The third competition day of the 16th FINA World Championships was packed with events – six gold medals at once were up for grabs. The world’s best Masters swimmers competed for medals across different age groups in the men’s and women’s 400m medley, 200m freestyle and 50m butterfly events.
The day started with the men’s 400m medley heats. Bill Walker of Australia, who is the maturest participant in this event, took gold with a time of 13:49.49. A total of 14 heats across 13 age groups were contested.
Renato Ramalho of Brazil, Seul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 Olympian, earned the top podium spot in the 45-49 age group. Later on, during a talk with reporters, he shared his thoughts about the competitions and expressed his admiration with the city and the local climate.
“I’m 47 and I enjoy participating in these competitions because it helps me to keep fit. I participated in the Olympic Games and represented my country and now I compete under the Brazilian flag here in Kazan. The 400m medley is my best distance and I’ve been training specifically for this event. Do my muscles ache? Yes, during the heat my muscles ache more than those of younger athletes. Constant practices and participation in competitions enable us to stay healthy and keep fit. I would like to mention an excellent delivery of the World Championships in Kazan; people here are very hospitable and friendly; the city is really beautiful. I enjoy competing here. I’m happy to have won gold medal. What can I say about the weather? I leave in the south of Brazil, in the mountains, and in winter we also have snow. That’s why the weather and the climate are very comfortable here – neither too cold nor too hot, the most optimal temperature,” Renato Ramalho said.
Female swimmers competed in eight heats across 11 age groups. In the maturest age group, the 400m medley gold and silver went to German swimmers Helga Reich and Annemarie Ludicke while bronze was claimed by Japan's Sachiko Hasegawa. Russian swimmer Natalia Vinokurenkova showed the best time among all age groups; she covered the distance in 5:06.27.
A large number of athletes participated in one of the most popular swimming events – 200m freestyle. Since the competition was really tough, age groups got off the starting blocks one after another. One of the participants of the race, Yaroslav Novitskiy, who is also the winner of more than 300 international tournaments and holder of 2,307 medals from 60 countries, expressed hope that he will earn some more medals at the tournament.
“I think that by the end of these Championships I will win five more medals. I entered to compete in the 200m butterfly, 400m freestyle and three relays. I have three medals, I also plan to take five medals more and this is eight medals in total – I will match Michael Phelps in terms of the medals won (smiles). I’m 70 and I train practically every day. To achieve food results, I need to swim 3-4 kilometres a day and race 1.5 kilometres against a clock. And I also need to train in the gym because the muscle power decreases every five years. I think that I need to serve as a role model for other people. Why not? I think that it’s really important that people stop smoking or taking drugs and go swimming. Kazan is the city that can become a perfect example for promoting healthy lifestyles among people,” Yaroslav Novitskiy said.
In the men’s 50m butterfly, the gold medals in the maturest age group went to 90-year-old representative of the Czech Republic, Jan Ziegler, who trains in Brno’s Plavecky Veteransky Klub, and 91-year-old Ukrainian swimmer Georgiy Chizhevskiy from Gavrylych Swim Club. Competitors fought for medals in 14 age groups. As it turns out, the men’s 50m butterfly event was the largest event in terms of participants and age groups followed one after the other.
The same was true for the women’s 50m butterfly race. A lot of female swimmers entered to compete in this swimming event. 26-year-old Emma Gage of Great Britain set the world record in the 50m butterfly event. She covered the distance in 27.10.
To see the swimming results for August 12, please go to the following links:
Press Office of Organising Committee for 16th FINA World Championships
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