RIO DE JANEIRO - Joanne Malar had two gold medals after the first day of swimming at the Second Coca Cola World Short Course Championships. It was to be the highlight of a successful Canadian team that won seven medals, placing fourth overall.
The 12-member Canadian team of nine women and three men were ready and, with everyone's personal coach on deck (except Guylaine Cloutier's coach Stephane Bedard), personal attention must have helped.
The championship venue, was a portable temporary complex that included a racing pool and a separate warm-up tank with surround seating for over 8,000 spectators. Erected on famed Copacabana Beach, it was truly spectacular. The cost was U.S. $750,000 and the overall championships budget was just over one million dollars. Coca Cola the meet sponsor, picked up most of the costs, allowing for free spectator entry.
The spectacular site for the championships on the famed Copacabana Beach. For larger 50k photo click on image. Photo © Ari Gomes
With a short course world championships scheduled every two years, it's still not attracting the world's very best swimmers. Two of the very best were in Rio but didn't perform.
Veteran Anders Holmertz, SWE, came down sick just before the start of the meet and spent his time in Rio in bed at his hotel.
Franziska van Almsick, GER, was ejected from the final of the 100 free for what was deemed to be an intentional false start. She was a no-show in the 200 free, losing her world record. She did swim relays, but her two-week bout with the flu prior to coming to Rio left her unprepared for the level of the competition.
Canadians bettered national records in five events, two individual and three women's relays, with the medley relay in the heats and again in the finals.
Head coach Dave Johnson was pleased as 11 of 12 swimmers had at least one personal best time and 10 out of the 12 team members came home with a medal.