RIO DE JANEIRO-The first ever outdoor FINA World Cup was staged in Brazil, March 6-8, under warm sunshine and ideal summer conditions (28 Celcius,) warmer for the afternoon prelims, and the pool water 28 C). The two-day format was stretched over three as live television dictated an early morning finals start, scheduled for 9 am. Rede Globo, who broadcast live the Sunday finals, estimated the viewing audience at 45 million. Not bad for a swim meet.
Twelve countries entered 100 swimmers. An added incentive was a $1,000 bonus for the top male and female performances of the competition.
Hometown fans cheered Brazilian superstars in the very first event-the men's 100 free. Fernado Scherer had the lead for the first half with rival Gustavo Borges having the better finish to touch first in 48.16. On the second day, a fierce battle in the 50 freestyle resulted in Scherer touching out Borges: 21.89. Scherer also won the 50 butterfly in 23.97, establishing a new South American and Brazilian record.
The competition was held at the Club de Regatas Vasco de Gama-an outdoor 50 m pool with ample seating on both sides. There was a temporary bulkhead to make it 25 m. The pool complex dates back to the 1950s and is modelled on the Olympic pool in Helsinki used in 1952.
Marcel Wouda (NED) with three wins-the 200 breaststroke in 2:11.57, the 100 IM in 55.31 and the 400 IM with 4:15.58-on the first day added wins in the 200 IM and the 200 backstroke on the second day for a total of five.
Silantiev (UKR) won the 100 fly in 52.33 earning him the top men's performance of the meet award.
Antje Buschschulte (GER) swept all three women's backstroke events, with her winning time of 28.63 for the 50 earning top performer points of 948.