RIO DE JANEIRO - The first ever outdoor FINA World Cup is being staged in Brazil, under warm sunshine and ideal summer conditions (28 celcius air temperature this morning, but warmer for the afternoon prelims, with the pool water 28). The two day format has been stretched over three as live television dictated an early morning start. The finals are being scheduled for 9 am to allow Rede Globo to broadcast to an estimated 30 million audience on Sunday morning. Prelims for today's events were held last nigth at 6 pm after the opening cermeonies at 5.
12 countries have entered 100 swimmers, and there is added incentived to perform as the hosts will be providing a $ 1,000 bonus for the top performance of the competition.
Appropriately for home town fans, two Brazilians super stars of the sport contested the very first eventÃ‘the men's 100 free. Fernado "Xuxa" Scherer had the lead for the first half with Gustavo Borges having the better finish to touch first in 48.16 to 49.04. Brazilian sprinters swept the first six place as the two Australians in the finals finished in 7th and 8th. It was fitting opener. Borges performance was the best of the competition with 982 points on the FINA ratings.
The competition is being held at the Club de Regatas Vasco de Gama outdoor 50 m pool with ample seating on both sides of the pool. There is a temporary bulkhead to make it 25 m. The host club is celebrating its centenary. The pool complex dates back to 1950s and is modelled on the Olympic pool in Helsinki used in 1952.
Top performer of the morning finals of the first day was Marcel Wouda (NED) with three wins, the 200 breaststroke in 2:11.57, and the 100 IM in 55.31 and the 400 IM with 4:15.58.
Another strong perfomer was Denis Silantiev (UKR) with a 1:55.81 in the 200 fly win, his fastest of the last three world cup races he's competed in. Scherer in winning the 50 butterfly with 23.97 established a new South American and Brazilian record.
Claudia Poll (CRC) was one of two double winners with firsts in the 200 and 800 freestyle. Backstroke specialist Antje Buschschulte (GER) doubled in winning the 50 in 28.63 and the 200 with 2:12.88.