A meet that flew a bit under the radar over the weekend (but attracted a few notoriously wandering superstars) was the 2011 1st International UAE Swimming Championship in Dubai at the Hamdan Bin Mohamed Complex that played host to last winter’s short-course World Championships. The two-day event is an official FINA World Championship Qualifying event, and at such a superb facility, it’s no surprise that a few stars were attracted.
The biggest name on the schedule was Sweden’s Therese Alshammar, who shows up at just about any and every meet she can get her hands into. She won the women’s 16 & over 50 free in 25.09, which just misses her best time of the season and is the same as Dana Vollmer’s season-best time. She also won the women’s 100 fly in 59.06. Alshammar seems to be thriving well-enough in her new training ground in Sydney with the likes of Eamon Sullivan and Matthew Abood, though her in-season times this year have been a bit slower than they were in April last year.
The most star-studded race of the meet was the men’s 100 fly, featuring the young Chad le Clos from South Africa (returning to the site of his first ever World Championship from 2010), 50m Commonwealth Games champ Jason Dunford, and Milorad Cavic, who is best known for losing spectacularly to Michael Phelps.
On this day, Dunford was the best in 52.65, followed by le Clos in 53.41, and Cavic in 53.52. None of those are season-best times, but all were solid in-season times.
Le Clos was the only of the three to participate in the 200 fly, which he won handily in 1:59.1. He picked up his second win of the meet in the 200 free, which he rook in 1:51.76. Cavic only swam the 100 fly, and Dunford added a 3rd-place finish in the 50 free (23.04) to his book.
Among the stars-of-the-future to watch from this meet, 17-year old Serbian National (but Dubai resident) Velimir Stjepanovic swam a 1:52.4 in the 200 free and a 2:02.2 in the 200 fly, and placed well despite competing up an age group (in the 18&up division). Stjepanovic won two medals (silver in the 100 free, bronze in the 100 fly) at last year’s Youth Olympic Games.