Dubai, world s/c championships, day 3 finals
Men's 200m Breaststroke
Naoyo Tomita (JPN) broke his own Asian record and set a championship record of 2:03.12 to stave off a challenge from world long-course champion Daniel Gyurta (HUN), confined to silver on 2:03.47, the bronze going to Brenton Rickard (AUS), who stalked the two in the middle from his outpost in lane 1 throughout the race on his way to a 2:04.33 close. The next five home were split by 0.71sec. The race fell a touch shy of the best ever seen in a textile suit, the 2:02.92 of Ed Moses (USA) from 2004.
Tomita, a student at Chukyo University and the charge of coach Kusanagi, led from start to finish, Gyurta always shadowing, always waiting for his chance. It never came, for when the Hungarian piled on the pressure, his Japanese rival responded in kind. In a similar way Rickard remained third the whole way through the race out on the flank, although the gap between the Hungarian and the Australian was just 0.01sec as they turned into the last 50m. Gyurta looked for a moment down the last length to be poised for attack but Tomita refused to yield.
"Daniel is an Olympic medallist, so I've known him a long time," said the champion. "But I don't think of him as my only opposition. Everyone is my competitor. I always try my best and now I'm looking forward to the world championships (long-course in Shanghai) next year.
For his own part, Gyurta, an Olympic silver medallist over 200m as a teenager super-talent in 2004, said: "It was a pretty close race. We were pretty near to each other. This time he was the winner but the next time we will see...".
The splits and result:
*- joint fourth place
History in the making:
World s/c Podiums
Most world titles in this event: 1, multiple
Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)
Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991): 5
All-time textile rankings top 5:
From the archive:
The story of Alfred “Artem” Nakache is one that transcends swimming and sport. It is a tale of human experience that most of us pray may never come to visit our lives. A Frenchman who was said to "walk like Charlie Chaplin and laugh like Henri Salvador", Nakache raced in front of Hitler at the 1936 Games, broke the world 200m record in 1941 but in 1943 was arrested by the Gestapo as a Jew and taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Born in Constantine, Algeria, on November 18, 1915, Nakache became known as the “Swimmer of Auschwitz". His wife and 2-year-old daughter Annie died in a gas chamber there. Nakache managed to swim while at Auschwitz; in the camp water tanks. After surviving the camp, Nakache raced at the 1948 Games: no longer the man he once was, he was eliminated in the semis. Jean Bodon, a professor at the University of Alabama, is the mind behind a film called "As the Raven Cries" about the life of Nakache, who died on August 4, 1983 at the age of 68.