Maltese National Swimming team excels in Luxembourg Meet

Saturday, February 15, 2014, 11:20
The Maltese National swimming Team took part in the prestigious Euromeet held at d’Coque in Luxembourg on the 7,8 and 9th February 2014 where good progress and local records were registered. The Maltese swimmers had to push to their limit even so early in the season and with hardly any tapering especially when some of them ended up in the heats or in the finals with Hungary’s current world record holder Katinka Hosszu, multiple Olympic medal winner Laszlo Cseh, Germany’s double world champion and world record holder Paul Biedermann and Marco Koch 2nd at the World Championships in Barcelona, to name but a few. 118 clubs from 19 nations took part in this meet that had over 3400 entries.
Upcoming breaststroker Pia Grech bettered her own National record in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 34.77, over half a second improvement of her previous time but still short of the Qualification B time of 34.34 required for Girls’ Standards set by FINA, the international swimming federation, to be in a position to qualify for the Second Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing this summer.
On the other hand, Julian Harding finished the 50m breaststroke with a time of 29.76, five splits inside the tougher A Qualification time set for the Boys in the same Games and just inside the National record. Raoul Stafrace also made an impressive show in the 50m and 100m freestyle with a time of 24.14 and 53.10 respectively when he finished inside the B qualification times of the same Games. It is to be noted though that the Qualification process for the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games is highly competitive and based on the FINA points system and universality places allocation. Only 400 swimmers, 200 boys and 200 girls from all over the world will participate in these games.
Another swimmer Neil Muscat also excelled when he set a 50m backstroke age-group “D” record with a time of 28.47, netting a Gold medal in the process. He also achieved a silver medal in the 100m event.
Setting these good times so early in the season is definitely a very good indication that the swimmers are vastly improving and leaving their marks. On the horizon are the Glasgow Commonwealth Games qualification times but in the meantime the swimmers will be active in the upcoming International Easter Meet to be held in Malta between 24-26th April and also at the Eindhoven Swim Cup earlier in the same month.
The Team, accompanied by National Coach Andy Colbourn and Chris Agius, was also made up of Nicola Muscat, Matthew Zammit, David Zammit, Matthew Galea and Andrea M. Agius.

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