The first day at the FINA Swimming World Cup in Berlin was full of world-class performances – and the home fans were also treated to two German victories at the hands of Isabel Gose and Christian Diener.
In the very first race over 400m freestyle, Gose, who was sixth at the Olympics, was able to prevail in 4:00.33 minutes and thus achieved her first ever World Cup victory. “It’s one of my favorite pools. I was born in Berlin, so it feels like coming home,” said the 19-year-old who swims for the SC Magdeburg. In the further course of the season she wants to work on her turns and then fully attack at the European Short Course and World Short Course Championships: “It is definitely a goal to reach the German record and improve it again,” said Gose.
The second home win came through Christian Diener from Potsdam over 200m backstroke (1:51.19). “I tackled the race hara-kiri style, so it was very painful in the end, and on the last lane I barely managed to stay afloat. But I love this pain”, said the 28-year-old. The success also helps him to cope with the frustration about the disappointing result at the Olympics in Tokyo: “Short course suits me much more than long course anyway. With to the World Cups, ISL and the short course World Championships and European Championships, there is still a lot to come this year, I still have a lot of starts and I’m really looking forward to it.” And Diener, who won three silver medals at the 2019 European Short Course Championships, has very clear goals for this year’s edition: “It should be at least one gold medal.”
But it was Kira Toussaint who delivered the absolute highlight of the day. The Dutchwoman swam the 50m backstroke in 25.81 seconds, a new World Cup record. “I’m very happy with my time, it was one of the best 50m backstroke races of all time. Three girls under 26 seconds, that’s just crazy. Her fellow Dutchman Arno Kamminga was also victorious over the 100m breaststroke (56.72 seconds). European champion Anastasia Gorbenko from Israel set a new national record in the 100m individual medley with 57,90 seconds.
Tom Shields (USA) claimed victory in an impressive duel between two Olympic champions in the 100m butterfly and left South African superstar Chad Le Clos (49.03) behind in 48.67 seconds. Australia’s four-time Tokyo Olympic champion Emma McKeon (AUS) improved her personal best in the 50m freestyle by four hundredths to 23.56 seconds. Her compatriot Kyle Chalmers also won the sprint in a fast time (21.01). “This pool here is really fast, I hope I can deliver a few more quick times here.”
Germany’s Olympic champion Florian Wellbrock was left in fourth place over 400m freestyle on Friday (3:42.22 minutes), while the Lithuanian Danas Rapsys (3:38.19) claimed the victory in superior manner by. “My time is okay, we just haven’t done any fast things during training. But of course, I was hoping to get onto the podium,” said the 24-year-old. Instead, other athletes from Team Germany made it there. Fabian Schwingenschlögl came in second in the 100m breaststroke race in 56.83 seconds, just eight hundredths above the German record, while Lucas Matzerath (57.97) was also very pleased with a great new personal best and a third place finish in the same race. 17-year-old Nele Schulze from Flensburg also won bronze in the 200m breaststroke (2:24.69) behind Czech winner Krystina Horska (2:21.07).