Top T&T swimmer George Bovell earned two silver medals when he competed on the opening day of the fifth leg of the Fina/Mastbank Swimming World Cup in Beijing, China yesterday.
Bovell, who last competed at the second-leg in Dubai on September 1, first created some personal history by claiming his first medal in the men's 50 metre breaststroke final in 26.91 seconds from lane seven.
The winner was Olympic champion, South Africa's Chad Le Clos who stopped the clock in 26.87 seconds while Hungary's Daniel Gyurta took bronze in 26.93 in a very close finish by the top three finishers at the Ying Tung Swimming Pool, Olympic Sports Centre.Others to finish in the final were Yukun Huang (27.43), Xiang Le (27.60), Jiajia Xue (27.67), Zibei Yan (27.71) and USA's Michael Andrew in 28.37.In the morning heats, Schoeman was the top qualifier in 27.35 in heat three ahead of Xian Li (27.98) and five-time Olympian and 2000 bronze medal winner Bovell (28.03), the fifth and sixth fastest qualifiers respectively, followed by Singapore's Lionel Khoo (28.34), Yunsong Liu (28.83), Chinese Taipei's Suan-Yen Lee (29.30), Shaobin Fang (29.40) and Ziyi Chew (32.21).
Huang won heat one in 27.74 for the second fastest qualifying time and he was followed in his heat by Andrew (28.18) and Jiajia Xue (28.19) while Yan (27.76) and Gyurta (27.82) were one-two finishers in heat two.
Ten events later, the 31-year-old Bovell return to the pool and won his second silver, this time in the men's 100m individual medley final in 52.43 seconds from lane three to trail Russian Sergei Fesikov (52.30) but ahead of China's 2012 Olympic champion Shun Wang (53.13).The silver medal in the 100m IM ended his run of gold medals in the event this season after he won both finals in Dubai and Doha to start the season before skipping both the third and fourth leg stops in Hong Kong (September 29-30) and Moscow, Russia (October 4-5).The quintet of Tiansheng Jiang (55.07), Zhixian Yan (55.13), Huanan Ling (55.15), Andrew (55.59) and Raymond Mak Ho (55.84) were the others in the gold medal splash.
Earlier in the 100m IM morning heats, Bovell won the second of three heats in 54.87 seconds from lane four ahead of Andrew (55.11) and China's Yang (55.18) the three qualifiers for the final to be the third, fourth and fifth fastest qualifiers, respectively.However, the top swimmer from the heats was Fesikov who won heat three in 53.54 ahead of Wang (54.12) while Jiang (55.42), Ling (55.86) and Mak Ho (56.01) were the other qualifiers from heat one.With the two silver medals, Bovell who competes in his pet event the 50m freestyle today improved his tally for the season to six medals, two gold and four silver.
He will go in the fourth and final heat from lane six against Omar Omar (Qatar), Weizhong Li, Mak Ho, Ivan Lendjer (Serbia), rising Chinese star Zetao Ming, Kuo-Chi Chang of Chinese Taipei, Jinjian Tang, Jiawei Tang and Lee Meyer Peter.Le Clos and Andrew are in heat two of four while Schoeman and Germany's Steffen Deibler are in heat three.After today, Bovell will journey to Tokyo, Japan (October 28-29) and Singapore (November 1-2) ahead of the 12th Fina World Swimming Championships (25m), in Doha from December 3-7.