T&T’s George Bovell III made it two straight gold medals, as well as two national records at the FINA/Arena Swimming Short Course World Cup, when he won the men’s 50 metres freestyle final in the Stockholm, Sweden, yesterday.
Following his win in the men’s 100 metres individual medley on Saturday which ended a run of four straight silver medals, the 29-year-old Bovell out-swam his rivals in the freestyle final in 20.82 seconds, beating his conqueror in United Arab Emirates and Qatar, USA’s Anthony Ervin (20.99) and Australian Matthew Target (21.15 seconds), in that order.
Bovell, who was seventh in the event at the London Olympic Games, bettered his 21.06 clocking enroute to silver in Doha, Qatar last week.
The other finishers in the final were Australian Kenneth To (21.47), Finland’s Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (21.53), Sweden’s Stefan Nystrand (21.74), New Zealand’s Cameron Simpson (21.88) and Holland’s Jasper Van Mierlo (21.99).
In the heats, Bovell was the fourth fastest qualifier, after he topped heat six of seven in 21.81 seconds, ahead of Nystrand (21.92), Van Mierlo (21.97), Sweden’s Petter Stymne (22.26), Holland’s Geert Lantink (22.65), Sweeden’s Robin Andreasson (22.75), Finland’s Toni Kurkinen (22.87) and Singapore’s Kai Quan Yeo (22.98).
The top qualifiers were Ervin (21.48), To (21.55) and Liukkonen (21.60), the top three swimmers in heat seven, while Simpson (21.89) was fourth in the same heat. Target won heat five in 21.95 seconds.
Last week in Doha, Bovell sped home in 21.06 seconds, just behind Ervin (21.02) while Australian Kyle Richardson got bronze in 21.54 seconds.
A week earlier, the trio also finished 1-2-3 in Dubai with Ervin winning in 21.18 seconds, followed by Bovell (21.23) and Richardson (21.58).
On Saturday, Bovell, swimming out of lane three, in the eight-man final touched the wall in 51.56 seconds to beat Australians, Kenneth To (51.75) and Kyle Richardson (52.78) into second and third spot respectively for his first gold of the World Cup.
The time by Bovell, bettered his 51.87 clocked while claiming silver behind To (51.58) last week in Doha, Qatar while South Africa’s Darian Townsend got bronze in 52.76 seconds.
Bovell’s swim was also the best performance of the finals’ session, which corresponded to 954 points while To had the second best result of the day, 943 points.
The gold medal did not seem possible for Bovell at the half-way point of the race as he found himself in eight spot with a split of 24.56 seconds while To (23.47), Richardson (23.92) and Townsend (23.98) were in the medal positions.
However, Bovell, a 2004 Olympic bronze medal winner in the 200m individual medley and the third fastest qualifier for the final turned up the heat in the second-half of the race with a 27 seconds race home to end To’s run of two-straight gold medals.
Next up for Bovell is the Moscow, Russia leg of the World Cup October 17-18, followed by Berlin, Germany, October 20-21; Beijing, China, November 2-3; Tokyo, Japan, November 6-7 and Singapore, November 10-11.