The Vortex, February 2024 – McEvoy Chucks 21.13 Gauntlet In Doha 50 Free Heats

2024-02-16 No comments Reading Time: 14 minutes
Cameron McEvoy bends time for a 21.06 victory in the 50m freestyle at World Championships in Fukuoka EVOY of Australia celebrates after winning in the Men's 50m Freestyle Final during the swimming events of the 20th World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, Saturday, July 29, 2023. (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)
Cameron McEvoy bends time for a 21.06 victory in the 50m freestyle at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)

The Vortex is SOS’ digest and soak of swimming news, views and links, with new stories and snippets added most days and collated in one monthly file – February

The February Vortex includes a selection of highlights from the World Championships in Doha alongside any single-article coverage. The timing and nature of the event neither allows nor justifies comprehensive coverage of the kind SOS would usually dedicate to the global showcase.

Friday Vortex, February 16Cameron McEvoy, of Australia, approached the months-long defence of the world 50m freestyle title with a 21.13sec blast in day-six morning heats.

The time was just 0.07 shy of McEvoy’s personal best, set in Fukuoka at the last World titles a little over six months ago. The world record belongs yet to the shiny suits era, Cesar Cielo, of Brazil, the owner in 20.91.

James Magnussen, a former teammate of McEvoy’s, recently said he would “juice up to the gills” if the organisers of a doping-games concept paid him a million dollars if he covered 50m in a time faster than Cielo’s. He indicated he would not only need to be doped but wear a shiny suit, too, to “break” the record. NB: the record would not be broken under such circumstances, of course, because it would require a clean swim and a negative doping test.

Thursday Vortex, February 15

World Championships, Doha – Swimming, Day 5

Curzan At The Double As Pan, Stephens & Knox Join Wave Of World-Title Debutants At Quirk Of Qatar Gathering

Wednesday Vortex, February 14

World Championships, Doha – Swimming, Day 4

Wiffen, Haughey, Honda & Williamson Deliver Flow Of World-Title Firsts

Kuwait sports authority calls for investigation against Husain Al-Musallam

Husain Al-Musallam with IOC president Thomas Bach
Husain Al-Musallam with IOC president Thomas Bach

The Inquisitor today presents new documents that have sparked a call from Kuwait’s sports authority for Husain Al-Musallam, World Aquatics president, to face investigation at home.

The call followed concerns over company connections and were also raised in Kuwait after documents surfaced that led to allegations that Al-Musallam benefitted his family from Olympic Council of Asia accounts.

Al-Musallam denies any wrongdoing and puts his current challenges down to the maelstrom of internal Kuwaiti politics. You can read the statement from the World Aquatics president in full here.

You can read the first documents to emerge and a full report at The Inquisitor.

Tuesday Vortex, February 13

World Championships, Doha – Swimming, Day 3

Quadarella, Tang & Hwang Produce Paris-Podium Prospect Victories at Doha Championships As Haughey Tops Versatility Stakes

Monday Vortex, February 12

World Championships, Doha – Swimming, Day 2

Douglass, Fink, Kohler & Ribeiro Claim Day 2 World Titles In Doha

Sunday Vortex, February 11

World Championships, Doha – Swimming, Day 1

Fairweather & Kim Take Doha 400m Free Crowns & Pan Cracks World 100 Free Record in 46.80 Leading China To 4×100 Gold

In other news…

Former FINA Vice President Gyarfas Jailed For 7 Years For Incitement To Murder

Tamas Gyarfas, former head of Hungarian swimming and vice-president of FINA at his trials in Budapest (Screenshot: ATV Magyarszág)

Media tycoon János Fenyő was gunned down in his car with a submachine gun fitted with a silencer in his car at a busy Budapest intersection on February 11, 1998. Now 74, Tamás Gyárfás was found guilty of “incitement to premeditated murder” by the Budapest Regional Court in the presence of heavy security. 

During the trial in Budapest, the city to which World Aquatics is relocating its headquarters following an agreement with the Hungarian government, Gyárfás said he had “nothing to do” with János Fenyő’s death. He said the whole affair had “ruined” his life, according to AFP.

The murder shocked Hungary and the subsequent investigation traced the murder to hitman Jozef Roháč. In the trials that led to Rohac being jailed, he testified that Gyárfás had ordered the killing. 

Jozef Roháč a.k.a. Potkan is a Slovak criminal with convictions as a terrorist and mafia hitman specializing in explosives. He installed  an explosive device used in the assassination of Róbert Remiáš and in assassinations of numerous organized crime bosses in Slovakia and Hungary. According to the newspaper SME, Roháč had connections to both the Slovak and Hungarian Secret Services. Despite Interpol searches, he evaded the law for 9 years.

Gyarfas continues to say he had nothing to do with the killing.

Read the story in full and its connection to dangerous organised crime hitmen at THE INQUISITOR

Thursday Vortex, February 8

Husain Al-Musallam’s Faces Ethics Fight In Stormy Political Seas

Husain Al-Musallam, FINA President, image courtesy of FINA

Smoke from the blown-out candles on the first-birthday cake of the Aquatics Integrity Unit (AQIU) still hanging in the air, the global regulator is facing a rising tide of integrity challenges.

January cast serious doubts on reform commitments at World and European Aquatics after both federations failed to ask António Silva to step aside from his roles as a global vice-president under the presidency of Husain Al-Musallam and as a continental president seeking reelection pending investigation into integrity matters that prompted the Portuguese government to order Silva’s dismissal as head of his nation’s swimming federation after a five-month inquiry found in favour of a whistleblower

February has not got off to a better start.  in the first week alone, Husain Al-Musallam has been:

Asia Aquatics and their hot topic
  • the subject of a complaint that led Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) investigators to alert the head of NOC to an alleged association with a company trading in the Olympic realm
  • referred to the ethics commission of the KOC
  • been cited in a letter to a State Minister in which a public prosecution and anti-corruption authority investigation is suggested
  • forced to deny the allegations, which he tells THE INQUISITOR flows from political intrigue in Kuwait
  • apparently been cleared by the ethics commission the day before its organisation’s president informed the Kuwaiti government that Al-Musallam had been referred to the committee for investigation
  • been alerted to allegations that millions in Kuwaiti public funds allocated to Asia Aquatics have gone missing. 

Read in full at THE INQUISITOR: the story, the documents, the denial and statement from the World Aquatics president, as well as the Asia Aquatics meeting in Doha on Monday at which the question of missing millions will be raised.

China Gold & 5th Olympics As Silver Lining For Tom Daley with Britain 10m Synchro Partner Noah Williams

China’s Lian Junjie and Yang Hao dominated the men’s 10m synchro diving in Doha at the World Championships for a 470.76-point victory ahead of Britain’s Tom Daley and Noah Williams (422.37) and Ukraine’s Kirill Boliukh and Oleksi Sereda (406.47).

If the Chinese pair ended each of the six rounds in the lead, the Brits had a “2” by their names from the first to the last dive, which qualified Daley for a fifth Olympic Games.

Thomas Daley and Noah Williams of Team Great Britain – synchro 10m diving silver at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images – courtesy of British Swimming)

Daley, now 29 and on a comeback after retiring from the sport in the wake of synchro gold at Tokyo 2020 with mate Matty Lee, was the second youngest male to compete at the Olympics in any sport for Great Britain, diving at Beijing 2008 a couple of months after his 14th birthday. The youngest boy ever at a Games for Britain remains Ken Lester, cox to the rowing pair at the 1960 Summer Olympics: he was 13 years and 144 days old.

After silver today, Daley said: “I was terrified when I woke up this morning, terrified eating breakfast, and at lunch! But once I got into the competition, and being with Noah, I kind of relaxed and was like, ‘ah, this is what it feels like’.
We knew that we had to try to qualify a spot for the Olympics, which we succeeded in – but I think we went into it more fighting for the medals rather than thinking about the spots. We’re super happy, and it’s my first ever silver medal at a World Championships, so I’ve got the set now.”

Williams added: “We obviously haven’t trained too much together, but I think it has come pretty naturally to both of us. Tom said about seeing if he’s fit enough to dive with me, it’s definitely the other way around! I just try to do my best next to him, he’s obviously a great diver, so the better I dive, we’ll hopefully be able to be pushing for gold.”

On making his fifth Games, Daley said:

Tom Daley on the cover of his book after the first few chapters of a longer story were penned

“Today was what it all came down to, whether I was going to be able to be fit enough to dive with Noah in the first place, and then be able to actually come in the top qualifying spots. That’s mission accomplished so far, and now it’s about staying fit and healthy to get to the start line, so now the real work starts.”

Tom Daley

“It was really tough to get back into it, everything was sore, I’ve had niggles and injuries and had to train really smart,” said Daley of his comeback as a father with his partner Lance Black. “But at the end of the day, it does eventually come back to you, and a lot of being able to stay positive, remember what really matters most, and I went into this being like, ‘you know what, no matter what happens, tomorrow I’m going to get to go home and see my babies’, and that’s what matters to me.”

Wednesday Vortex, February 7

At The Double: Van Rouwendaal Adds 5K To 10K Crown & Fontaine & Olivier Punch 1-2 For France

Sharon van Rouwendaal – courtesy of Arena

Dutch open water ace Sharon van Rouwendaal added the 5km world title to the 10km crown she claimed last weekend at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

The silver went to Australia’s Chelsea Gubecka, who led with 150m to go before her Dutch rival flicked the sprint switch long known to be a part of her tool kit (with international podiums in the 100 and 200m backstroke and 400m freestyle among her pool prizes).

Van Rouwendaal stopped the clock at 57mins 33.9 with Gubecka touching in 57:35.0 and the bronze going to Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha, Olympic 10km champion, in 57:36.8.

In the men’s battle, Logan Fontaine and Marc-Antoine Olivier punched a 1-2 finish for France, gold gone by 0.3sec in 51.29.3, the bronze to Italian Dominico Acerenza a further 0.4sec adrift the champion, with 10km champion last weekend, Kristof Rasovszky fourth 1.2sec behind Fontaine.

Results in full: Women ; Men

A Damning Report En Route To Paris 2024: “Omertà at all levels”, a “rape culture” and “systemic dysfunctions”

France’s sport has received an increase in funding for Paris 2024. President Macron wants more medals. France also receives the 2030 Winter Games. The other side of the coin: the sports system is dominated by scandals and mismanagement at all levels, as a breathtaking investigation report documents.

The list of failures by French sporting authorities outlined in the 419 pages of a recent report into operational failures within the French sporting movement are too numerous to list.

The Paris 2024 bid logo projected on to the Arc de Triomphe – courtesy of Paris 2024

“In the three areas investigated by the Committee of Inquiry (violence, discrimination, breaches of integrity), its work highlighted the systemic nature of the malfunctions that originate in the governance of the sporting world and its special relationship with the State. These systemic dysfunctions concern both the actions of the State and the internal governance of the federations.”

But more astounding is the refusal of the French sporting administration to engage with many of its 62 recommendations.

Andy Brown reports at The Inquisitor

Tuesday Vortex, February 6

Marathon Cut For Paris 2024 Olympics Sealed With Seine Slots For 22 Men & 22 Women

Monday Vortex, February 5

Kate Shortman & Izzy Thorpe Take First Britain Synchro Medal In World Titles History Adrift China

Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe - historic synchro silver for Great Britain - courtesy of British Swimming
Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe – historic synchro silver for Great Britain – courtesy of British Swimming

Synchro/Artistic Swimming: Wang Liuyi and Wang Qianyi claimed gold for China in the Women’s synchronised duet technical final at World Aquatics Championships in Doha, ahead of an historic silver for Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe, the first GB medal in synchro at a World Championships all the way back to the beginning in 1973. Spain’s Alisa Ozhogin and Iris Casas claimed bronze.

The competition is the latest to proceed without a nation that has dominated artistic/synchro swimming for many years, Russia, which has found itself excluded from events because of its systematic doping crisis and, in the east two years, its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Competing at their fifth World Championships together, 22-year-olds Shortman, the daughter of Maria and Mike Shortman and niece of former Great Britain sprint swimmer Austyn Shortman, and Thorpe produced their breakthrough Britain 46 years after Andrea Holland, who went on to coach Swiss and British synchro teams, and Jackie Cox finished 4th in the duet at the 1978 Championships in West Berlin.

The 2024 Brits executed a Big Ben-inspired routine that included one of the highest difficulty levels in the field. They led the competition with only two teams left to perform: the Chinese aces got past them for gold, but Spain, with a far higher ranking than Britain has had in sycnro for many years, fell shy.

“It means so much, I can’t even put it into words. I just hope it’s inspiring some young girls and boys back at home, and we can lead the way for some of them and that there’s a bright future for artistic swimming in the UK,” said Thorpe.

“It was about trying to be confident and calm at the same time. Obviously it was very exciting when we came third in the prelim, but it’s about trying to keep those nerves down. We just knew we had to do exactly the same swim, a normal swim for us. We train every day, we are swimming at a World Champs so we just tried to replicate that here and I feel it went really well.”

Kate and Izzy do not have long to celebrate the result. They are back in the water for the Free Duet prelims on Wednesday, with the final of that event to follow on Thursday.

After that competition, the scores from both Tech Duet and Free Duet finals will be combined to work out who has qualified the final Olympic spots for Paris 2024.

That is the pair’s ultimate goal – and Shortman feels their technical silver is a perfect springboard for that target.

“The confidence that this will give us will translate into the Free Duet. To get a silver medal at World Champs, in Olympic year, is crazy. Any World Championships, let alone an Olympic year World Champs, we are just really happy,” she said.

“I don’t think it’ll sink in for a couple of days. I think I just need to take a bit of a rest now – we need to reset ahead of that free because we’ve got big plans for that as well, so we don’t want to let this affect that either way.

“Hopefully we can get a bit more publicity for the sport now and we can encourage people to get involved, everything that comes with it!”

There were more historic honours for the Brits in Doha when Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix took bronze in in women’s 10m Platform to become the first British woman to win an individual World Championships medal in an Olympic diving event. As reported below, Grace Reid was the first British woman ever to win any individual World titles medal when she took silver in the 1m Springboard silver on Friday.

There were more historic honours for the Brits in Doha when Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix took bronze in in women’s 10m Platform to become the first British woman to win an individual World Championships medal in an Olympic diving event. As reported below, Grace Reid was the first British woman ever to win any individual World titles medal when she took silver in the 1m Springboard silver on Friday.

There were more historic honours for the Brits in Doha when Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix took bronze in in women’s 10m Platform to become the first British woman to win an individual World Championships medal in an Olympic diving event. As reported below, Grace Reid was the first British woman ever to win any individual World titles medal when she took silver in the 1m Springboard silver on Friday.

Spendolini-Sirieix finished third behind dominant displays from Chinese pair Quan Hongchan, the champion, and Chen Yuxi. Speaking through British Swimming, the bronze medallist said:

Angela Spendolini-Sirieix, courtesy of British Swimming

“It’s been a long wait. My first World Champs in Budapest, I didn’t even make the semi-finals, and then last year, I didn’t make the final. So to be able to make the final and also on to the medal table, it’s incredible. By the grace of God, I am so happy, it is amazing! I made sure that I was aware of the scores, so I wasn’t just throwing myself off for no reason.

I tried to enjoy it a lot more than I did in the semis. In the semis, I was freaking out, I was so nervous because I wanted to make it to the final.

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix – Photo courtesy of British Swimming

Sunday Vortex, February 4

Men’s 10km:

Beyond the Vortex: Kristof Rasovszky Leads Another All-Europe 10km Podium At Worlds With Olivier & Pardoe


Long Daoyi and Wang Zongyuan beat 26 other pairs to win the men’s 3m synchro gold for China at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha. Italians Lorenzo Marsaglia, and Giovanni Tocci, earned a surprise silver, less than one point ahead of bronze medalist from Spain, Adrian Abadia and Nicolas Garcia Boissier, with Great Britain’s Anthony Harding, and Jack Laugher, 29, silver medallists at the last two world championships, locked out in fifth after sub-par execution of their last two dives.

Saturday Vortex, February 3

Women’s 10km:

Beyond the Vortex: Dutch Ace Sharon Van Rouwendaal Reclaims World 10km Crown In Battle With De Valdes & André


13-year-old Huang Jianjie and Zhang Jiaqi leap to in the mixed 10m synchro for China – Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images, courtesy of World Aquatics

A few hours after 13-year-old Huang Jianjie struck gold in the mixed 10m synchro gold with Zhang Jiaqi for China at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Osmar Olvera Ibarra became the first Mexican global diving champion in the 1m springboard.

Osmar Olvera Ibarra in the midst of a golden performance in Doha – Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images – courtesy of World Aquatics

That Ibarra’s victory also saw China suffer its first defeat in the 1m event since 2005 may not be as significant to the bigger battle pending at Paris 2024, the Chinese among team in Doha that are marked by absenteeism and/or the presence of star turns who, like many of their rivals, are taking the ‘intercalated’ championships, the first to be held in Olympic year, as an in-season training exercise.

Even so, the 19-year-old Mexican put in a stellar performance, leading from start to finish and confining Australia’s Li Shixin, a two-time world champion on 1m, to silver. Great Britain’s Ross Haslam took bronze.

Friday Vortex, February 2

Australia & Britain Take First Diving Golds At Doha Worlds

Great Britain's word-title winning quartet: Scarlett Jensen, Andrea Sirieix, Dan Goodfellow and Tom Daley - Doha 2024 - courtesy of British Swimming
Great Britain’s word-title winning quartet: Scarlett Jensen, Andrea Sirieix, Dan Goodfellow and Tom Daley – Doha 2024 – courtesy of British Swimming

Australia and Great Britain took the first diving golds at the Doha 2024 World Aquatics Championships. The intercalated nature of the event meant ‘no Chinese’, the relevance of results to Paris 2024 not just a matter of absenteeism of Olympic favourites but the difference between the Olympic and global showcase events schedule.

Australia’s win unfolded in an Olympic event, the Women’s 1m Springboard. The podium took shape from the fourth round, when Alysha Koloi, a 22-year-old from Australia, leapt from third to lead position ahead of Britain’s Grace Reid and Maha Amer of Egypt.

And there the result stood, Koloi taking the gold, Reid the silver and US-based Amer an historic bronze for her country. It was a terrifically close contest: Koloi led with 260.50 points, Reid 3.25 behind, with Amer just one-tenth adrift.

Australian Alysha Koloi, centre, claimed 1m springboard gold ahead of Great Britain's Grace Reid and Egypt's Maha Amer - Doha 2024, courtesy of World Aquatics
Australian Alysha Koloi, centre, claimed 1m springboard gold ahead of Great Britain’s Grace Reid and Egypt’s Maha Amer – Doha 2024, courtesy of World Aquatics

“I am in a big shock,” Koloi said of winning gold in her world championship debut. “This is a big surprise. I am stoked. This medal on my neck is unbelievably heavy. It is absolutely gorgeous.”

After her first solo World titles podium success, Reid’desceribed the moment as “surreal”, adding: “I’m just delighted. I’ve had a bumpy couple of years. I am finally finding my feet and my rhythm again.”

Amer’s take: “I’ve been dreaming about this moment a lot. I wish I had a little bit more confidence in my diving abilities, but I think staying humble is better.”

Great Britain took the first gold of the championships in the Mixed Team non-Olympic event in the absence of China, among others bypassing the Doha showcase,

The champions: Scarlett Jensen, Andrea Sirieix, Dan Goodfellow and Tom Daley.

For Daley, victory marked his first world championship title in seven years after he had retired in the week of synchro Olympic gold with Matty Lee (currently recovering from injury) at the Tokyo2020ne Games but then opted to make a comeback in time for Paris. Daley will not compete in any solo events this time round, believing himself “too old” at 29 years of age, his shot at the 2024 Olympics set to unfold with teammate Noah Williams in the synchrony 10m platform on Thursday.

The Mixed Team tussle for gold in Doha was between Britain and Mexico’s quartet of
Gabriela Garcia, Aranza Montano, Jahir Ocampo and Randal Valdez.

Great Britain nailed gold with 421.65 points, Mexico 8.85 points behind, the bronze to Australians Nikita Hains, Maddison Keeney, Li Shixin and Cassiel Rousseau.

It is British Diving’s first gold medal at a World Championships since Daley’s 10m Platform title in 2017. He said: “I was so nervous doing my first dive in international competition for two-and-a-half years – and it was on springboard, doing a hurdle step, I was so terrified! But it feels good to be back out there and competing again, and to do it alongside this team has just been amazing. The strength of British Diving at the moment is absolutely incredible.”

Spendolini-Sirieix added: “I’m always honoured to dive alongside these guys. I looked up to Tom my whole diving career, so to be able to dive alongside him is just incredible, I’ve learned a lot even from training so he’s helped me a lot already. I really enjoyed that out there.”

Goodfellow said: “We look at individually what we can do, we are all great divers and I think, when we put together all the dives we know we can do, I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who can touch us.”

Paris 2024 and the ultimate vortex of challenge in aquatics sports will be the test of that.

Doha 2024 – Diving Results in Full

Thursday Vortex, February 1

Wheels For The Wiffen Twins: Dan’s First Car On The Horse-Power Of A World Record

In the latest instalment of The Wiffen Twins, Dan buys his first engine… after his world-record breakthrough in December.


January 2024 – CAS Hands Skater Valieva 4-Year Ban … & The Adults In Room?

The Silva Saga

Vote Ahoy For FPN: Dismiss Silva Or Go Down With Crisis-Torn President’s Sinking Ship?

Portugal’s Sports Boss “Repudiates & Condemns” Silva Statements & Questions Veracity Of The Newly Re-elected Head Of European Aquatics

World Aquatics: “Barelli Ban Still In Place” … World Aquatics Integrity Unit: Silva On Watch

Paolo Barelli “Wins CAS Case Against World Aquatics Ban & Is Back At The Helm Of Italian Swimming”

FPN Not A Monarchy Nor An Anarchy, Assembly Told In Latest Twists In Silva Saga

As European Leaders Try To Help Silva Survive Integrity Ruling Portuguese Board Asked To Step Down In Face Of Existential Threat

Silva To Be Stripped Of Domestic Swim Federation Crown After Portuguese Government Inquiry Finds Against Him In Favour Of Whistleblower

European Aquatics Boss Silva About To Host Emergency Meeting After Ethics Complaint Against Him Sparks Inquiry In Portugal

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