The highlight of the 47th Soviet National Swimming Championships held at Kiev this weekend was the setting of a new world record in the men's 200 metres individual medley.
GV: Start and finish of men's 200 metres medley as crowd watches (4 shots)
GV Crowd Applaud pan to Sidorenko in water
SV Pan timing officials and stewards
GV Crowd watching Sidorenko who waves to them
GV Sidorenko's coach thrown into water
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The highlight of the 47th Soviet National Swimming Championships held at Kiev this weekend was the setting of a new world record in the men's 200 metres individual medley.
SYNOPSIS: Favourite to win the race was Sergei Fesenki. The European champion and record-holder for the 400 metres individual medley. Fesenko was in lane five. But much to everyone's surprise the relative unknown in lane four, 18-year old Alexander Sidorenko, took an early lead.
It was an even greater surprise when Sidorenko showed himself capable of holding on to that lead. With 150 metres of the race gone it was evident that Sidorenko was on his way to a new world record.
His time of two minutes 5.24 seconds broke Canadian Graham Smith's previous world record by seven hundredths of a second. Sidorenko has been swimming for eight years. He was a bronze medal winner in the individual medley, at the 1977 European championships but his favourite event is in fact the back-stroke.
Sidorenko's new record was celebrated in the traditional manner -- his coach Vera Smekhova was thrown into the water to join in the congratulations.