/ 27 October 2007

Schoeman shines in Singapore

South African star swimmer Roland Schoeman grabbed three gold medals and a silver to set the standard on the opening day of the Fina World Cup on Saturday.

The Arizona-based Schoeman started off with a bang, winning the 100m freestyle in the season’s best time of 47,34 seconds and followed up with gold in the 50m breaststroke (27,45sec).

His third gold came in the 100m individual medley before he narrowly lost to Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov in the evening’s final event, the 50m butterfly.

South Africa ended day one with five gold medals, sharing the lead with Australia. Sweden, Russia and the United States all have two gold medals.

Japan was the only other nation to win gold, with Yurie Yano grabbing the women’s 800m freestyle.

Multiple Olympic gold medallist and world record holder Natalie Coughlin did not disappoint her fans, winning the 100m butterfly in the world’s fastest time this year.

The American’s time of 56,35sec was only 1/100th off her personal best of 56,34secs.

Coughlin came second in the 50m freestyle, which was won by Sweden’s Therese Alshammar (24,02sec). Coughlin’s compatriot, Randall Bal, also set the season’s best time of 50,91sec in the men’s 100m backstroke.

Australia’s Sophie Edington and Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov won two golds each, with Edington touching first in the 50m backstroke and the 200m backstroke while Skvortsov took the 200m butterfly and 50m butterfly.

Arguably the evening’s loudest cheers went to Singapore’s Li Tao, who won two silvers, in the 100m butterfly and the 200m individual medley.

Singapore is the second stop of the World Cup series, which opened in Durban, South Africa, last weekend. — Sapa-AFP