Kazan 2015: And here come the Masters


Though the FINA World Championships are over in Kazan, the designated venues are still busy with competitions of the aquatic disciplines. As a novelty, the FINA World Masters Championships are held together with the “big event” – swimming, diving and water polo competitions are staged immediately after the conclusion of the elite champs, while open water and synchro have already been finished.

Two “real” World Championships venues accommodate the Masters participants: one was the magnificent open water course in the Kazanka River (the other is the diving facility in the Aquatic Palace). The usual 3km race saw hundreds of participants, the oldest ones represented Russia, Stanislav Viazovskii and Igor Brovin belonged to the 80-84 years old age group – and in fact they clocked even better times than the winner in the 75-79 years old category! (Viazovskii covered the course in 1:08.22.8 hours.)

Most of the entrants had really serious preparations, for instance Jan Graefe can just as well be counted a professional as he trains 20-25 hours a week! Racing in the 40-44 age group – and finishing runner-up –, the German proudly said: “Swimming plays a very important role in my life. I swim 20-25 hours a week. I put my family first and sport second.”

Fellow German Helmut Hertelendy was not a competitive swimmer, he took up the sport at the age of 20, then he had a longer spell with alpine skiing but a couple of accidents forced him to return to the pool where he trains six times a week (swimming 4-5km daily) and now the 65-year old is a Masters world champion. It’s understandable as he added: “I don’t even watch TV; nothing distracts me from swimming.”

Open Water venue, Kazanka River (Kazan, Russia) Photo: Press Department of Organising Committee
for 16th FINA World Championshipsr 16th FINA World Championships

Here in Kazan, he was really satisfied with the organisation of the event. As he put it: “Amazing! The best competitions I've ever taken part in. I arrived in Kazan at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and only one hour later, around 3, I already received my accreditation badge. It is awesome!”

Mr. Hertelendy also watched the “big event”, he attended the swimming finals on one day, labelling the experience “really breath-taking”, thus a kind of underlining how great this FINA initiative is. The pairing of the two events can bring the true lovers of the aquatic disciplines together, the Masters can enjoy the greatest actions at the World Championships, before contesting their own events.