EDMONTON - The Speedo World Cup Organizing Committee spared no effort and expense to make this a memorable occasion. The magnificent Kinsmen Aquatic complex, site of the major international events during the past 20 years has now been modernized and the 10 lane 50 metre pool has been further widened to 25 m so that short course competitions may be staged across the staring end. Seating for several thousand is now possible on three sides and could be further expanded to 6,000.
Just over 220 competitors took part, with some moving from the sunshine of Rio de Janeiro five days ago to early winter conditions with snow on the ground.
The tone of the competition was set in the very first event when Ian Thorpe (AUS) is his come from behind style touched first in 49.19 after trailing in third (24.10) for most of the four lengths. Lars Frolander (SWE) had the lead with a few metres to go but touched second in 49.31. Ryan Laurin (CAN) the leader for most the race (23.58), was third with 49.66.
In the 400 free Ian Thorpe showed why he's the short course world record holder. He has the amazing ability to control the first half and then move into high gear to swim away from all challengers in the last 100. He split 55.18, 1:53.28, 2:50.79. His winning time was 3:46.05 to Jorg Hoffmann (GER) 3:47.48 and Thomas Lohfink (GER) 3:48.41.
Derya Buyukuncu (TUR) upset Canadian favourites in the 100 backstroke leading for most of the race (26.02) touching in 53.44. Chris Renaud (CAN) second in 54.14 and Mark Versfeld (CAN) third in 54.56.
In the men's 200 butterfly Denis Silantiev (UKR) an easy winner in 1:55.94 (26.13, 55.51, 1:25.78) with Chris-Carol Bremer (GER) second with 1:56.99 and Philip Weiss (CAN) third with 1:59.33. Weiss won the 400 IM earlier with 4:17.05 over Curtis Myden (CAN) 4:19.17 with Brian Johns (CAN) a 16-year-old third with 4:19.29.
Franziska van Almisck (GER) cruised for an easy win in the 200 leading for the eight lengths (splitting 27.57, 57.55, 1:28.00) with 1:58.04. Joanne Malar (CAN) was second in 2:00.30 and Kate Brambley (CAN) third in 2:00.45. Claudia Poll (CRC) top qualifier this morning (1:59.85), scratched from the final to swim in the 800 later in the session where she finished third. Rachel Harris (AUS) won the 800 free in 8:30.21, with Melissa Deary (USA) second with 8:35.12.
In the women's 100 butterfly van Almick added her second win with 1:00.59 over Hu Ning (CHN) with 1:00.90.
Marianne Limpert (CAN) was a solid winner in the 200 IM in 2:12.99 leading to sweep of the top four spots as Ning Bo (CHN) an early challenger faded to fifth. In second Karity Cameron (CAN with 2:14.28, Joanne Malar (CAN) third with 2:14.36.
An all European sweep of the 50 free as Simone Osygus (GER) touched out with 25.74, Alison Sheppard (GBR) 25.75 and Therese Alshammar (SWE in 25.79.
Antje Buschulte (GER) swept the two backstroke events. In the 50 her winning time was 28.38 and in the 200 she did 2:09.74.