The National – Friday, December 24, 2010
By LIZ WARDLEY
IT was the first time the Middle East has seen swimmers of world class calibre competing in a world championship – the FINA (International Swimming Federation) World short course swimming championships in Dubai from Dec15-19.
It was hailed the biggest in the event’s history.
With more than 800 swimmers representing 153 countries, the competition was intense.
The five-day meet saw many of the world’s best going head-to-head across all disciplines and distances.
PNG swimmers, Judith Meauri, 18, and Ryan Pini, 29, took to the water in competition on Dec 16 against the best in the world.
Meauri was first up in the morning heats of the women’s 100m freestyle.
She was placed in lane 8 of heat 5 of the 12 heats in this event alongside swimmers from Madagascar, Gibraltar, Mauritius, Macau (China) and Namibia.
She swam a personal best of 1:01.18.
With only a short break to prepare for her next event (50m butterfly), Meauri completed the swim in another personal best time of 31.13.
There were 10 heats in this event with swimmers from Kenya, Guam, Zambia, Fiji, Pakistan and Guyana.
Pini was next up swimming in the 50m freestyle.
He swam in heat 11 and completed the 50m dash in a time of 23.19.
This was a season’s best for him in a short course pool.
Swimmers from Philippines, Norway, Cyprus, Serbia, United Arab Emirates and Canada competed beside Pini in what was an exciting race to the finish.
After day one of competition, Pini and Meauri were eager to compete in their other events.
Meauri swam the 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle and Pini the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle.
Meauri continued her good form and completed the 100m butterfly swimming a time of 1:11.21 shaving four second off her previous personal best time and setting a PNG record.
The previous record was held by Beryl Madouna in a time of 1:14.04 set in 1991.
Judith went on to swim the 50m freestyle after a short swim down of 400m to recover from the 100m butterfly event and swan yet another personal best time of 28.23.
This was the last swimming event for our swimmers who returned home last Monday.
PNG Swimming Inc thanked sponsors Daltron (who assisted Meauri) and FINA for funding the event and supporting the coaches and athletes who attended.