships.
Our evenings would end around 11 p.m. with a mad scramble to find a place still open to have dinner. The city shuts down early for the night.
All of this required long days from all of us. But the satisfaction of a job well done and the positive feedback we have received is our reward.
This issue has the second part (of three) on the 50-year saga of the breaststroke rules, with the struggle for recognition of the butterfly as a fourth stroke in the immediate post war years as this month's topic.
The TOP program has participation from the first ever foreign club. The Ginninderra SC in Canberra, Australia entered 11 swimmers. Watch for more foreign teams taking part in the future.
Karin Helmstaedt went to a regional long course meet outside of Paris in Sarcelles and talked with Franziska van Almsick, GER and Michelle Smith, IRL.
Long Course TAG is thin, as few results have been received. Remember to send your results as soon after the meet, by courier if at all possible. Always send a print-out, no diskettes. It takes too long to get a hard copy printed.
Anita Lonsbrough writes on the GBR European Championships Trials held the weekend before Gšteborg. James Hickman, who won the 200 butterfly in Sweden, was upset in both fly events by Stephen Parry, fresh from winning the NCAAs 200 fly during March.
You just never know how the race will turn out. There is no script.
Competition makes us all better.