Dubai, World s/c Championships, day 4 finals:
Men's 50m Backstroke
Stanislav Donets (RUS) added the dash title to his 100m crown in 22.93, the silver shared by Sun Xiaolei (CHN) and Aschwin Wildeboer (ESP) on 23.13, which locked out backstroke breaker of the year Camille Lacourt (FRA) by 0.03sec. The winning time was a little shy of the champion's season best of 22.74 but a championship record nonetheless.
An engineering student, Donets, coached by his father Yury Raikman at the Dimitrovgrad Sports School, won gold with the most impressive submarinery in the race coming off the turn. Flipping level with the rest, the Russian dolphin-kicked his way to a critical edge on rivals who struggled to match the elegance and speed with which the champion times his breakouts into smooth-flowing stroke.
"I'm thrilled to win two distances in Dubai," said the Russian. "This is the best winter season for me. I won the 50m and 100m European titles too, the world cup in Moscow and at the Russian Cup. I hope it is not just temporary and I believe I can achieve more in the longer term." In the longer pool too perhaps after having so far fallen shy in the 50m season of the heights of his short-course successes.
History in the making:
World s/c Podiums
* - shared silver
Most world titles in this event: 2
Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)
Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991):
All-time textile rankings top 5:
From the archive:
Matt Welsh, the poolside commentator talking to swimmers for the big screen post racing here in Dubai, raced in four world championship finals over 50m s/c, claiming gold twice, silver once and bronze on his first outing in 1999, when the dash was held for the first time. In 2000 he missed the meet as Australia geared up for a home Olympic Games. Then in 2002 he took the title ahead of Peter Marshall (USA), in 2004 lost the crown by 0.09sec for silver behind Thomas Rupprath (GER) as Marshall took bronze. Welsh then returned to take revenge in 2006, victory his by 0.17sec over Rupprath, before 2008 saw Marshall finally step up to gold. In 2006, Welsh also won the 50m 'fly title.