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PR41 - Good medal hauls for China, Germany and Australia in Rostock

Germany’s diving hopefuls did well at home during the International Diving Day competition held in Rostock (GER) from June 6-8. The event was the 6th leg of this year’s 14th FINA Diving Grand Prix series. Although the Chinese diving delegation was most successful, with a haul of nine medals (including five gold), the Germans earned seven awards, of which three were gold. The Australian team also performed well to win five medals (three silver and two bronze). As detailed below, multiple medals went to Zhang Xin Hua (CHN), and home-hero Sascha Klein, who continues to reign supreme off the platform in advance of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, while dominant female divers included platform-ace Wang Hao (CHN) and Australian divers Melissa Wu and Sharleen Stratton. The women’s 3m springboard synchro event was a particularly nice result for Germany, whose pairs took two medals. The seventh and last event of the 2008 Grand Prix will be held in Rome (ITA) from June 13-15. MEDALLISTS in Rostock: MEN 3m springboard: 1. Zhang Xin Hua (CHN) 514.80; 2. Aleksandr Dobroskok (RUS) 491.70; 3. Pavlo Rozenberg (GER) 490.6510m platform: 1. Sascha Klein (GER) 535.80; 2. Matthew Mitcham (AUS) 516.90; 3. Ying Hong (CHN) 511.35 3m springboard synchro: 1. Luo Yu Tong/Zhang Xin Hua (CHN) 432.27; 2. Sascha Klein/Pavlo Rozenberg (GER) 405.09; 3. Robert Newbery/Scott Robertson (AUS) 402.06 10m platform synchro: 1. Sascha Klein/Patrick Hausding (GER) 476.64; 2. Dmitry Dobroskok/Gleb Galperin (RUS) 464.94; 3. Ying Hong/Zhang Chen (CHN) 437.55 WOMEN 3m springboard: 1. He Zi (CHN) 362.45; 2. Wang Han (CHN) 317.00; 3. Sharleen Stratton (AUS) 313.90 10m platform: 1. Wang Hao (CHN) 448.50; 2. Melissa Wu (AUS) 381.60; 3. Cao Jing Zhen (CHN) 379.25 3m springboard synchro: 1. Heike Fischer/Ditte Kotzian (GER) 319.89; 2. Briony Cole/Sharleen Stratton (AUS) 317.40; 3. Katja Dieckow/Nora Subschinski (GER) 300.60 10m platform synchro: 1. Wang Hao/Kang Li (CHN) 351.48; 2. Meaghan Benfeito/Roseline Filion (CAN) 324.54; 3. Annett Gamm/Nora Subschinski (GER) 320.16

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09Jun2008

PR40 - Eleven women and ten men qualify for first Olympic 10km swim

The 10km Marathon Swimming Olympic test event finished on June 1 at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in the Shunyi District of Beijing (CHN). The women’s race (along with the invitational event for both men and women) commenced at 9am on Saturday, May 31, while the men’s race took place on Sunday. A total of seventy swimmers from about 30 nations participated in the races. It was 16-year old Chloe Sutton (USA) who prevailed in the women’s 10km event with a time of 2:00:48.5, ahead of silver-medallist Martina Grimaldi (ITA), who finished in 2:01:19.7. Bronze went to another Italian, Alice Franco (2:01:36.5). As such, Grimaldi and Sutton were among the 11 women who qualified for the inaugural Olympic event, although Franco, despite her high-rank, did not qualify, as only one swimmer per National Federation was entitled to qualification through this competition. In the men’s field, it was the Bulgarian open water swimming legend Petar Stoychev (BUL) that took gold with a time of 1:59:13.8, followed by second-place finisher Csaba Gercsak (HUN) in 1:59.17.7 and bronze-medallist Rostislav Vitek (CZE) in 1:59:35.5.Rounding out the list of women who will return in two months for the Beijing Games are the following: Marianna Lymperta (GRE) 4th in 2:02:10.7, Nataliya Samorodina (UKR) 5th at 2:02:35.3, Kristel Kobrich (CHI) 6th in 2:02:47.8, Imelda Martinez (MEX) 7th at 2:02:49.5, Eva Berglund (SWE) 9th at 2:03:54.6, Teja Zupan (SLO) 10th in 2:04:25.5, Antonella Bogarin (ARG) 12th at 2:04:27.3, Olga Beresneva (ISR) 13th at 2:04:27.4, and Daniela Inacio (POR) 14th at 2:04:29.6. In addition to the men’s medallists, the following swimmers qualified: Chad Ho (RSA) 4th at 1:59:37.6, Erwin Maldonado (VEN) 5th at 1:59:37.9, Allan Do Carmo (BRA) 6th at 1:59:38.8, Damian Blaum (ARG) 7th at 1:59:39.1, Daniel Katzir (ISR) 9th at 1:59:39.5, Jose Francisco Hervas (ESP) 11th at 1:59:40.4, and Arseniy Lavrentyev (POR)14th at 1:59:54.1.Furthermore, Alejandra Gonzalez (MEX) finished in a respectable 8th place, but did not gain qualification because her compatriot Martinez filled-out the one-swimmer-per-nation quota allowed for in this qualifier. Likewise, Nika Kozamernik (SLO) missed qualification despite her solid 11th place finish, as fellow Slovenian Zupan took the 10th, and better, spot. The same rule applied to the men’s field, where other notable finishes included Jakub Fichtl (CZE), 8th with a time of 1:59:39.2, Rolando Salas (VEN) 10th at 1:59:39.7, Diego Nogueira (ESP) 12th at 1:59:40.8, and Michael Dmitriev (ISR) 13th at 1:59:45.1.

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02Jun2008

PR39 - China takes it all in the last leg in Nanjing

China largely dominated the third and last leg of the 2008 FINA Diving World Series, held in Nanjing (CHN), on May 30-31, by getting eight gold medals out of the eight events at stake. With a couple of months until the Olympic Games, also at home (in Beijing), the Chinese stars made it clear that they will be the nation-to-beat in the major international competition of the year.

Medallists in Nanjing (CHN)
Men 3m springboard: 1. He Chong (CHN) 543.30; 2. Qin Kai (CHN) 508.50; 3. Yahel Castillo (MEX) 461.5510m platform: 1. Zhou Luxin (CHN) 581.60; 2. Jose Guerra Oliva (CUB) 524.75; 3. Rommel Pacheco (MEX) 489.00Synchro 3m springboard: 1. Kai Qin/Feng Wang (CHN) 471.75; 2. Nick Robinson-Baker/Ben Swain (GBR) 431.79; 3. Dmitry Sautin/Yuri Kunakov (RUS) 424.53Synchro 10m platform: 1. Li Mengqiang/Wang Zihao (CHN) 449.07; 2. Oleg Vikulov/Konstantin Khanbekov (RUS) 434.52; 3. Jose Guerra Oliva/Erick Fornaris (CUB) 422.46Women 3m springboard: 1. Minxia Wu (CHN) 377.50; 2. Blythe Hartley (CAN) 371.55; 3. Anna Lindberg (SWE) 331.2010m platform: 1. Ruolin Chen (CHN) 456.40; 2. Emilie Heymans (CAN) 390.50; 3. Paola Espinosa (MEX) 382.20Synchro 3m springboard: 1. Minxia Wu/Jingjing Guo (CHN) 338.10; 2. Anastasia Pozdniakova/Yulia Pakhalina (RUS) 329.34; 3. Tandi Gerrard/Hayley Sage (GBR) 272.19Synchro 10m platform: 1. Wang Xin/Chen Ruolin (CHN) 375.48; 2. Emilie Heymans/Marie-Eve Marleau (CAN) 353.58; 3. Tatiana Ortiz/Paola Espinosa (MEX) 348.69
Overall winners (by events) of the 2008 FINA Diving World Series:
MEN3m springboard: Kai Qin (CHN), 48 points10m platform: Zhou Luxin (CHN), 36 pointsSynchro 3m springboard: Kai Qin/Feng Wang (CHN), 81 pointsSynchro 10m platform: Oleg Vikulov/Konstantin Khanbekov (RUS), 51 pointsWOMEN3m springboard: Minxia Wu (CHN), 48 points10m platform: Paola Espinosa (MEX), 50 pointsSynchro 3m springboard: Jingjing Guo/Minxia Wu (CHN), 81 pointsSynchro 10m platform: Marie-Eve Marleau/Emilie Heymans (CAN), 75 points

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31May2008

PR38 - Test event welcomes swimmers with various goals

Approximately 70 athletes from 32 countries will compete in the ‘Good Luck Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Marathon Swimming Qualification 2008’ that will be held on May 31-June 1. Coinciding with the qualification event is a separate invitational 10km competition for both men and women, which begins 20mins after the start of the qualifier. Thus, some athletes on site will be seeking a berth to the inaugural Olympic marathon swimming event this August, some will be there just for the experience of swimming on an Olympic site, while others (those who have already earned Olympic qualification) will be there to test the course and practice in advance of the big event in August. Regardless of the athletes’ motives, the races will be both entertaining and exciting. For those who missed gaining Olympic qualification at the 5th FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Seville (ESP) from May 3-8 (either through a top-10 finish or through continental representation procedures), this is the last chance to do it. It is also a grand opportunity for up-and-coming open water swimmers from around the world to test their skills against the best in a thrilling environment. And of course, this event is crucial for organisers of the Bejing Olympic Games to try-out their beautiful Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing and Marathon Swimming Park facilities. The entry list of competitors indicates the races will be intense. Just to name a few to watch in the women’s field, Chloe Sutton and Kirsten Groome from the USA will be seeking a solid result, as well as Kristel Kobrich (CHI), Andreina and Yanel Pinto from Venezuela, Alejandra Gonzalez and Imelda Martinez of Mexico, Rita Kovacs and Erika Hajnal of Hungary, and Teja Zupan (SLO), who finished a very respectable 13th in Seville. Melissa Gorman (AUS) and Poliana Okimoto (BRA) are also expected to compete, both of whom have qualified for Beijing.In the men’s field, Diego Nogueira (ESP), the 12th place finisher in Seville, will swim, as well as the legendary Petar Stoychev (BUL), Damian Blaum (ARG), Luis Escobar (MEX), Jakub Fichtl and Rostislav Vitek (CZE), and Chad Ho (RSA). Additionally, a Chinese group of swimmers will be looking to impress at home, including Li Xue in the women’s field, and Lijun Zu among the men. The women’s races take place on Saturday, May 31 at 09:00 for the qualifier and 09:20 for the invitational. The men’s races take place the following day at the same times.

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30May2008

PR37 - Second stage starts tomorrow in Sheffield, GBR

Excitement is building for the second leg of the FINA Diving World Series 2008, to be held May 24-25 in Sheffield, GBR. This event is stacked with high-profile names, as many of the world’s best will use the event to test their skills and gauge their competition ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games this summer. World Series participants all aim to win a share of the US$ 480,000 in total prize money distributed to the Series winners, comprised of US$ 96,000 per meet and US$ 192,000 after the conclusion of all legs of the competition. Fans will be able to watch the Sheffield stop over the weekend via live streaming on www.fina.org. The LIVE Webcast of the Finals will begin: 24 May at 12:30 (GMT) and 25 May at 12:45 (GMT). As usual, China will send a formidable diving delegation, including Minxia Wu, Xin Wang, Chen Ruolin, and the great Jingjing Guo, while the men’s competition will face the likes of Kai Qin, Luxin Zhou and Yue Lin. However, the first World Series 2008 meet, which was held in Tijuana, Mexico, proved the outcomes are unpredictable when the competitive field is so deep. In Mexico, it was the home divers that stole the show, with Paola Espinosa and Yahel Castillo taking gold in the women’s platform and men’s springboard respectively. The men’s synchro platform meanwhile, went to the Russian duo Oleg Vikulov and Konstantin Khanbekov. In Sheffield, eyes will be on the British divers eager to impress at home, especially the prodigious Tom Daley, the European 10m champion who just turned 14 this week. As the youngest member of the British Olympic squad, he is already a star athlete in England and expectations of him will be high when he takes on the cream of China’s golden hopefuls at the second round of the Diving World Series this weekend. The British teenager will also join partner Blake Aldridge, 26, in the 10m synchronised event. Without mentioning the promising female contingency, also competing for Britain will be Ben Swain, Peter Waterfield, and Nicholas Robinson-Baker.Commencing in 2007, the FINA Diving World Series is a new, elite, annual competition that gives the world’s best divers an exciting and rewarding opportunity to compete against each other more often. This prestigious contest promotes awareness about which countries are renowned for the sport, and fosters growth of the discipline in both the host nations and other parts of the world. The third and final leg of the FINA Diving World Series 2008 will be held from May 30-31 in Nanjing, CHN.

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23May2008

PR36 - Biggest Men's World League participation ever, as Africa joins the action

The seventh edition of the international FINA Men’s Water Polo World League starts tomorrow (May 23) when preliminary rounds for the two European Groups commence in Budva, Montenegro and Novi Sad, Serbia. Nineteen National Teams, the highest number ever, will participate in the 2008 League, which will be played in two rounds: the preliminaries in six countries (May 23-June 8), and the Super Final in Genova, Italy (June 16-22). Seventeen National Teams will compete in the preliminaries, the top eight of which will advance to the Super Final, where they will also face Canada and USA (from Group Americas). Most exciting is the involvement, for the first time, of a full Group Africa composed of Teams from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt.
Action for the two European team groups commence tomorrow. Group 1, which will compete in Budva, is composed of Croatia, Italy, Greece and Montenegro, while Group 2 (in Serbia) consists of Spain, Serbia, Romania and Russia. A second World League preliminary round for these groups will take place the following weekend (May 30-June 1) in Athens, Greece for Group 1 and Portugalete, Spain for Group 2. Two matches will be held per day.
Meanwhile, from Monday, May 26 to Sunday, June 1, preliminary action for the Asia-Oceania Group begins in Tokyo, Japan. National Teams from Australia, Japan, Iran, China and New Zealand will compete in this tournament. For Group Africa, which FINA is delighted to welcome to the World League, a preliminary round will take place from June 6-8 in Casablanca, Morocco.
The two top teams from Asia-Oceania, Africa, and from each European Group will play-off against each other in the Super Final Tournament, to be held in Genova (ITA) from June 16-22, as well as against teams Canada and USA (from Group Americas). The host Nation organising the Super Final (ITA) will automatically qualify. The winning teams of this year’s FINA Men’s Water Polo World Leagues obtain not only glory and recognition ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, but a portion of prize money amounting to US$512’500.
By uniting top-ranked teams and exposing the power and skill of the sport, the World League seeks to promote Water Polo worldwide by capturing the interest of more audiences, media, and FINA National Federations.

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22May2008

PR35 - Preliminary rounds begin on May 20 in China

The fifth edition of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World League starts on May 20 when the first preliminary round matches are held in Tian Jin, China between Group Asia-Oceania, which consists of Australia (2007 silver medallists), Japan, and China. Games will continue for the Asia-Oceania group until May 25.
Meanwhile, from May 23-25, preliminary action begins in Siracusa (ITA) for Group Europe of the 2008 World League, composed of Greece, Russia, Spain and Italy. Group Europe will meet again the following weekend in Athens, Greece (May 30-June 1) for a second preliminary round. At both tournaments, two games will be held per day. The two top teams from each group (Asia-Oceania and Europe) will play-off against each other in the Super Final round, to be held in Santa Cruz del Tenerife (ESP) from June 10-15, as well as against teams Canada and defending League champions USA (from Group Americas). The host National Federation organising the Super Final (ESP) will automatically qualify. The participating national teams of this year’s FINA Women’s Water Polo World Leagues obtain not only glory and recognition ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, but lucrative prize money that amounts to US$205’000. Since the first Edition in 2004, this League has been a great success in advancing the sport of Water Polo by capturing more audiences, media and television coverage, and drawing the attention of more FINA National Member Federations, clubs, players and referees. By exposing the power and skill this sport requires and once again uniting the world’s top teams, the 2008 edition will continue to enhance Water Polo’s image world wide.

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19May2008

PR34 - In Fort Lauderdale (USA), four countries get the gold

Australia, China, Japan and Russia obtained gold medals in the fifth meet of the 2008 FINA Diving Grand Prix, held in Fort Lauderdale (USA), from May 8-11. Chinese representatives got a tiny advantage, with three titles, while Australians and Russians conquered two victories each. Ken Terauchi, in the men’s 3m springboard, triumphed for Japan.

Individually, Yulia Pakhalina (RUS, on the women’s springboard events) and Wang Hao (CHN, on the women’s platform) were the most successful divers, with two gold medals each. MEDALLISTS in Fort Lauderdale:MEN3m springboard: 1. Ken Terauchi (JPN) 486.10; 2. Troy Dumais (USA) 473.60; 3. Zhang Xinhua (CHN) 469.3510m platform: 1. Matthew Mitcham (AUS) 534.45; 2. Matthew Helm (AUS) 502.70; 3. Sascha Klein (GER) 467.903m springboard synchro: 1. Yutong Luo/Zhang Xinhua (CHN) 441.39; 2. Christopher Colwill/Jevon Tarantino (USA) 416.37; 3. Anton Zakharov/Dmytro Lysenko (UKR) 409.6210m platform synchro: 1. Matthew Helm/Robert Newbery (AUS) 443.04; 2. David Boudia/Thomas Finchum (USA) 437.52; 3. Liguang Yang/Jia Hu (CHN) 422.88 WOMEN3m springboard: 1. Yulia Pakhalina (RUS) 357.90; 2. Zi He (CHN) 357.75; 3. Tania Cagnotto (ITA) 320.5010m platform: 1. Wang Hao (CHN) 420.30; 2. Laura Wilkinson (USA) 360.80; 3. Tatiana Ortiz (MEX) 338.15 3m springboard synchro: 1. Yulia Pakhalina/Anastasia Pozdniakova (RUS) 316.62; 2. Zhao Qinxin/Ting Li (CHN) 313.20; 3. Sharleen Stratton/Briony Cole (AUS) 303.9610m platform synchro: 1. Kang Li/Wang Hao (CHN) 348.36; 2. Briony Cole/Melissa Wu (AUS) 325.80; 3. Laura Wilkinson/Jessica Livingston (USA) 321.84

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13May2008

PR33 - Russia and Netherlands take gold on closing 25km races

The 25km races that closed the 5th FINA World Open Water Championships in Seville (ESP) took place on May 8 and resulted in wins for Maarten Van der Weijden (NED) and Ksenia Popova (RUS) in the men’s and women’s fields respectively. Van der Weijden relied on patience and strategy to finish with a time of 5:04:01.1, just 0.5secs ahead of Mark Warkentin (USA), who clocked 5:04:01.6. With a time of 5:04:01.6, bronze went to Yuriy Koudinov (RUS). Bulgaria’s Petar Stoychev placed fourth in 5:04:08.0. In the women’s field, another close finish saw the experienced Edith Van Dijk (NED) take 2nd behind Popova in 5:27:50.3, while Natalya Pankina (RUS) took bronze in 5:27:53.9.
Both of the 25km races featured swift packs of competitors who shifted leadership as they progressed across this momentous distance. Thus, noteworthy performances were also given by Mohamed El-Zanaty (EGY), in 5th in 5:04:21.2, Marco Formentini (ITA), in 6th (5:04:25.3), as well as Mazen Aziz (EGY), the youngest competitor in his race at 18, who took 7th in 5:05:08.7. Impressive swims for women came from 4th-place Linsy Heister (NED) in 5:28:08.8, 5th-place Kate Brookes-Peterson (AUS) in 5:28:09.9, as well as from Marilyn Cadour (FRA) and Shelley Clark (AUS).May 6 featured the 5km races and in the women’s field, Larisa Ilchenko (RUS) continued her domination, winning the event in a time of 1:00:04.6 after having won the 10km event two days before. Silver went to her teammate Ekaterina Seliverstova (RUS) in a time of 1:00:07.8, while bronze went to Chloe Sutton (USA) (1:00:09.9), who led the field for a considerable portion of the race before being overcome by the Russians in the final stretch. Tied for 4th at 1:00:16.5 were Jana Pechanova (CZE) and Jing Zheng (CHN).Thomas Lurz (GER) won among men in 54:57.3 and therefore successfully defended his world 5km title. Lurz also won bronze on Sunday in the 10km. Silver went to Vladimir Dyatchin (RUS), winner of the 10km event, and bronze was reserved for Van der Weijden (NED); a well-deserved result for the now 25km world champion, which he achieved through a magnificent effort in the final sprint for the finish. In 4th was Chad La Tourette (USA) in 55:04.5, while 5th place went to Christian Hein (GER) in 55:04.6.For more details on the 10km races, please consult PR 31, issued on May 5, 2008.

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09May2008

PR32 - Galperin/Dobroskok (RUS) and Melissa Wu (AUS) beat the Chinese in Montreal

Gleb Galperin/Dmitry Dobroskok (RUS), in the men’s synchro 10m platform and Melissa Wu (AUS), in the women’s 10m platform, were the only athletes capable of beating the Chinese at the fourth meet of the FINA Diving Grand Prix 2008, held in Montreal (CAN) from May 1-4. Besides the Russian and Australian victory, the divers from China dominated the remaining six events of the programme, with superstar Jingjing Guo getting two more gold in the women’s 3m springboard events. Athletes from 15 countries were present in Montreal.
MEDALLISTS in Montreal:
MEN3m springboard: 1. Chong He (CHN) 530.55; 2. Kai Qin (CHN) 522.20; 3. Ken Terauchi (JPN) 489.1510m platform: 1. Luxin Zhou (CHN) 566.60; 2. Liang Huo (CHN) 534.95; 3. Mathew Helm (AUS) 515.703m springboard synchro: 1. Kai Qin/Feng Wang (CHN) 459.93; 2. Scott Robertson/Robert Newbery (AUS) 431.52; 3. Sascha Klein/Pavlo Rozenberg (GER) 422.1610m platform synchro: 1. Gleb Galperin/Dmitry Dobroskok (RUS) 445.08; 2. Liang Huo/Yue Lin (CHN) 442.92; 3. Mathew Helm/Robert Newbery (AUS) 431.16WOMEN3m springboard: 1. Jingjing Guo (CHN) 383.45; 2. Minxia Wu (CHN) 368.90; 3. Blythe Hartley (CAN) 356.4010m platform: 1. Melissa Wu (AUS) 399.25; 2. Emilie Heymans (CAN) 388.90; 3. Xin Wang (CHN) 379.603m springboard synchro: 1. Minxia Wu/Jingjing Guo (CHN) 350.40; 2. Briony Cole/Sharleen Stratton (AUS) 303.18; 3. Jennifer Abel/Meaghan Benfeito (CAN) 291.66 10m platform synchro: 1. Ruolin Chen/Xin Wang (CHN) 356.10; 2. Melissa Wu/Briony Cole (AUS) 351.96; 3. Marie-Eve Marleau/Emilie Heymans (CAN) 348.03

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05May2008

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