Short Course World Champs, Day 4: Rupprath Continues His Fine Form, Dominating 100 IM Semifinals

INDIANAPOLIS, October 10. Newly minted 50 backstroke world champion Thomas Rupprath (GER) leads the qualifiers for tomorrows final in the 100 individual medley.

Rupprath holds the world record and was only 0.30 outside that mark with his :52.88 semifinal swim. His butterfly-backstroke was again impressive, tonight :23.48. 200 IM winner Thiago Pereira of Brazil was second in Rupprath’s heat for third position overall (:54.23).

The second qualifier is an interesting player, as in game player. Peter Mankoc (SLO) was also split out under 24 seconds (:23.95), leading his heat by over a second at the 50 meter mark. He didn’t lose any significant portion of his lead on the breast stroke and started well on freestyle. But about half way down the final leg he began to look more like the age groupers whose parents paid for the right for the kids to “Chase the Champions” by swimming a 50 in the competition tank between sessions, with their names flashing on the scoreboard.

Mankoc lifted his pace a bit again in the last five yards when Mihail Alexandrov’s big back half began to pay dividends (:54.53, fifth overall), helping him close effectively on Mankoc. Peter eventually touched second overall at :53.86. Mankoc has an appreciable, but difficult to measure, improvement in his grasp for the taking. It looked like it will be enough to at least challenge Rupprath and be in range of the German’s world record.

It took :55.31 from Ugur Orel Oral of Turkey to reach the final. Oral is a great story in this meet as he swam for University of Indianapolis (D2) and continues to live and train here in Indianapolis.

— D. Scott