Doha, Dec 7, 2014: Some days after being awarded the title of FINA Best Swimmers in 2014, Chad Le Clos (RSA) and Katinka Hosszu (HUN) were also the athletes shining the most in the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) held from December 3-7 in Doha (QAT). At the conclusion of the five-day competition, the South African star and the Magyar champion received the Trophy for the Best Male and Female Swimmer of the competition, respectively, after delivering great performances in the Hamad Aquatic Centre.
Hosszu entered in the history of this competition by earning eight individual medals, the highest tally ever among women, and only equalling Ryan Lochte’s performance in Istanbul 2012 in the men’s field. The difference is that the North American collected some of his medals in relay events. Before the Magyar milestone, the best swimmers in a single edition of the championships were Susan O’Neill (AUS), Josefin Lillhage (SWE), Lisbeth Lenton (AUS) and Brooke Hanson (AUS), all with six podium presences.
The results of Hosszu in Doha were impressive: four wins accompanied by WR performances in the 100m and 200m back, 100m and 200m IM, silver medals in the 200m free, 200m fly and 400m IM, and one bronze in the 50m back.
In the men’s field, Le Clos’ statistics are also outstanding. The South African leaves Doha with four individual titles, in the 200m free, 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly, and a WR in the 100m. Moreover, he is the first male swimmer ever to win the three butterfly events in a single edition of the championships. Before him, and among men, only Brendan Hansen (USA) had swept the breaststroke events in 2004, while Ryan Lochte (USA) achieved the same with the medleys in 2008 and 2010.
Doha 2014 will also enter in FINA’s history for the level of the performances achieved during the competition: no less than 23 World Records and 24 Championships Record were set in the Qatari capital, largely improving the previous maximum of 18 best global marks established in Manchester (GBR) in 2008. From this list, 14 WR were in individual events while nine were improved in relay action.
Youth programme ‘aspires’ 280 swimmers in Doha
The first-ever Youth programme, jointly organised by the Doha 2014 organising committee and FINA, successfully drew to an end on December 7 at the Aspire’s Zone, the world’s biggest sport facility.
A total 136 countries sent one or two of their best swimmers aged 14-16 with their coach to take part in a week-long programme. U.S. top-level coach Todd Schmitz, who led Missy Franklin to Olympic glory at the 2012 London Olympics, run the programme with a 10-strong coaching staff.
Looking back at the intense week, Schmitz can’t see but the bright side of it: “I saw three young athletes from Ecuador, Guatemala and Honduras the other day. They were all three together in different jackets, giggling and laughing the entire time. To see the change from the first day and now is so much important and that is what this programme is all about.”
“Swimming is a life-long sport and programmes like this just continue to fill that passion and excitement and it makes these kids wanting to be in the building next to us [talking of the Hamad Aquatics Centre] and compete at World Championships,” Schmitz continued.
On Why the programme targets the 14-16 age group, the U.S. head coach said: “Because this is the best age; you start to mature and really this is where we either keep swimmers in the sport or lose them.”
“This programme really needs to continue because this is the future of the sport of swimming,” Schmitz added.
Without a doubt, such undertaking will help develop swimming around the world: “The facility that I have is a six-lane 25-yard pool and some of the coaches came in thinking that I had a facility like the Aspire Zone’s 50-metre swimming pool, but I don’t. It was an eye-opener. To train in the Ocean or in a hotel pool doesn’t matter because the most important part is that as swim coach we need to be able to adapt.” —- FINA