GLASGOW - The new pool in Glasgow saw the first world record (pending FINA ratification) of the 1997 series; Xue Han, CHN, swam a blistering 50 breaststroke in 30.88 to better her own previous record of 30.98. Her coach, Ge Zhao said that her goal had been to swim best times. "The record belonged to her, so I'm not surprised. She is a very good short course swimmers because she has a lot of power."
Butterflyer Limin Liu was in top form as she posted the world leading time in the 200 fly with 2:06.85, she added a solid 100 yesterday with 58.42.
Zhao said that the Chinese were impressed with the fast pool in Glasgow. "They get excited when they feel fast," he said.
Australia's Natasha Bowron moved to top of the points race in the women's freestyle distance with her double wins in the 400-800 free. "This is my first national team experience," Bowron said, "so I'm really pleased with how I've done so far. I'm happy to be leading the category but I think I'll have to wait and see what happens in Germany.
Another Aussie, Michael Klim continues to dazzle, his third win of this meet in the 200 free (1:46.62) after winning the 50-100 fly, missing the world best by 2/100 of a second in the 100 fly (52.09). Klim is moving up on Jamaican sprinter Sion Brinn's lead in the sprint freestyle points race, trainling by three points. "I'm feeling pretty good becuse this is Sion's last meet, in the fly it will be a tight race between Denis Silantiev, UKR and the yet to be seen Denis Pankratov, RUS.
Sion Brinn, JAM, is pleased with his swimming this year. "At last year's World Cup I only managed to score just over 20 points. This year I have 63, this is the first time in my life that I've been ranked this high in a category. It makes me feel good to be leading after the fifth meet in the series."
From a British perspective, the 1997 FINA World Cup series will have been an important test. Swimmers from the GBR have travelled to every competition on the circuit so far, and a refurbished team will continue on to the last three in Germany, Italy and France. Deryk Snelling, National Performance Director for the GBR since September, supports the World Cup events wholeheartedly, "I think it's a great opportunity to race at the world level and to swim good races back to back," he said. "As for the host country the exposure that this kind of meet provides to our junior athletes is terrific. We've got 76 athletes here. I think it's the future and the interest is growing. It will give a better global concept to the sport."
Birmingham coach Mick Hepwood sait the British team has benefitted from every World Cup experience. "Every meet has its own ingredient that contributes to our overall improvement, and that's what we look at. We're really pleased with how we've done, first in Asia, then in Finland and Sweden, and now here. We've achieved our aims because the swimmers have stayed tough, and that's what it's all about, isn't it? Holding your own on the world circuit."
Leaving no doubt as to her world class status at the short course European Championships in Rostock in December, Susan Rolph, GBR, says this is definitley her year. "It's gone pretty well considering I was a bit unfit after some time off at Christmas. I was pleased with my two wins (100-200 I.M.) here."