FINA World Cup 11

German Record For Hoffman At Arena Festival


Nick J. Thierry

GELSENKIRCHEN - With the top performance of this year's Arena Festival to receive a Ford Ka worth DM25,000, there was hightened motivation to swim fast.

Good performances were turned in.

Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED) won the men's 200 free. At the 100 he split 50.67 and his final time was 1:44.96. He said, "I didn't prepare for the Arena Festival. On Friday I still worked with weights. My next goal is the World Championships in Hong Kong where I might be able to get near the world record." This performance was the fourth best in the world worth 991 points on the FINA ratings table.

Yana Klochkova (UKR) won the 400 IM in 4:34.28, worth 993 points, givinh her a sweep of all three IM events. She closed the gap in the points category race and now had 97 points to Marianne Limpert (CAN) with 103. Klochkova plans to compete on the final World Cup in Imperia and should move into the category lead. She plans to compete in Hong Kong at the FINA SC World Championships in April.

Rating Summary of Top Performances World Cup 11
1) 1017 24.22 50 back Thomas Rupprath, 77,GER
2) 997 14:37.92 1500 free Jorg Hoffmann, 70,GER
3) 993 4:34.28 400 IM Yana Klochkova, 82,UKR
4) 991 1:44.96 200 free Pieter vdHoogenband, 78,NED

Jorg Hoffmann (GER) broke the German record in the 1500 free with 14:37.92 and his performance was worth 997 points. Hoffmann bettered the former record held by Steffen Zesner, 14.41.02. Hoffman explained, "I'm fully concentrating on swimming and my forestry studies. I am planning to train for the Sydney Olympics. I missed the European record (14:37.60) between the 1000 and the 1200 metres, and I could have started the final sprint earlier had I known that I was so close." Hoffmann won the World Cup Distance Freestyle Category for the fourth consecutive time with 94 points.

Country G S B TOTAL
GER 14 9 12 35
UKR 5 1 0 6
NED 3 1 1 5
HUN 3 1 0 4
GBR 3 0 0 3
RUS 2 7 4 13
JPN 2 2 3 7
ESP 1 0 2 3
BEL 1 0 1 2
USA 0 3 2 5
CHN 0 2 3 5
CRO 0 2 0 2
DEN 0 2 0 2
AUS 0 1 1 2
POL 0 1 1 2
RSA 0 1 1 2
BRA 0 1 0 1
CAN 0 1 0 1
ARG 0 0 1 1
SUI 0 0 1 1
34 35 33 102

The very best performance on the second day was Thomas Rupprath's 50 backstroke with 24.22. It was worth 1017 points and got him the keys to the Ford. Rupprath said, "I'm surprised, even speechless, that I have come that close to my own world record (24.13). I took a break after the European SC Championships last December and started practising again only seven weeks ago. Despite my good performances in the backstroke events I will still concentrate on the butterfly for the long course season."

Agnes Kovacs (HUN) won all three breaststrokes. In the 50 she edged a strong field with 31.48 over Janne Schafer (GER) with 31.84 and Sylvia Gerasch (GER) with 31.90. Kovacs' winning time in the 200 breast was 2:24.54. It was a rare short-course appearance for Kovacs, her first in four years.

World leading times for Agnes Kovacs (HUN)
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Frederik deBurghgraeve (BEL) won the 100 breast in 1:00.14, giving him 108 points in the category and the unchallenged lead. He will not compete in Hong Kong. He said, "For me the short course season is over. Now I will begin the preparation for the Europeans in Istanbul, next summer."

Antje Buschschulte (GER) won the backstroke category with 120 points (the most by anyone) after wins in the 100 and 200 back. Sue Rolph (GBR) won the 50 and 100 freestyles. Both times she beat Katrin Meissner (GER) who still had the points edge in the sprint category, 99 to Rolph's 97.

Missing from the finals were such prominent swimmers as Mark Foster (GBR) and Fernando Scherer (BRA) in the men's 50 free. Scratching from all second day events and Fraziska van Almsick (GER) winner of the 200 free on the first day in 1:58.31 Swimmers from 29 countries attended the Arena Festival. German swimmers won 35 medals, 14 of them gold.

The 12th and final World Cup will take place March 3-4 in Imperia (ITA).