Four-time T&T Olympian George Bovell was back to his golden best yesterday, when he captured his fourth gold medal at the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup. It was his ninth medal at the event—five of which are silver medals. Competing in the men’s 100m individual medley final at the SSE Schwimm-und Sprunghall, Europapark, Berlin, Germany, Bovell touched the wall in 51.20 seconds to better his 51.56, which he set in Sweden last weekend when he captured the first of his two 100m IM gold medals.
Bovell’s time was the fastest 100m Short Course time for the year and second best ever in textile suit swimwear. Kenneth To was second in 51.53 seconds, while South African Darian Townsend (53.04) picked up the bronze medal.
Bovell pocketed US$1,500 to carry his earnings in the series to date to US$11,000 over the first five legs. An elated Bovell said last night that it was a great race. “I really put together a great race tonight (last night), not going to lie. I am pretty sure it is the second fastest textile suit performance ever.
“Berlin is the fifth competition in two weeks, and I believed that if I want to be one of the overall winners I would have to apply the adage “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” He added, “I knew coming in tonight (last night) that to beat the Australian (who is leading overall) and exact my revenge for Moscow, I would need to step up my game and put a great swim together.” Bovell, who confessed that he was in constant contact with sport minister and personal coach, Anil Roberts, was high in praise for his guidance.
“His analysis has helped me to get better and better. I have been going over my mistakes constantly from my swim in Moscow, particularly my butterfly leg and how to improve on it. I also got some great technical advice and implemented it in my warm up. I was tired from the traveling yesterday (Thursday) and the past competition in Moscow, so this morning (yesterday) my plan was to simply make it through to the finals with the minimum effort possible, which wasn't easy as this is so competitive.
“Tonight (last night) my improved first half is what I believe made the difference. It goes to show that at any age and experience, you can always learn more and need to be humble enough to recognise mistakes and deficiencies and not be too proud to ask for help.” “This race should be the highest scoring race of the meet towards the overall prize as I closely approached the world record and got 970 points.”
It’s is a new national record, (faster than all the others in the world except Ryan Lochte's from America) and a new lifetime best. The other finishers in the final were Hungary’s Laslo Csech (53.11), Italian Fabio Scozzoli (53.14), Brazil’s Henrigues Rodrigues (53.57), his countryman Diogo Yabe (54.39) and Croatian Marco Di Carli (54.47).
Earlier in the morning session, the 29-year-old Bovell III, who entered the meet in Berlin, trailing To (90 points) by 23 points on the overall men’s rankings, won the fourth of fifth heats in 53.85 seconds, ahead of fellow qualifiers for the final Rodrigues (54.17), Csech (54.24) and Di Carli (54.41).
“At the conclusion of his morning heat, the T&T swimmer tweeted: “This morning felt rough, my body wanted to rest not get up and go. So now going to lay down for a while so I can turn it on and up tonight.” At the halfway stage, Bovell trailed To (23.13).
Overall, Bovell’s 53.85 in the heats was the second fastest qualifying time for the final behind Townsend (53.70) who won heat three ahead of Scozzoli (54.09) and Yabe (54.47) while To (54.64) topped heat five to be the eight and final qualifier. Today, Bovell will go after a third gold in the men’s 50m freestyle having won the last two events in Sweden on Sunday and Moscow on Thursday night.
Bovell swims in lane four of the fifth of six heats, against Martin Spitzer (Austria), Cameron Simpson (New Zealand), Flori Lang (Switzerland), Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (Finland), Matthew Targett (Australia), Pjotr Degtjarjov (Estonia) and Tony Luka Fitterer).
Other notable entrants are USA’s Anthony Ervin who has won two gold medals in the 50m freestyle, Kyle Richardson (Australia) and Di Carli in heat four while Italy’s Lucas Dotta, Brazil’s Andre Santos and Steffen Deibler are in heat six.
Looking ahead to today’s race Bovell said, “Anthony Ervin showed great form tonight (last night) in dominating the 100m freestyle, which would indicate that he will be fast tomorrow, and seeking to exact his revenge on me tomorrow in the 50. You must never underestimate this guy. I know he is coming and intend to beat him again.”
At the conclusion of today’s event, Bovell will have a ten-day break before resuming the final three legs of the World Cup in Beijing, China (November 2-3), Tokyo, Japan (November 6-7) and Singapore (November 10-11) At the end of the World Cup, the swimmer with the most ranking points will pocket a US$100,000 winners’ prize while second gets US$50,000 and third, US$30,000.
Bovell’s World Cup performances to date
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (October 2-3):
100m IM - 52.19 secs- silver
50m freestyle - 21.23 secs - silver
Doha, Qatar (October 6-7):
100m IM 51.87 (national record) - silver
50m freestyle - 21.06 (national record) - silver
Stockholm, Sweden (October 13-14):
100m IM - 51.56 (national record) - gold
50m freestyle 20.82 (national record - gold
Moscow, Russia (October 17-18):
100m IM - 51.81 - silver
50m freestyle - 20.90 - gold
Berlin, Germany (October 20-21):
100m IM - 51.20 (national record) - gold