22 February 2005
South African Olympic gold medal hero Ryk Neethling confirmed his dominance of the FINA World Cup swimming series by winning five events in Brazil over the weekend, taking his victory total to 21 in the series.
In addition, the 1 108 points he earned on the FINA points table for his world record setting time of 51.52 seconds in the 100 metres individual medley in New York went unchallenged, confirming him as the winner of the overall title – and a US$50 000 cheque.
21 wins, big rewards
The overall title, coupled with his 21 wins, meant that Neethling won over half-a-million rand in the eight-meet competition.
At Belo Horizonte on Saturday, he won the 100 metres freestyle with ease in 47.50. He followed that up with an even easier win in the 100 metres individual medley in 52.77, then completed the day with a third victory in the 50 metres butterfly in 23.17.
On Sunday he was again victorious in the 50 metres freestyle in a hasty 21.44, matching the time he recorded in New York, which was the fastest of the entire series.
Neethling’s five wins emulated his feat in Australia, where he was successful in the 100m freestyle, 100m medley, 50m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 50m freestyle.
It looked like Roland Schoeman would be South Africa’s top performer after he won three events, finished second in one and third in another in the first meet of the 2004/2005 season, in Durban in November.
Neethling notched up two victories, two second places and two thirds, but twice had to settle for second to his Olympic teammate, and finished third to Schoeman’s second in the 50m butterfly.
The next time out, though, Neethling, admittedly in the absence of Schoeman, showed he meant business with his five-win performance in Melbourne.
Both swimmers skipped the meet in Daejon, South Korea. In Stockholm, it again appeared that Schoeman would be the man to beat when he won the 100m individual medley in world record time and equaled the World Cup record in the 100m freestyle. He also outsprinted Neethling in the 50m freestyle.
Ready for something special
Although he was second to Schoeman in the 100m freestyle and 100m medley, and took third in the 50m freestyle, Neethling swam a very hasty 1:43.01 to win the 200m freestyle, and with the advantage of hindsight, that was an indication that he was ready for something special.
That special performance came in the 100m individual medley in Berlin, as he smashed Schoeman’s recently set world record with a time of 52.11.
At the next meet in Moscow he again lowered the mark, touching in 52.01.
Then, in New York, he obliterated the mark he set in Russia, clocking 51.52, the performance that would win him the overall World Cup title.
Neethling put the cherry on the top with his second five-win performance in Brazil.
Neethling’s World Cup results
- 2nd 400m freestyle, 3:43.79
- 2nd 100m freestyle, 47.49
- 1st 100m individual medley, 53.13
- 2nd 50m freestyle, 21.83
- 3rd 50m butterfly, 23.61
- 1st 200m freestyle, 1:45.11
- 1st 100m freestyle, 46.94
- 1st 100m individual medley 53.01
- 1st 50m butterfly, 23.44
- 1st 200m freestyle, 1:43.79
- 4th 100m butterfly, 51.84
- 1st 50m freestyle, 21.68
Did not participate
- 2nd 100m freestyle, 47.01
- 2nd 100m individual medley, 52.61
- 1st 200m freestyle, 1:43.01
- 3rd 50m freestyle, 21.71
- 1st 100m individual medley, 52.11, world record
- 1st 200m freestyle, 1:42.75
- 3rd 50m freestyle, 21.60
- 1st 100m freestyle, 47.30
- 1st 100m individual medley, 52.01, world record
- 2nd 200m freestyle, 1:46.72
- 1st 200m individual medley, 1:57.22
- 3rd 50m freestyle, 22.03
- 2nd 100m freestyle, 47.03
- 1st 100m individual medley, 51.52, world record
- 1st 200m freestyle, 1:43.12
- 1st 50m freestyle, 21.44
- 1st 100m freestyle, 47.50
- 1st 100m individual medley, 52.77
- 1st 50m butterfly, 23.17
- 1st 200m freestyle, 1:45.35
- 1st 50m freestyle, 21.44