Swimming is one of the best ways to keep you fit and in shape. It freshens your body and mind alike. I can’t really think of anybody who does not like getting into the pool on a sunny weekend afternoon (unless of course, they are hydrophobic). Swimming can be done as a recreational activity, a regular exercise or as a competitive sport. In some countries like England, Sweden, Denmark, Philippines etc, swimming has become a part of the educational curriculum and children are encouraged to learn it from a very young age. There are various swimming styles namely Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke and Butterfly which can be done in an artificially constructed pool or in an open water source like a lake or a sea. Swimming, when done in open is termed as Open Water Swimming. Swimming as a competitive sport gained prominence in nineteenth century. And today there are more than 50 swimming competitions being held worldwide. Some of these are FINA (Federation Internationale de Nation) events, LEN (Ligue Européenne de Natatation) events, National Championships and few others. After the retirement of the renowned American swimmer Michael Phelps, many people lost their interest in this sport but there are many new facets of the swimming world that are significantly more interesting and to watch out for. Here is a list of 10 swimmers across the globe that displayed their swimming talents lately and emerged out as the best swimmers of 2013.
10. Kelly Aspinall, Canada
This 23 year old, 6’4” tall, 185 pound speedster was honoured with the title of CIS Male Swimmer of the Year 2012/2013. In February 2013, Kelly broke broke the 50m backstroke record twice on the very first day of CIS Swimming Championships. He triumphed five gold medals, a silver, and two new collegiate records, which were also his personal best, over the championships weekend which according to him “was a good weekend, very exciting”. Kelly concluded the 50 metres freestyle event during the CIS Swimming Championships 2013 held in Calgary in mere 22.16 seconds that got him the 10th rank on this list. Pretty fast eh?!
9. Yoshinori Muramatsu, Japan
This Japanese swimmer has 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly under his specialized category. According to Japan’s stringent internal Olympic qualification structure, the swimmers were required to beat a cut time of 21.97 in men’s 50m free event. Yoshinori raced to 23.06 seconds and vied for the splash and dash title. At the 54th Japan Swimming Championships at Sagamihara, he completed the 50 m freestyle in 22.16 minutes which fetched his world ranking to 9.
8. Maruyam Tooru, Japan
Tooru Maruyama was just 17 years old when he participated in the Australian Youth Olympic festival in 2013 and swam in total 7 swimming events. This Japanese, under 18 swimmer, holds his personal best for 100m butterfly, 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 200 freestyle events at 54.70, 23.30, 50.39 and 1.50.70 respectively. Maruyama is world ranked 8 for 50m freestyle swimming owing to his 22.07 course in the 35th JOC Junior Olympic Cup Swimming Competition S which took place at the Niigata city of Japan in March 2013.
7. Kousuke Matsui, Japan
Kousuke Matsui is another Japanese swimmer who made his way to glory and got himself in the list of top 10 swimmers of 2013. Kousuke competed in 2 events at the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup 2012 and holds his personal best for 50m freestyle at 22.78 seconds and for 50m backstroke at 25.88 seconds at the same World Cup. Further he competed in the 54th Japan Swimming Championship in February 2013 and raced the 50m freestyle in 22.05 seconds.
6. Makoto Ito, Japan
Makoto Ito from Japan specialises in 50m freestyle swimming. He established the record in 50m freestyle at a splendid 21.60 in July 2011 which was later smashed by Kenta Ito when he clocked a 21.25 to win men’s splash and dash event. Makuto’s last swimming meeting was from 26th July,2009 to 2nd Aung,2009 at the 13es Championnats du monde held in Rome. Makoto made it to the top 10 list this year by knocking down Ranmaru Harada and Yoshimori Muramatsu with his remarkable timing of 22.04 seconds in the 54th Japan Swimming Championships. Ito has maintained his 6th spot on the list from 2011 when his competed in men’s 50m freestyle.
5. Kazuhisa Hotta, Japan
Japan is going strong with its extraordinary swimmers. Next on the list is Kazuhisa Hotta. Kuzuhisa attained the 5th rank in the top 10 best swimmers list attributable to his 21.94 seconds swim at the 54th Japan Swimming Championships. Earlier, at the two-day Japanese Short Course National Championships in 2011, Kazuhisa came second in the men’s 50m freestyle event with his timing at 21.87, losing it to Kenta Ito, who topped the event with 21.66. In the semi-finals of the Japanese Long Course Nationals Kazuhisa lost to Makoto Ito, this time by just 0.06 seconds. Where Kazuhisa took 22.79 seconds, Makoto Ito completed the race in 22.73 seconds. These 0.06 seconds costed him the second position and he ultimately came third in men’s 50m freestyle event.
4. Lorenzo Benatti, Italy
Lorenzo is a 27 year old Italian swimmer and the guy has got his own official website! I’m impressed. Lorenzo Benatti, the swimming heartthrob, has took part in Men’s 100m freestyle, 4 X 100m freestyle relay, 4 X 100m medley relay and 50m freestyle and specializes in 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 4 X 100m freestyle. Benatti’s best time encompasses 52.59, 49.81, 24.10 and 22.85 for 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle respectively. In the finals of the National Teams Championship held in Verona, he showed an exemplary performance of 21.88 seconds which brought him to rank 4 among other world class swimmers.
3. Luca Dotto, Italy
Another cute Italian on the list! Luca Dotto specializes in 50m and 100m freestyle and in 2011, he became the world vice champion for his race in Shanghai. Making his debut in the national youth COMEN Cup 2006 in Rio Maior in Portugal, 23 year old Luca has most recently participated in Mediterranean games held in Turkey. He won a silver with 22.20, a bronze with 22.35 and a gold with 3.15.99 for 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 4 X 100m freestyle respectively. His remarkable timing of 21.66 in the National Teams Championship Finals which were held on 20th April 2013 in Verona gained him his much deserved acclaim and also got him the 3rd spot on this list.
2. Marco Orsi, Italy
Marco, 22 year old, 6’2”, Italian swimmer masters in freestyle. Trained by Fabio Cuzari, Marco qualified for his first Olympic appearance last year in London 2012. He recently competed in the Mediterranean Games and won golds in both 50m freestyle and 4 X 100m freestyle events. 22.13 for 50m freestyle is his personal best which he achieved at the 14th FINA World Championships in 2011 and 47.94 for 100m freestyle at the European Short Course Swimming Championships. Marco oris was beaten by Lucas Dotto and Leonardi, both of their timings being 49.22, while Oris rested at 49.52 in the 100m freestyle for men. But he made his way to secure the 2nd rank by clinching his 21.50 seconds swim at the National Teams Champions Finals held in Verona in April this year.
1. Shinri Shioura, Japan
Yes, he is the No1 swimming champion of 2013. Finally Japanese took the title after a tough competition with Italian swimmers. Japanese do take their swimming lessons quite seriously! Shinri, 22, had his last swimming meetings at Meetings International de Canet-en-Roussillon in mid Jun 2013. Shinri, who was a third year law student at the Chuo University last year, bagged the first position in both 50m and 100 freestyle events at the Japan Open 2012 held at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre in the month of May. At the Canet-de-Roussilon 2013, Shinri Shioura won the men’s 50m freestyle in 22.22 beating the South African swimmer Roland Schoeman, who was at 22.29. Shinri’s 21.28 second swim at the 54th Japan Swimming Championships at Sagamihara made him the worldwide foremost swimmer of 2013.