With the first stop of the 2012 FINA World Cup in Dubai just two weeks away, Germany has announced that they will be sending a quartet of swimmers to the first two middle-eastern legs of the event.
That group will be composed of Britta Steffen, Jenny Mensing, Helge Meeuw, and Marco Koch: all four of whom are in the elite echelon of German swimming. If this is any indication of the level of competition that most of the world is sending to this year’s first few stops (and we think it is), then they should be vastly more competitive than what we’ve seen from these Middle Eastern stops in the past; last year, for example, there were a pair of 27’s in the final of the women’s 50 free in Dubai. Keep in mind that these races are short course meters.
Germany for the past few years has been especially enthralled with the series; that’s in part because of the affiliation of title sponsor Arena with the DSV (German Swimming Federation) as their official pool sponsor, and partially because Berlin is routinely home to the fastest short course meters meet in the world on their stop of this series (it’s where Missy Franklin broke the World Record last year).
Steffen is a sprint specialist who is the World Record holder in both the 50 and 100 freestyles in long course (and is definitely better over 50 meters than 25). After a pretty good year considering a return from a long stretch away from the sport, the 28-year old Steffen is apparently continuing her career for now.
Mensing, a German police officer by trade, won a silver in the 200 back at the 2009 European Short Course Championships, and really made a moment this year at Germany’s Olympic Trials by breaking the long course National Record. Meeuw, her male backstroking equivalent, is quite unpredictable at times with his results, but is a former World Championships medalist in short course.
It is Marco Koch, though, is where the most excitement lies. Partially because of a lack of breaststroke competition early in the series, and partially because of some great early swims, he ended up finishing 3rd overall in last year’s standings.
The full schedule is below (full breakdown here)
Dubai, UAE – October 2nd-3rd, 2012
Doha, Qatar – October 6th-7th, 2012
Stockholm, Sweden – October 13th-14th, 2012
Moscow, Russia – October 17th-18th, 2012
Berlin, Germany – October 20th-21st, 2012
Beijing, China – November 2nd-3rd, 2012
Tokyo, Japan – November 6th-7th, 2012
Singapore, Singapore – November 10th-11th, 2012