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Oct 16 18

Top tips from a Coach on Nutrition

by ZwemZa

Getting emails for swimmers, coaches and parents is one of my favorite things about writing on food and nutrition for athletes. I’ve gotten questions from one coach, Coach Allan Kopel, throughout the years and I asked him what tips he has for working with youth swimmers.

Coach Allan has been coaching for almost 40 years and has a great appreciation for the role of nutrition in performance. He has seen good, and not so good practices, on food and fueling for swimmers. He wants to make it clear he is not a nutritionist and is aware of not overreaching scope of practice in all aspects of working with athletes – from nutrition to physical therapy or psychology. He knows when to refer to specialists. But, as a lay person who is a coach, a fitness advocate, and life-long athlete, he reads about all aspects of swimming and taps into experts to get questions answered.

“I like to keep things basic when it comes to nutrition,” he says, and he offers these tips:

  • Never skip meals. “I do not believe something we consume makes us fast, fast being the operative word in a stop-watch sport like swimming. If it would make us fast, I am not sure it would be safe or within the guidelines of fair play. But, I believe what we consume and when we consume it can impact our general health, our ability to stay healthy, and recover from multiple training and repeated swims within and over days of a multi-day swim meet. What and when we eat impacts our performance, health, and sustainability as an athlete. I encourage swimmers to eat about every 3 to 5 hours.”
  • Eat healthy foods but don’t fret over exact ratios of nutrients. “I do not believe one has to be pure or perfect in terms of eating. But I suggest consuming foods in the grocery store that come largely from the exterior aisles of the store. There is nothing wrong with some processed foods (like yogurt, milk, or frozen fruit or vegetables) or using some food packaged for convenience, but try to limit the ultra-processed foods. For athletes, it is okay to use energy bars as a snack or at a meet when you can’t leave the venue, but they should not replace real food or be consumed in place of a meal.”
  • Eat what is comfortable for your body to handle and eat the right amount; never feel stuffed or hungry right before a meet. “Swimmers challenge their body with training, so they need to eat to fuel and support the body’s needs and demands of training. I believe in eating in the morning when we first wake up, although this can be a hard adjustment for some. After a night of sleeping, we have been fasting, so we need to eat something, even if it is a small pre-dawn morsel, to get the body ready for practice or school.USA Swimming posts lots of tips on good meal and snack choices that contain carbohydrate, protein, and fat, and is a good resource for swimmers.”
  • Learn to manage foods and fluids and balance with rest room breaks. Using the bathroom can be a challenge while wearing a tight tech suit! “Promoting hydration is critical for health and performance, but neither dehydration or overhydration is good. I use the tool of urine color to guide swimmers, reminding them that dark yellow color could indicate dehydration, but clear urine can mean one is drinking too much water.” And, don’t forget fruits and veggies have a high water content and can also contribute to our hydration needs.

Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RDN, is a nutrition professor emerita at Georgia State University. She welcomes questions from swimmers, parents, and coaches at  Visit her website at


Oct 16 18

Ex-world swim champ Magnini’s doping decision postponed

by ZwemZa

Filippo Magnini (OA Sport)

Former two-time world swimming champion Filippo Magnini appeared before a court of Italy’s anti-doping agency (NADO) on Monday (Oct 15) to answer accusations he used banned substances for which he risks an eight-year ban.

At the end of the four-hour hearing, the judges ruled that additional time was needed with a decision expected on Nov 6.

“I simply told the truth and now I’m calm,” Magnini said on leaving the court in Rome. “We explained everything in detail. I’m happy because my lawyers have managed to bring out the truth.

“Sentencing has been postponed due to the complexity of the case.”

NADO prosecutors have requested an eight-year ban for Magnini and four years for his former Italian relay teammate Michele Santucci.

Magnini is accused of drug use, abetting and administration or attempted administration of a prohibited substance.

The investigation was opened after Magnini, 36, and Santucci, 29, were questioned in October 2017 over their relationship with nutritionist Guido Porcellini, who has since been banned for 30 years by Italy’s national anti-doping organisation for distributing illegal drugs.

Magnini, who retired last year, was named in the case but his dossier had been closed due to lack of evidence. Certain products were destined for him but, according to the investigators, he did not use them or even receive them.

Four-time world medallist Magnini won the 100m freestyle at the 2005 and 2007 world championships and a relay bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Santucci’s evidence will be heard on Wednesday.


Oct 16 18

YOG BA 2018: Lin also imperial in the 3m

by ZwemZa

Lin Shan, from China, was unbeatable in the final of the women’s 3m springboard, repeating her success from the 10m platform, at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires (ARG). The Chinese talent concluded the 3m event with 505.50 points, more than 100 points ahead of Russia’s Uliana Kliueva (445.05, silver), and of Bridget O’Neil, from USA, third in 439.60.

Lin Shan (17 years old) had already been the best in the morning preliminaries, collecting 506.80 points after her nine dives. The most successful combination had been a reverse 2 ½ somersaults (pike), for which she received 73.50 from the judges. In the top-3, Kliueva and Chiara Pellacani (ITA) concluded well behind the Asian ace, with 442.05 and 421.00 points respectively.

Uliana Kliueva (RUS)

In the afternoon, Lin started well, with a back 2 ½ somersaults (DD 3.0), worth 63.00, but Maria Papworth (GBR), 12th in the heats, performed clearly better with a 67.50 effort, also from a DD 3.0 dive, thus getting the second provisional place. The best combination of the round was however from Kimberly Bong, from Malaysia, with marks between 8.0/8.5, but with a low DD of 2.4. For Pellacani, the hope of a medal vanished at this stage, with a poor back 2 ½ somersaults (pike), only noted 46.50 by the judges.

In the second round, Bong, on a DD 2.7 was also quite solid, earning marks ranged from 7.5/8.5, for a 64.80 dive. Agundes Garcia, from Mexico (bronze medallist in the 10m), seventh until then, also performed well a back 2 ½ somersaults (pike, DD 3.0), climbing three positions in the provisional ranking. Kliueva slightly over-rotated with her dive (but still got marks between 7.0/7.5), while Lin continued quite regular and remained in the provisional lead (with a 24-point advantage over Bong). Kliueva was third at this stage.

For her third combination, Lin executed a flawless forward 3 ½ somersaults (pike), earning 77.50 points from the judges. The advantage of 50 points over Kluieva (who performed her worst dive of the final) was decisive for the final outcome. Meanwhile, for bronze, the fight was between Bong and O’Neil, but with a short advantage for the North American.

Bridget O’Neil (USA)

In the final round, Lin had no problems with her forward 2 ½ somersaults 1 twist (pike), getting 73.50 for a total of 505.50, while Kliueva also managed to control her nerves and executed well the same combination. The silver medal was guaranteed, in 445.05. The final duel was between O’Neil and Maria Papworth, who had a very consistent final. For the same dive – also a forward 2 ½ somersaults 1 twist (pike) -, the  US diver scored 61.50, while the British only had 54.00. The bronze was definitively for O’Neil.

Sofiia Lyskun, from Ukraine, silver medallist in the 10m platform event, was not so inspired in the lower board, finishing only 11th.

FINA Communications Department

Oct 16 18

YOG BA 2018: Now happy as “Role Model”

by ZwemZa

One of the most inspiring initiatives related with the Youth Olympic Games is the “Athlete Role Model” programme, in which world stars in each discipline are invited to the competition to inspire the young talents and give them useful tips on the development of their future career. In Diving, Roseline Filion is fulfilling this role with notorious pleasure. The Canadian ace is in Buenos Aires following the sport she loves, after a career that spanned for more than a decade and brought, among other achievements, two bronze medals at the Olympics.

“For me, it’s important to give something back to the diving community, to help and advise these younger athletes so that they are able to perform at their best. The YOG is the perfect preparation for the Olympics. I realise that being here, it’s exactly like being at the Olympics: the number of people, the media attention, the Olympic rings everywhere. This helps you a lot when going to the Olympics, because then you know what to expect”, admits Filion, third at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games in the 10m platform synchro event.  “I have no doubts that some of these athletes will be at the Olympics. I have been watching the divers and I am impressed with their technical level at such young age. I look forward to seeing them growing at senior level”.

Also a 10m synchro silver medallist at the 2013 and 2015 FINA Worlds in Barcelona (ESP) and Kazan (RUS), respectively, Filion decided to conclude her career after the Rio rendezvous. “My life has completely changed since then. I am still connected to the sport, I am commenting in French for diving, I have been doing that for a while as I love being in the media world. I have also my company, related with ‘Escape Room’ games, something completely out of sport, but I like it because it’s creative and allows me to meet a lot of people. And from time to time, I come back to the pool deck and I meet my old teammates and coaches”, she confesses.

With a continental title in her pet event at the 2015 Pan-American Games, after being also first at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Canadian great wants to share her enthusiasm with the younger generation: “Looking back at my career, the best advice I could give is that they much believe in themselves and to have a voice – they must say out loud what they want, to say what they need to perform well. The other thing is that you must train hard because when you are on the top of that platform, or springboard, the only thing you don’t want to have is regret”. Asked if she had any regret throughout her trajectory, she is emphatic: “I have NO regrets at all. I remember being in Rio and thinking ‘I have done everything possible to be the best I could’ and I was proud of my process. Some things were wrong, but I was at the peak at the end of my career, and I was very proud with that”.

With Meaghan Benfeito: a friendship for life

Competing so many years in synchro events, with her teammate Meaghan Benfeito, this has created a special link between the two divers. “Teammates are laughing a lot together, going out together. We always keep contact and I see Meaghan a lot. Yesterday, we had a Facetime call – she is in Australia training, and I am here in Buenos Aires, but we keep in touch. She is my soul sister, and synchro events allow this”, admits Filion.

Generally speaking, she also elaborates on how sport influenced her personality and gave her precious tools for life. “The sport gave me a lot of values, such as being organised, be focused, work hard and never give up. Even if you do it wrong, you try again and you go for it. Sports definitively brings you work spirit. Sport teaches you a lot of things that you don’t get in the school. The way I work, the way I am a team player (even if diving is mostly an individual sport), all this brings people’s respect. Sport is really a good thing”, she admits.

From the list of young athletes taking part at these Youth Olympic Games, Canada is obviously present with their best talents in this age group. “It’s a sport with a lot of tradition in Canada. We had huge stars in recent years, such as Alexandre Despatie, or Emilie Heymans. We have a lot of facilities and good coaches, so we can train well. There is a big depth of talents, the young divers are looking good. We have a great environment to perform well, both at the National Federation and Olympic Committee level”, she concludes.

Meeting Chen Ruolin (CHN) in Buenos Aires

Oct 16 18

Bronte Campbell’s other life outside of swimming

by ZwemZa

Bronte Campbell is one of Australia’s most elite athletes; an Olympic gold medallist, a world champion, a swimming superstar.

But there’s another side of life to the 24-year-old that most Australians don’t know about.

She’s a carer, along with the rest of her family, for younger brother Hamish.

Source: Instagram

The 20-year-old suffers severe cerebral palsy and functions on the same level as a nine-month-old.

Bronte is sharing her story for National Carers’ Week, telling Alan Jones she and her sister Cate “don’t see ourselves as carers”.

“It is difficult. I mean our whole lives are planned around what you can and can’t do but at the same time, it’s not supposed to be seen as a burden.

“Once you start thinking of someone as a disability you forget to think of him as just your brother.

“Of course your brother adds joy to your life but he also adds a bit of pain every now and again, because he’s your little brother. That’s just how it goes.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview

National Carers’ Week is about recognising and celebrating Australia’s 2.7 million unpaid carers.

It’s estimated their contribution is worth more than $60 billion a year.

See more of Bronte’s story below

Oct 15 18

Great turnout for the start of the Eastern Cape Open Water Swim Series

by ZwemZa

The Nelson Mandela Bay Aquatics (NMBA) open water swimming season kicked off on Sunday morning with the first round of the E Cape Swim Series, a Swimming South Africa (SSA) Approved Open Water Swimming Event, taking place at the pristine Marina Martinique, home of the 2019 South African National Open Water Swimming National Championships.

Over 100 swimmers from around the Eastern Cape took full advantage of the opportunity to secure early qualification times for the season with great swimming conditions on the morning with water temperatures permitting wetsuit legal races.

This season there is a strong drive by NMBA to encourage swimmers into the longer distance races and in particular the Olympic distance 10km race with an incentive of a top of the range locally produced Blusmooth wetsuit as a 10km lucky draw at the end of the Series in January.

Heading the 10km field was 16 year old Flippie Van Der Spuy, fresh off his stellar performance at the Fina Junior World Open Water Swimming Championships in Israel, from the BEST swimming club, who claimed line honors in a time of 2 hours 16 minutes ahead of Infinity Swimmer Josh Tucker (2:18:41) and Team Watersmart’s Heinrich Vorster (2: 22:25) with Infinity swimmer Jessica Booth winning the ladies 10km division in a time of  2: 34:43.

All four swimmers were inside the Swim SA 10km qualifying time of 2h30min for Men and 2h40min for Ladies.

Three swimmers contested the distance of 7.5km with young up and coming SSA National Open Water Swimming Squad member Tasneen Ebrahim finishing in 1hr 47 ahead of fellow squad member Shaelyn Walker (1:56:07) and Luke Norris.

In an increasingly popular 5km swim, it was the battle of the some legends of watersport with former national surf lifesaver and local swim coach, Haydn Holmes pipping former SA swimmer and surf lifesaver Kevin Richards with Deacon Kingman placing 3rd in the Men’s race.

Amica de Jager won the ladies race ahead of the promising Hannah Murray and Tayla-Paige Lacey. The top 3 men and top 2 ladies qualified within the SSA 5km qualification time of 1 hour 15 for Men and 1 hour 25 for ladies.

In the 3km swim it was PJ Duffy who won in a time of 42 minutes and 31 seconds from MC Strydom and Martin Wolmarans with Liza Muller (43:28) taking the ladies race ahead of Denise Bosman and Tiara Finnis. The first 9 Men in this race qualified in 48 minutes and under whilst the top 9 ladies managed to swim under their 50 minute qualification time.

The event also received praise from Swimming South Africa who will be hosting the South African National Open National Championships at the same venue on the 2nd and 3rd March 2019.  “By all accounts, the E Cape Series Swim 1 was a resounding success, despite the cold water and inclement weather. On behalf of SSA I would like to congratulate the NMBA Open Water Swimming Technical Committee for staging a highly successful event.” said Neville Smith, Swimming SA Coordinator of Open Water Swimming.

Also included in the morning’s events is two social events, the 1.25km swim and a 500m swim. In the 1.25km swim leading SA swim coach from PEA, Mark Edge, won in a time of 12 minutes and 11 seconds ahead of Logan Croft and Noah De Swart with Emma Lacey winning the ladies race in 19minutes and 53minutes ahead of Kiara Croft and Kaitlynne Horne whilst Jan-Daniel Cilliers won the 500m from Steffan Rademeyer and Hinton Douguas with Neeshaan Salie winning the 500m girls race from Heidrin Gerber and Sane Jacobs.

The next Swim Series event takes place at Marina Martinique in two weeks time, see for discounted early bird entry. Registration closes on the Friday afternoon before race weekend and late entry fees do apply.



10km Swim
MEN: 1 Flippie Van Der Spuy (2:16:03); 2 Josh Tucker (2:18:41); 3 Heinrich Vorster (2:22:25);
LADIES: 1 Jessica Booth (2:34:43);

7.5km Swim
MEN: 1 Luke Norris (2:00:49);
LADIES: 1 Tasneen Ebrahim (1:47:54); 2 Shaelyn Walker (1:56:07);

5km Swim
MEN: 1 Haydn Holmes (1:04:13); 2 Kevin Richards (1:05:50); 3 Deacon Kingman (1:11:53); 4 Stephan Vorster (1:17:45); 5 Christian Appels (1:19:58); 6 Mike Phillips (1:49:55); 7 Bernhard Kapp (1:59:46);
LADIES: 1 Amica De Jager (1:04:16); 2 Hannah Murray (1:09:01); 3 Tayla-Paige Lacey (1:18:42); 4 Tyra Roozendaal (1:20:01); 5 Janine Van Rooyen (1:50:16); 6 Nina Petra Bodisch (1:57:14);

1.25km Swim
1 Mark Edge (12:11); 2 Logan Croft (20:02); 3 Noah De Swart (20:06); 4 Conor Moynihan (20:29); 5 Albert Klopper (22:48); 6 Marc May (23:22); 7 Faiq Jappie (24:12); 8 Liam Prime (24:52); 9 Darius Hiten (27:51); 10 Connor Barnardo (27:55); 11 Robin Coyle Dowling (28:25); 12 Ben Joubert (29:57); 13 James MacLear (30:56); 14 Richard MacLear (30:58); 15 Christopher Pirie (31:34); 16 Johannes (jc) Oosthuizen (31:35); 17 Murray Bailes (32:41); 18 Conrad Marais (32:41); 19 Justin Gemmill (35:40); 20 Liam Viljoen (37:59);
LADIES: 1 Emma Lacey (19:53); 2 Kiara Croft (20:03); 3 Kaitlynne Horne (20:43); 4 Quinlee Collins (21:10); 5 Emma Puffett (21:35); 6 Amika Compaan (22:55); 7 Lesley Lee (22:57); 8 Minique Compaan (22:58); 9 Chere Donian (23:01); 10 Alrie Velleman (23:11); 11 Megan Hough (23:25); 12 Sharon Viljoen (24:00); 13 Kelly Sparg (24:18); 14 Reze Van Rooyen (26:02); 15 Claire Redman (27:25); 16 Zara Schoeman (27:50); 17 Hannalo Cilliers (32:44); 18 Saadiyah Salie (36:22); 19 Zoe Viljoen (36:37); 20 Natalie Scott (41:01); 21 Heather Ann Coyle-Dowling (41:44);

3km Swim
1 Pj Duffy (42:31); 2 Mc Strydom (43:19); 3 Martin Wolmarans (43:25); 4 Greg Hough (44:51); 5 Mark Edge (44:54); 6 Greg Tucker (46:11); 7 Marnus Kotze (46:16); 8 Shu’Aib Lindoor (47:12); 9 Matthew Tucker (48:00); 10 Ethan Harris (48:03); 11 Gareth MacLear (48:04); 12 Bryce Buret (48:11); 13 Connor Jay (49:55); 14 George Marais (55:07); 15 Nathan Hendricks (00:09); 16 Nicholas Pirie (00:13); 17 Ronnie Doyle (10:39);
LADIES: 1 Lize Muller (43:28); 2 Denise Bosman (44:15); 3 Tiara Finnis (44:20); 4 Teegan Pio (44:37); 5 Zanli Klopper (44:39); 6 Robyn Hough (46:15); 7 Tammy Greenwood (46:20); 8 Alexa Barnard (47:58); 9 Philippa Sparg (48:17); 10 Kate Tinley (50:10); 11 Samantha Mouton (54:03); 12 Lia Kotze (56:19); 13 Elsa Craig (01:23); 14 Josephine Palmerin (02:11); 15 Trevlyn Lotz (04:52);

500m Swim
1 Jan-Daniel Cilliers (07:35); 2 Steffan Rademeyer (10:10); 3 Hinton Douguas (11:17);
LADIES: 1 Neeshaan Salie (10:44); 2 Heidrin Gerber (10:50); 3 Sane Jacobs (11:25); 4 Rushda Jappie (12:32);

Zsports / ZwemZa

Oct 15 18

Ministerial inquiry: D-day for Sascoc

by ZwemZa

Sascoc president Gideon Sam speaks during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Olympic House on June 09, 2018 in Johannesburg.
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) board will meet its lawyers on Sunday to draft a response to the findings and recommendations of a ministerial committee of inquiry.

Sport and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasa has given the beleaguered Olympic governing body until Friday to make its submissions.

This will be its response to the final report on the findings and recommendations of the Zulman Commission of Inquiry, established by Xasa’s predecessor, Thulas Nxesi, to probe allegations of misconduct within Sascoc.

Sascoc was initially given 14 days to respond to the damning report when it was handed to the sports department late last month, but Xasa granted them an extension, her spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga confirmed on Friday.

The deadline lapsed on Wednesday, the day the Sascoc board met to discuss the report – believed to be scathing about Sascoc president Gideon Sam and the federation’s axed chief executive, Tubby Reddy.

City Press – through those who are privy to the contents of the report – has established that the report is critical of Sam’s “dictatorial style of management”.

It also highlights the wasteful expenditure by board members, who pocketed in the region of R2.2 million in annual allowances.

The report did not spare accounting officer Reddy, who, with other board members, was accused of focusing on bickering while the core business of Sascoc, the wellbeing of athletes, was neglected.

When contacted for comment, Sam referred City Press to his vice-president, Barry Hendricks.

Hendricks responded via SMS: “We are meeting the legal person to discuss a draft response on Sunday.

“We’ll send it to the Sascoc board for ratification thereafter and then to the minister, International Olympic Committee [IOC], International Paralympic Committee [IPC] and Commonwealth Games Federation [CWGF]. Extension was granted to
October 19.”

He refused to share the contents of the Zulman report, saying: “We will have to wait for the minister to do that.

“The board met on Wednesday on the matter and we had consultations and sought advice with the IOC, CWGF and IPC,” Hendricks explained.

Mhaga was also reluctant to comment further, saying the minister’s “views will be made public when she makes the report public”.

The ministerial inquiry was established over a year ago to investigate allegations of maladministration and financial irregularities at Sascoc.

The inquiry was chaired by retired Judge Ralph Zulman on a panel that also had former cricket administrator Ali Bacher and labour law expert Shamima Gaibie as members.

During the three-week hearings at Ellis Park Stadium, which ended in March, explosive testimony came to the fore from former and current Sascoc board members, as well as some of the federation’s employees.

The evidence put before Zulman during the hearings also brought to the surface the animosity between Sam and Reddy.

During his submission to the inquiry, Reddy admitted his relationship with his boss had “deteriorated rapidly” over the past couple of years.

He also alleged that Sam manipulated constitutional clauses relating to the eligibility of nominees ahead of the Sascoc elections two years ago.

The battle between Reddy and Sascoc is far from over as the two are set to face off at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in a hearing that will sit from tomorrow to Wednesday.

Reddy is taking Sascoc to the CCMA for unfair dismissal after being axed in January following a disciplinary hearing in December, which he did not attend.

The report is expected to be made public at the end of the month or early next month, according to government insiders.

“It effectively says the Sascoc board is dysfunctional and members must vacate their positions. The recommendations cannot be changed,” said our source.

Oct 15 18

Robben Island swim raises R70k

by ZwemZa

Oneida Cooper (You Tube)

Former national swimmer Oneida Cooper spared a thought of praise for former Robben Island political prisoners after raising R70000 for her non-profit swim school when she completed a swim from the island to Bloubergstrand on Sunday.

“I don’t think there are any words that can describe the feeling of knowing what my father (Dr Saths Cooper) and other political prisoners went through on the island, knowing their freedom was not guaranteed and my knowing that I was swimming for what they have guaranteed and that is freedom for South Africa,” said 25-year-old Oneida.

She and eight supporters began their stamina-sapping swim at 7am to raise funds for her Making Waves Together South Africa NPO swimming school in Johannesburg.

Conditions had not been favourable, with 3m swells throughout their swim, she said.

“It was a very tough 2.5km at the start and I wanted to stop. From there I had another four times that I pleaded with them to take me out of the water.


“If it wasn’t for my brother, Athisten Cooper, my family and friends, and my eight fellow swimmers as well as all the people who donated money to the swim, I would not have been able to pull through.

“We raised about R70000 and definitely see this amount rising.

“Our fundraising does not stop because the swim is over.

“We’ll continue to fundraise,” Oneida said.

She thanked everyone who had been part of her Making Waves Together South Africa NPO fundraiser, which was the first of many accomplishments that were to follow.

Oneida launched Making Waves Together South Africa last year to teach children, as well as adults, to swim.

Her previous swimming achievements include representing South Africa at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in India and the All Africa Junior Championships in 2009, as well as having swam at the Youth Olympics and the Mare Nostrum Series in 2010.

Oct 15 18

YOG BA 2018: Colombia gets gold in an epic final

by ZwemZa

In a very unpredictable final, Daniel Restrepo from Colombia, was the surprising winner of the men’s 3m springboard final, the second event of the diving competition at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Only sixth after the preliminaries, the 2018 junior world champion presented a programme with a total DD of 18.0 for five dives. The problem with difficult dives is that you have to execute them right to justify the option for a riskier presentation. The 18-year-old Colombian not only did them well, but he could also benefit from his main challengers’ weak points.

After the morning session, Lian Junjie (CHN) was the leader in 573.10, and seemed the natural favourite for the victory. Until tonight’s event, China had won all the individual finals at the previous two editions of the Youth Olympic Games, plus the women’s 10m platform on the first day in the Argentinean capital. A total of nine wins without opposition was the outstanding roll of honour for the Asian delegation.

Anthony Harding (GBR)

Until Lian’s first dive in today’s final. Presenting a forward 2 ½ somersaults 2 twists (pike), the Chinese athlete lost the balance when jumping on the board and his feet touched the left side of it before the take-off. The entire flight section of the dive was affected and entry was of course catastrophic. The astonished crowd could not believe on the scoreboard display: 0 points. The idea of a medal vanished in that precise moment.

This hiccup made the final an open field for the remaining competitors. Second after the prelims, Anthony Harding (GBR) seemed in a good position to eventually win the gold, but he lacked one very important thing: risk. Higher Degree of Difficulty. Always very regular in his dives, his total of DD was 15.8, much less than Restrepo. This was the key for the outcome in today’s final.

With a total of 559.50, Harding earned silver and recognised this weak point. “This was in fact what was missing. But it was an option done by my coach together with me. I have more difficult dives in my programme, but we haven’t presented them here. However, I am very happy on the way this final unfolded. I was not expecting this outcome”, confessed the 18-year-old.

Rusland Ternovoi (RUS)

The bronze went to Ruslan Ternovoi (RUS), in 551.20. An excellent result for the European diver, who was ninth after the heats. His final dive was decisive for this successful outcome. Performing a reverse 1 ½ somersaults with 3 ½ twists (DD 3.5), he got marks from 8.0 to 8.5 for a total of 84.00.

Matthew Carter, from Australia, third after the morning competition, could not reach the podium, concluding in fourth. Also presenting a difficult programme, he had serious problems with a 109C (forward 4 ½ somersaults, tuck), a circumstance that definitively dictated his fate in the final.

“I wasn’t expected this result. Despite my world title, I didn’t think so much in the medal, but rather in improving my personal best. But, step by step, I managed to get there”, confessed the Colombian gold medallist.

“It’s true I had a very high DD, you risk a lot, but with good training and sacrifice, these dives become a routine, the body gets used to them, they become easier to perform”, he added. When asked if a new Colombian diving icon is born, after Orlando Duque (one of the most well-known high divers in the planet), Restrepo could not avoid a smile: “The world will know me. I hope the people will see me at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. I have to work a lot, but it’s one of my main goals. But if I don’t get there this time, there are still Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028”.

The men’s 3m springboard podium

“Today, I wasn’t expecting the failure of my Chinese colleague. He missed the first dive, then succeeded in the rest of the competition. But I’ve also done well. I didn’t win because he failed, I performed myself very well”, he confessed. “I train in Medellin, where they support me a lot. In Colombia, however, we don’t have a venue like this – we have an outdoor pool, and the boards don’t have these conditions. We want the authorities to support us, and I hope my success will help on this”, he continued.

“I will surely have a lot of media attention in Colombia – I will do it, not just because I have to do it, but because I like to do it. I like to stress out that sport is the solution for many problems and for many challenges the youth is facing nowadays”, Restrepo concluded.

Pedro Adrega, FINA Communications Department

Oct 15 18

YOG BA 2018: “Grab your chance, aim high!”

by ZwemZa

In the pool deck, as a member of the FINA Technical Diving Committee, she remains discreet, making sure with her colleagues that everything is in place for the optimal organisation of the diving events at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires (ARG). She is happy to be on the “other side” of the curtain, after an amazing career that ended after the 2016 Olympics in Rio 2016. By then, she had accumulated five Games’ gold medals and had been 10 times on the podium (including six on the highest march) of the FINA World Championships. She is one of the best divers in history: Chen Ruolin, from China.

Competing at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona (ESP)

Competing in 10m platform, she earned gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London, respectively, in the individual and synchro event. In Brazil, two years ago, she partnered with Liu Huixia and obtained a last title in the 10m platform synchro. Shortly after, she announced her retirement. In her 10 successful years as a top-level athlete (she first shone at the 2006 FINA World Cup, with the gold in the 10m synchro event), she also collected 10 medals at the FINA showcase, from 2007 to 2015, including five consecutive titles in the synchro competition. She is, along with 3m springboard queen Guo Jingjing, one of the most recognisable faces in Chinese diving and certainly one of the world icons of the discipline.

In 2014, at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing (CHN), she was chosen as the last torch bearer of the Olympic flame, confirming her status of Chinese star. “I was very excited to have the Youth Olympic Games in our country. As the last torch bearer, I felt very honoured to be in that position and it is still an exceptional memory for me!”, confesses Chen.

Meeting old friends in Buenos Aires: Rommel Pacheco (MEX), on the left, and Roseline Filion (CAN), on the right

Despite not having competed in this event, the Chinese great considers that it is “an excellent opportunity for the younger athletes”. And she proceeds: “If the time could go back, I would very much appreciate competing in the YOG. It is very important that this competition exists, as it can gather athletes from this age group, who don’t have so many opportunities to compete internationally at this level. It’s a terrific experience for these athletes, as they are also aware of the Olympic ideals from an early stage”.

Elected “FINA Best Female Diver of the Year” in 2010, Chen has no doubts that the YOG can be a good platform to the young divers: “It’s a continuous progress, a step-by-step road, in which you acquire more experience and you improve your condition. You get more mature, and your development is progressing”, she says.

Gold at the 2012 Olympics in London (GBR)

As an inspirational model for all those competing in Buenos Aires, she gives her philosophy on how to succeed in such a demanding sport: “Try always your best, not only to get medals, but also gold medals. Aim always high, grab you chance, so that your country can also be proud of your achievements”. And for the ones that may doubt of their performances, she leaves a wise advice: “Everything is possible! Each and every athlete competing here has his/her chance. Not only the ones getting a medal, but all of them”.

Besides being part of the FINA Technical Diving Committee, Chen is also trying to give her precious contribution to the development of diving in China, the world powerhouse in the discipline. “After I retired, I went to university to study Administration Management. Now, I am starting working on this area with the staff leading our sport in China. It’s a good opportunity and I am happy to be helping in this area”, she concludes.

Pedro Adrega, FINA Communications Department

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