WARENDORF, Germany, November 22. THE Australian Life Saving Team has collected five medals, including a relay gold on the opening day’s competition at the prestigious German Cup Pool Rescue Lifesaving Championships in Warendorf.
After a record-breaking opening day the nine-strong Australian team finished with one gold, three silver and one bronze medal in a sizzling session of swimming that saw two World and four European records set.
The Australian women’s 4x50m freestyle with obstacles team of Mariah Jones, Christina Ruiz, Pam Hendry and Rachelle King won a thrilling finish with Italy and Germany to grab Australia’s gold by just 0.09 in a time of 1:55.18.
The favourites Italy clocked 1:55.27 for the silver with the German foursome taking bronze in 1:57.59.
NSW Central Coast swimmer Tim Schofield (Terrigal SLSC/ Hills Lifesaving Club) produced the outstanding individual performances of the day for the Australian team highlighted by his silver medal winning swim behind New Zealand Olympian Steven Kent in the glamour 200m freestyle with obstacles in a new Australian record time of 1:56.82.
Kent, who swam the 4x200m freestyle for the Kiwis in London, set a new European record of 1:54.65 to take the gold with Italy’s Daniele Sanna winning bronze in 1:57.81.
In one of the best fields ever assembled outside a World Championships, Italy’s previous European record holder Federico Pinotti — the man described as “the Shannon Eckstein of Pool rescue” was fourth (1:57.88) and Australia’s London Olympian, Ryan Napoleon a creditable sixth (1:58.78) in only his second major pool rescue competition.
Australia’s Sam Bell showed the depth of the Australian men to finish seventh in 1:59.10.
Schofield was again to the fore and setting records of his own when he led the men’s 50m manikin carry to produce five of the fastest times ever swum by Australians.
Schofield clocked a brilliant 29.90s to become the fastest Australian of all time and briefly hold the Commonwealth record after winning the second last heat.
The Commonwealth mark was then bettered in the final heat by South African Armand Marais who won the gold in 29.22.
The rest of the men’s team aimed up and produced outstanding results with a 30.13s to Bowden, 30.65s to Bell, 31.13s to Napoleon and 31.44s to Bundaberg’s junior rookie Matt Davis.
The Australian boys then combined with team captain Bowden to take silver in the 4x50m freestyle with obstacles, smashing the Australian record by three seconds as they went head-to-head with world record holders Germany.
In the end it was Germany (1:38.61) who were just 0.36secs outside their own world mark of 1:38.25 set in Cali, Columbia earlier this year with the Australian team of Schofield, Napoleon, Bell and Bowden setting a new Australian record of 1:38.94 ahead of the Netherlands (1:39.33).
The boys also smashed their second Australian record of the day in the 4×25 manikin relay — clocking 1:09.86 — taking a staggering three seconds off the previous mark they set at the BeNe Cup in Eindhoven last weekend — improving the time by five seconds in a week.
The Australian women’s 4x25m manikin relay team of Ruiz, Hendry, King and Jones claimed the green and gold’s third silver of the day in a great race with the Belgians who broke their own world record in a time of 1:21.37.
Australia won the silver in 1:26.64 ahead of Japan (1:26.85).
The women’s 50m manikin carry saw a new world record swim by Kiwi Laura Quilter who took over half-as-second off Italian Elena Prelle’s long-standing world record of 35.26 with an impressive time of 34.74s.
Quilter, a former New Zealand 50m butterfly National champion and Oceania representative, smashed the previous mark that had stood since 2006.
The Australian women, led by rookie Jones all finished in the top 18, with Jones smashing out a 1.4secs personal best to finish fifth in 36.53 in a welcome return to form.
Australia’s National Head Coach Danny Short, who has next year’s World Championships in France high on the team’s radar said: “These results were just what we were after.
“However, there is still improvement to be made if we are to be competitive next year in France.
“Our rate of improvement has been good and equally as important is the fact we are swimming for each other with a collective goal.
“Our challenge now is to maintain our momentum.”
Find all the results of the 22nd German Cup at http://www.dlrg.de/sw/sport/wettkaempfe/aktueller-wettkampf/ergebnisse.html
Australian Lifesaving Team, European Tour, 2013:
Andrew Bowden (Bronte SLSC/ Hills Lifesaving Club)
Sam Bell (Maroochydore SLSC/ Port Hacking Lifeguard Club)
Tim Schofield (Terrigal SLSC/ Hills Lifesaving Club)
Matt Davis (Moore Park SLSC)
Ryan Napoleon (Northcliffe SLSC)
Rachelle King (Terrigal SLSC/ Hills Lifesaving Club)
Christina Ruiz (Northcliffe SLSC)
Pam Hendry (Maroochydore SLSC/ Port Hacking Lifeguard Club)
Mariah Jones ( Tweed Heads Coolangatta)
Head Coach: Danny Short (Maroochydore)
Asst Coach / Team Manager: Wade Sinclair (Picnic Bay)
Physiotherapist: Nick Marshall ( Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park )
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