South Africa’s Chad le Clos shakes hands with Japan’s Daiya Seto after winning the men’s 200m butterfly final during the FINA Swimming World Cup 2012 in Dubai, October 2, 2012. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
No less than 130 swimmers from 32 nations will compete on October 2-3 in the first leg of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup 2012, taking place in Dubai (UAE). This year, the prestigious 25m series will stop in eight locations: after the United Arab Emirates, the circuit will be organised in Doha (QAT, a première, on October 6-7), Stockholm (SWE, October 13-14), Moscow (RUS, October 17-18), Berlin (GER, October 20-21), Beijing (CHN, November 2-3), Tokyo (JPN, November 6-7) and Singapore (SIN, November 10-11).
In Dubai, at the superb Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, where was held in 2010 the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), South Africans Chad Le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh will be the athletes to beat among men, while Therese Alshammar (SWE) is the main star in the women’s field.
Le Clos was the overall winner of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup in 2011 and got the 2012 Olympic gold in the 200m butterfly, beating Michael Phelps in a thrilling race. Van der Burgh, Olympic champion with a new World Record in the 100m breaststroke is also an experienced athlete in the World Cup series, having triumphed in 2008 and 2009.
Therese Alshammar, 35 years old, is an example of successful longevity in swimming, and also excelled in this competition, being the women’s winner in 2006 and 2007, and again in 2010 and 2011.
The major competitive novelty for this 2012 edition, which will distribute over $1.2 million in prize money to the best swimmers in the series, is the introduction of mixed relays, the 4x50m medley and 4x50m free. Firstly swum at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore (SIN), this event is contested by two male and two female swimmers from the same country, with the order of appearance being decided by each of the teams.