Monday, 11 August 2008

Day 1 of swimming @ the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

The much awaited action has begun at the Water Cube, the state-of-the-art aquatic venue. For the first time ever the heats are being held in the evening and the semi-finals and finals are being held in the morning so that it fits in the prime-time slot for the US audience (hail NBC). USA has for long dominated the swimming events and with Michael Phelps leading the charge again it will be interesting to see if things would be different.

Sandeep Sejwal was the first Indian swimmer to take the plunge. Sandeep swam an amazing 100m Breaststroke in the heats breaking two National records in that one swim. He swam the first 50m in 29.08sec, which is faster than the previous National record of 29.28sec, and then went on to stop the clock at 1:02.19sec, which is faster than the previous National record of 1:03.58sec. Both the the earlier records were also in Sandeep's name. Sandeep finished second in his heat and 38/63 overall. Sandeep's time ranks him 5th among the Asians.

It was quite sad to see that the majority of the India media focused on the fact that he did not qualify for the semi-finals, which from the very start was out of reach, and completely ignored the fact that he swam very well improving by 1.39sec.

The six weeks spent at the Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, USA prior to the Beijing Olympic Games seems to have made a difference. All eyes will now be on the 200m Breaststroke which is on 12th August.

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