Istanbul hosts swimming stars at world champs

Istanbul hosts swimming stars at world champs

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul hosts swimming stars at world champs

Around 900 athletes, including Olympic champions, will feature at the 2012 FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships in Istanbul. AFP photo

İstanbul is ready to host the world’s top swimmers at the 2012 FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships, which starts today and will continue until the end of the week at the Sinan Erdem Dome.

Around 900 athletes, including Olympic champions such as U.S. swimming icon Ryan Lochte, France’s Florent Manaudou, Italian Federica Pellegrini and Hungarian Laszlo Cseh, will take to the pool.
Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç said Istanbul was “brimming with excitement” for the event.

“The fact that Istanbul is the European Capital City of Sports boosts our excitement. Istanbul is also a candidate city for the 2020 Olympics, which multiplies our excitement even more,” he said at a conference yesterday. “We regard this tournament very highly. We hope Turkey focuses more on swimming after this competition.”

The tournament will be held at the Sinan Erdem Dome, a multi-functional sports hall in Istanbul. Originally built for basketball games, the dome has served as a tennis court for the WTA  Championships over the past two years. Following the year-end tennis tournament, work was undertaken to turn the dome into a swimming arena in just seven days.

‘The greatest’

The president of swimming’s international governing body, FINA, said Istanbul would host “the greatest” short course championship.

Istanbul hosts swimming stars at world champs“This will be the greatest competition, with 109 different events,” Dr. Julio C. Maglione said. “We will witness some unforgettable moments.”

The Turkish Swimming Federation chairman Ahmet Bozdoğan hopes the competition will be a spring board for Turkish swimming.

“It would be wrong to name names, but we have four athletes that have been working intensively for two and a half years,” he said. “They are İskender Başlakov, Buse Gündaydın, Burcu Dolunay and Arda Gürdal. They have the capacity to advance to the final and even contend for medals.”

Last month, Turkish swimmers set 22 national records at the European Short Course Championships, while they advanced to the finals 13 times, a postive result for a country with little tradition in the sport.

Today’s program

Morning session (starts at 10 am)
Men’s 200m Freestyle heats
Women’s 50m Breaststroke heats
Men’s 100m Backstroke heats
Women’s 200m Butterfly heats
Men’s 100m Breaststroke heats
Women’s 100m Backstroke heats
Men’s 100m Butterfly heats
Women’s 400m Individual Medley heats
Men’s 4x100m Freestyle heats
Women’s 4x200m Freestyle heats

Evening session (starts at 7 pm)
Men’s 200m Freestyle final
Women’s 50m Breaststroke semifinals
Men’s 100m Backstroke semifinals
Women’s 200m Butterfly final
Women’s 100m Breaststroke final
Women’s 100m Backstroke final
Men’s 100m Butterfly semifinals
Women’s 400m Individual Medley final
Men’s 4x100m Freestyle final
Women’s 4x200m Freestyle final