Germany Back On Top In European Vote
Sep 23, 2009 - Craig Lord
Germany has scooped the top awards granted by LEN and the European swimming community for shiny suit season 2009.
In the race pool, world male and female swimmer awards went to world champions Britta Steffen (50m and 100m freestyle) and Paul Biedermann (200m and 400m freestyle), while Angela Maurer (25km) and Thomas Lurz (5km and 10km) claimed the big prizes among open water swimmers. In 2008, German swimmers did not have access to the first wave of non-textile suits, made by Speedo and TYR. They more than made up for it in 2009.
Steffen, coached by Norbert Warnasch, and her adidas Hydrofoil knocked spots off the world 100m freestyle record. Her winning 100m free time in Rome was a second faster than the time in which she won the Olympic crown in 2008. Biedermann and his arena X-Glide outpaced even that in terms of seconds axed off best times: coached by Frank Embacher, the man from Halle broke Ian Thorpe's world record in the 400m after improving 6sec, while in the 200m, he defeated Michael Phelps and took the American's record by almost 1sec after making a personal improvement of 4sec.
Both Steffen and Biedermann were at pains to point out the performance-enhancing nature of the suits they wore and both looked forward to a return to textile in 2010. Steffen said that she had never believed it would be possible to streamline through the water as she could in the adidas response to the LZR. She said that her suit made her feel like a "speedboat".
Biedermann and his coach believed that the X-Glide accounted for an advantage of something like 0.7sec every 50m for Biedermann and his build. Biedermann also noted that while in normal race conditions a swimmer expects to feel fatigue setting in at some stage and with it that sinking feeling that affects strokes efficiency, in the non-textile bodysuits of 2009 the end of a race felt like the start of a race. Acute pain was something he felt once back on dry land after racing.
Off the boards, Britain's Tom Daley (10m platform) and Italy’s double-medallist Tania Cagnotto (3m bronze, and 3m synchro silver) will receive the LEN Award.
In synchronised swimming the quadruple Russian World Champion Natalia Ishchenko (solo technical, solo free, duet free and team free) took the top honour and in water polo the votes went to Filip Filipovic, who won the gold medal in Rome with the team of Serbia, and Dutchwoman Iefke van Bentum, the 2008 Olympic Champion with the team of the Netherlands that finished fifth in Rome.
The awards were announced in the wake of the LEN (European Swimming League) Congress held in Copenhagen last weekend.
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