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Textile Test Passed With Flying Colours

Dec 18, 2010  - Craig Lord

Four days down one to go and no world records today. No shame either, for the pool was boiling with many a best effort ever to grace the little pool in the absence of assistance from apparel. 

As Cesar Cielo pointed out, some things may be a stretch too far - for now but the mask has been torn down this year: swimmers, swimming, the work of coaches and others, the real deal, make for fabulous entertainment. If anyone was bored watching what has unfolded over the past four days, then they must surely be bored of life and the thrill of human achievement that reflects natural gifts, brain and brain twinned in the chase for a place no swimmer has gone before.

Mireia Belmonte has long shown promise. In Dubai, three gold and one silver in the kit bag, the Spaniard has stepped up to a different league and now heads to Shanghai next summer as a title hope in both medleys at the very least. But watch for Ye Shiwen at home and her teammates who are combining for relay strength that may be hard for any to match come the big home meet.

That will not be the only intriguing development a long the way: the Rebecca Soni Vs Leisel Jonesshow will be thrilling a long the way. The two are towering talents who have honed their skills in a way that makes it look like they have found a technical trick the others have yet to discover, let alone master. You can read more from Jones in this q and a.

The same might be said of Cesar Cielo and his sprint speed: not easy to give the impression of ease when it is not at all easy. Albert Subirats had a touch of that too as he collected Venezuela's first gold since Francisco Sanchez in 1997. And then there was Stanislav Donets, who did in the little pool here in Dubai what Camille Lacourt did in the big pool back in Budapest in the summer: dominate and test techno speed in textile.

Former champ Matt Welsh was there to meet Donets after the race. He's the poolside commentator here and has been putting some words to camera too in appreciation of the first world titles meet in the Middle East. The Dubai venue is now set to replace Brazil on the World Cup tour after Rio indicated that it will call it a day, the costs of organising meets to which too few at the helm of the sport travel too great a burden to carry.

A long way to go for many along the short and long of it all on the clock but progress has not stopped. Free of the virtual world of shiny things, the rankings are under attack.

The last day of the championships brings the prospect of at least two more gold medals for Ryan Lochte, a 1,500m with Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli in the slows heats (an earlier suggestion that he was confirmed in the fast heat in the evening after FINA accepted a late plea from Tunisia over an entry time that FINA had not been aware of until now apparently false), and a flood of further threats to the record books as Dubai waves goodbye to the swim world with a high tide of 12 finals.

The meet will go to the USA by a wide margin over the rest, while Australia has yet to win a gold and as such languishes well down the medals table in a place it has not become accustomed to keeping, 12 nations having won gold so far.

Meanwhile, prize money in Dubai will be allocated to swimmers as follows:

  • 1st place  US$ 5,000
  • 2nd place US$ 3,000
  • 3rd place  US$ 2,000

That adds up to $400,000. 

Fine - but no finer that it was 10 years ago, when in Athens 2000 Neil Walker (USA) picked up $75,000 for his three wins and four world records.