Dubai, world s/c championships, day 2 finals:
Men's 100m Backstroke
Stanislav Donets (RUS), legal but challenging the rules governing distance off walls underwater and timing of roll onto front going into walls throughout, cracked out a championship record of 49.07 to win the crown two years after taking bronze in Manchester. Turning in 23.59, the Russian was close to world-record pace, but not quite close enough and the shiny mark of 48.94 stands yet to Nick Thoman (USA).
Between 19:34hrs and 19:51hrs, the American had the bronze medal almost round his neck after clocking 50.38 behind a 50.04 silver for Aschwin Wildeboer (ESP), with a DSQ appearing alongside the name of Camille Lacourt (FRA). At 19:51, the DSQ was dropped, Lacourt had the silver in 49.80 and the Spaniard the bronze, Thoman locked out.
The explanation: judges thought that Lacourt had emerged beyond the 15m marker out of his post-turn submarinery; then they said they thought it might have been Ryosuke Irie (JPN); Gaul got its video out and a few Swiss francs for a protest and Lacourt got his silver medal.
History in the making:
World s/c Podiums
Most world titles in this event: 1, multiple
Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)
Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991): 3
All-time textile rankings top 5:
From the archive:
In the days when there was no distinction between the size of pools that world records could be set in, the last 10 marks established before FINA's 1957 rule that world standards could only be set in 50m pools, were all clocked short-course. Four of those records belonged to one of the most successful backstroke swimmers in history: Adolph Keifer (USA), 1 1936 Berlin Olympics champion who is still taking the plunge in a pool at his home from time to time 74 years on.
Between October 1935 and January 1936, Kiefer set the world record in the 100m backstroke four times, reducing the mark from 1:07.4 to 1:04.8 and arriving at the 1936 Olympic Games as a clear favourite for the crown in Berlin. He also drew much media attention after another Adolf (with a different spelling) asked to meet the American athlete who shared the Fuhrer’s name. The swimmer and Hitler were introduced and years later after the War, Kiefer said: “If I had known then what I know today I would have thrown him in the pool!"
In swimming terms, Kiefer was revolutionary, a pioneer who took backstroke from a discipline in which the arm pull was a straight action out from the sides of the body to one that involved the bending of the elbow for a much more stream-lined and efficient pull that was much closer to the mechanics of a freestyle pull. Kiefer and teammate Albert VandeWeghe were the first to use a new turn, in which they flipped their legs sideways and over before pushing off the wall.
The effect of those innovations was obvious in Berlin, where Kiefer won in 1:05.9, his third Olympic record in three days. After retiring, Keifer was then approached by Hollywood producers who were keen to find the next “Tarzan”, but the pay rate - US$17 a month - was rejected by Kiefer, who would soon enter military service in the Second World War. During his time in the forces, in response to the tragic deaths not by bombings at sea but among those who could not swim to safety and so drowned, Keifer drew up a manual and launched a swim school for sailors in service.
After the War, Kiefer set up Adolph Kiefer & Co, which became the official aquatics supplier to the 1948 USA Olympic swim team which at the games in London wore the first nylon swimsuits.