9 November 2010
South African swimmers Darian Townsend and Roland Schoeman finished second and third respectively in the final standings after the completion of the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup in Stockholm, Sweden, on Sunday.
The men’s title went to Brazil’s Thiago Pereira, while Sweden’s Therese Alshammar won the women’s title.
Alshammar previously topped the World Cup standings in 2006 and 2007. She placed second in 2008 and 2009.
South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh had won the men’s title for the past two years, but this year opted out of the series early on to recover at home from a tiring season.
In his absence, Roland Schoeman dominated the 50 metres breaststroke throughout the series. In 2009, he had been good enough to beat Van der Burgh, the world record holder in the event, twice. With Van der Burgh not around, Schoeman went virtually unchallenged.
The 50 metres breaststroke was not the only sprint race in which Schoeman excelled. He also shone in the butterfly and freestyle sprints.
In the last two events of the series, in Moscow on 2-3 November and in Stockholm on 6-7 November, he won the 50m freestyle both times, the 50m breaststroke on both occasions, and was third and first in the butterfly respectively.
Displaying similar consistency throughout the series, Schoeman was undoubtedly the leading performer in the sprints.
In total, he won the freestyle four times, the breaststroke an equal number of times, and the butterfly five times, for a total of 13 victories. He also achieved the best times recorded in those three events.
Fina Points table
The final standings are not calculated on the number of wins, however, but on points according to the Fina Points Table, which assigns a value to the time achieved by a swimmer.
Thus, Pereira achieved what proved to be his winning score at the very first meet in Rio in which his 200 metres individual medley time was worth 969 points.
Townsend had to play second fiddle to Pereira in the individual medley, but his performances were also of a very high standard and earned him second place on the podium and a cheque for US$50 000.
South African swimmers featured prominently throughout the World Cup and achieved numerous podium places. Those that achieved at least one victory included Roland Schoeman, Cameron van der Burgh, Darian Townsend, Lyndon Ferns, and Jessica Pengelly.
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