What to expect from the emirate's third annual tournament
With the FINA Swimming World Cup set to arrive next week, Kelly Crane looks at what to expect and who to watch.
Watch a game of rugby and there’s occasional blood, football the odd temper tantrum and then there’s cricket, which has been known to send spectators to sleep. But find anyone who doesn’t like watching a swimmer in action – both in and out of H20 – and we’ll eat our rubber hats.
Dubai sports fans (and those who have never watched sport before but appreciate the more ‘beautiful’ things in life) are in for a treat when the big guns of the swimming world bring their, well, big guns, poolside to the UAE. A Michael Phelps’ breakfast-sized dose of world-class swimming action, in the form of FINA Swimming World Cup, has been booked and kicks off from October 17.
The event, held in Dubai for the third time, welcomes a parade of Olympic and world champions all Speedo-clad and ready for action.
However, many will have unanswered questions. What does FINA mean? Which muscular torso should I take my freestyle stroke tips from? And what does a ripped and perfectly formed swimmer eat for breakfast? Unprepared or just curious, we bring you the FINA facts.
What’s FINA? The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) is the international federation for swimming and the governing body for the sport.
And the Swimming World Cup? An international eight-event series of short course (25m) swimming races, started in 1988/89, open to swimmers from FINA member countries. The competitive World Cup series started in August in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, before moving on to Berlin. The Moscow leg takes place on October 12-13 before the Dubai event on October 17-18. The competition will then move to Doha, Singapore, and Tokyo, with the final event in Beijing on November 13-14.
The Dubai bit: The Dubai competition, on October 17-18, takes place at the Hamdan Sports Complex on Emirates Road (E611). Action starts at 10am on both days with finals held at 6pm.
Why go? World-class sporting action on your doorstep.
Swimmers to watch: • Katinka Hosszu delighted the crowds last year taking home seven gold medals, before going on to win the World Cup title for 2012. After only two rounds this year she is an extraordinary 185 points ahead in the overall rankings.
• Last year golden boy Chad Le Clos cemented his place in swimming history, achieving the unthinkable and dethroning superstar Michael Phelps at the London Olympics in the 200m butterfly. Having tasted victory here in December 2010 in the tenth FINA World Championships (25m), before going on to win the Dubai leg and the overall World Cup series in 2011, Le Clos considers Dubai his ‘lucky pool’.
• Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, one of the greatest distance swimmers in the world, took gold in Beijing in the 1500m. He made history in the 2012 Olympics, winning gold in the 10km open water and bronze in the 1500m, the only person ever to have won medals in both the pool and open water events at an Olympics.
Breakfast anyone? Olympian Phelps starts the day with three fried-egg sandwiches, three chocolate chip pancakes, a five-egg omelette, three sugar-coated slices of French toast, and a bowl of grits (maize porridge). Best you get stocking up, then.
Swimming in Dubai
• Dubai Masters Swimming Club Trains at Kings School daily. All ages and abilities (16+ and able to swim two lengths, 50m, without stopping). Membership Dhs70, sessions Dhs40 DubaiMastersSwimClub@gmail.com (050 694 7769)
• Speedo Swim Squad Holds adult swim lessons and fitness sessions for beginners and also anyone looking to improve technique, build fitness or train for specific competitions. Price on enquiry, firstname.lastname@example.org (04 354 9525)