Scott Tucker flew down to Rio de Janeiro for Thanksgiving to enjoy some southern hemisphere summer sun, check out the action at Ipanema and, oh yeah, compete at the FINA World Cup III meet. It was a good decision.
The Auburn University graduate, known primarily as a freestyle sprinter, walked away with two victories, taking both the 100m individual medley (56.44) and the 200 IM (2:01.94).
In a meet in which the men’s events were dominated by Brazilians, Tucker was one of only three Americans to strike gold. Brock Newman took the 100m fly in 53.76 while Gabrielle Rose, a Stanford grad who formerly represented Brazil, took the women’s 100m IM in 1:03.14.
Brazilian national hero Gustavo Borges won the 100 free in a strong 48.57, nearly a second ahead of Canada’s Yannick Lupien (49.46). Newman was fourth (49.72) and Tucker fifth (49.94). Borges also emerged the winner in the 200 free, but not before countryman Edvaldo Silva gave the veteran Olympian a scare. Borges finished in 1:48.47, 21-hundredths ahead of Silva.
The 50 free saw a match-up that featured potential Olympic finalists Fernando Scherer (BRA), Lorenzo Vismara (ITA) and Bill Pilczuk (USA), the 1998 world champion. Vismara won with surprising ease, his 22.13 almost four-tenths ahead of Scherer (22.52), the hometown favorite, with Pilczuk fourth (22.71).
Brazil’s Luiz Lima, a finalist at the 1998 world championships won the 400 and 1500m freestyle events, pressed in both races.
Rogerio Romero swept all three men’s backstroke events, clocking strong times of 25.35 for the 50, 54.21 for the 100 and 1:55.78 for the 200. In the 50 he led a one-two-three Brazilian sweep.
Hungary’s Norbert Rosza, an Olympic and world champion on the comeback trail, won the 100 (1:01.69) and 200m breaststroke (2:13.69) while newcomer Eduardo Fischer of Brazil took the 50 (28.65).
Croatia’s Milos Milosevic took the 50 fly (23.89) as expected, squeaking by Scherer (23.97, 23.94p). A 17-year-old Canadian, Adam Sioui, took the 200m fly in 1:57.66, while Italy’s Massi Eroli took the 400 IM (4:19.99).
Brazilians women won only two events, but both winners were youngsters who showed a great deal of poise and promise. Flavia Delaroli lit up the pads at 25.88 in the 50 free, 15-hundredths ahead of countrywoman Tatiana Lemos. In the 100, 15-year-old Rebeca Gusmao won in 56.73, a scant one–hundredth of a second ahead of Lemos, as four Brazilians swam 57.2 or better.
In an odd coincidence, each of the three events for each nonfreestyle stroke, was won by the same swimmer. Spain’s Nina Zhivanevskaya swept all three backstroke races as she did a week earlier in Edmonton, clocking 28.61 for the 50, 1:00.85 for the 100 and 2:10.89 for the 200, each time beating Brazil’s much-improved Fabiola Molina to the wall.
China’s Qi Hui, just 14, duplicated Zhivanevskaya’s sweep, taking all three breaststroke events with times of 32.42, 1:08.41 and 2:27.83. As with the backstroke events, the same swimmer–Australia’s Katie Clewett– finished second in all three breaststroke races.
Sweden’s Johanna Sjoberg also pulled a hat trick by running away with the three butterfly events, winning handily in 26.71 for the 50, 59.37 for the 100 and 2:11.35 for the 200. Australia’s Carmen Cosgrove was runner-up all three times.
China’s Chen Hua won the 400 (4:10.32) and 800 free (8:34.27), beating Britain’s Stacey Holdsworth each time. Holdsworth emerged the winner in the 200 free (2:01.38). After finishing second to Rose in the 100 IM, Romania’s Beatrice Coada-Caslaru won the 200 (2:11.82) and 400 (4:44.72) medleys.