T&T Olympic and FINA World Long and Short Course Championships bronze medal swimmer, George Bovell III, has expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of his first weekend of international competition which resulted in a gold medal in the 50m freestyle and silver in the 50m backstroke.
Competing at the 51st Mel Zaljac Meet held at the University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre, University Boulevard, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada May 22-25, the 30-year-old Bovell, won gold in the 50m freestyle in 22.91 seconds, well ahead of his Club Wolverine team-mate Geoff Cheah who was second in 23.32 while Yuri Kisil and Zach Hayden were joint third in 23.33.
Earlier in the preliminary heats, Hayden was the top qualifier in 23.29 ahead of Bovell (23.51), Kisil (23.71) and Cheah (23.79). He got silver in the men's 50m backstroke in 26.97 behind Russell Wood (26.66) while Jeffrey Swanston took bronze in 27.10.
In the heats Bovell was the sixth fastest qualifier in the 50m backstroke heats in 27.66 seconds after being seeded second with a time of 25.96 behind Wood (25.69).
Bovell also won the 50m butterfly B-final in 25.55 followed by Rohan Jacobs (25.85) and Stephen Calkins (25.91) while he qualified for the 50m breaststroke gold medal swim after he qualified as the fifth fastest from the heats with a time of 29.53, but opted out of the event.
The four-day meet for the former NCAA champion was the first since he last competed in November 2013 at the FINA World Cup in Beijing, China, winning silver in the 100m individual medley, his 13th of the season.
And commenting on his performances, Bovell said, "It was a good starting point for me. I purposely opted to do a lot of racing in quick succession which affected the times, but at this stage of my season the times are unimportant, it was about learning what mistakes I have a tendency to make so that I may address them in practice these next coming weeks. I was pleased to come away with a gold and silver.
Asked about the return to swimming of 22-time Olympic medallist and 18-time gold medal winner Michael Phelps who retired after the London 2012 Olympics, Bovell replied, "It is obvious that there are many reasons involved, but I doubt he will be as formidable as he was before and will not compete across such a broad range of events.
Not one to back down from competition, Bovell who was third in the Athens Greece Olympics, 200m individual medley final behind Phelps and Ryan Lochte added, "If he wants to come into the 50m freestyle I would welcome it and take pleasure in showing him what speed and technique are all about, but I doubt he will, so his comeback does not really affect me as we won't be direct competitors. I expect he will swim the 100 free for the relay, and the 100m butterfly and 200 individual medley."
Up next for Bovell will be the USA Swimming Arena Santa Clara Grand prix June 20-22 in Northern California at the George F Haines International Swim Centre where he expects to face down old arch rival, USA Olympians Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian. At that meet Bovell said he does not intend to swim as much races as he did in Canada as the emphasis will be on the performances itself.
Following that meet he will then jet off to the French Open in early July and then the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of July in Glasgow, Scotland, as he builds up to the World Short Course Championships in Qatar in December where he hopes to win the 100m IM.
Last year during the FINA World Cup, Bovell's 13 medal tally included one gold, five silver and seven bronze while the 200m IM Olympic bronze medal winner at Athens 2000 got bronze in the 50m freestyle World Championship Long Course final in Spain last year to add to his bronze medal won in the 100m IM at the 2012 December's 11th FINA World Short Course Championship in Turkey.