By John Lohn
Photos by Peter H. Bick
MONTREAL, Canada, July 30. THE fastest man in the world is Roland Schoeman. Dominating the field from the start, the South African posted the second-fastest time in history in the 50-meter freestyle, as his 21.69 clocking on Saturday night delivered a convincing decision. Schoeman’s time has only been topped by the legendary Alex Popov, who cranked a 21.64 effort in 2000.
Schoeman has enjoyed a sterling World Championships, as he set a world record earlier in the week en route to gold in the 50 butterfly. He also claimed silver in the 100 freestyle. This performance arrived a year after Schoeman walked away from the Athens Olympics with a three-medal haul, including gold in a world-record time in the 400 free relay.
The Olympic silver medalist in the event, Croatia’s Duje Draganja repeated that showing, as he finished behind Schoeman in 21.89. Draganja was swimming out of Lane 7, but powered through the one-lap sprint to maintain his elite status. Poland’s Bartosz Kizierowski also broke the 22-second barrier with a mark of 21.94. Kizierowski entered the final as the second seed.
Algeria’s Salim Iles touched the wall in fourth (22.15) and the fifth position was occupied by Russia’s Andrey Kapralov (22.16). The United States’ Nick Brunelli followed in sixth place with a time of 22.25 and France’s Fred Bousquet checked in at 22.44 for seventh. Spain’s Eduard Lorente rounded out the field in eighth with a mark of 22.46.