x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Sorak holds edge over Venancio in Serbian bid for Olympics

The two UAE-based swimmers will go in direct competition tomorrow for the chance to join a third member of their Dubai club at London.

Stefan Sorak trains at the Raffles International School pool.
Stefan Sorak trains at the Raffles International School pool.

Two UAE-based swimmers will go in direct competition tomorrow for the chance to join a third member of their Dubai club at the London Olympics.

Stefan Sorak, who has lived here for the past year, will be part of a four-man Serbia team pursuing one of the qualifying places for the 4x200 metre relay event at the European Long Course Championship in Hungary.

The Serbian quartet's bid will be aided by the presence in their line up of Velimir Stjepanovic, the UAE-raised swimmer who has already qualified for the Games in the 200m butterfly.

Both Sorak and Stjepanovic have shown promising form so far in Hungary. Stjepanovic posted one minute, 56.84 seconds, the third-fastest time of his life, in qualifying for last night's butterfly final. He finished fifth in the final.

Sorak, meanwhile, has posted two personal best times so far in this week's competition. "I'm really please with both of my swims and can now look forward to the relay," Sorak said.

"These races have given me a lot of confidence for Saturday and I can't wait to get in and race again."

The Serbians will be pitted against their Hamilton Aquatics clubmate, Tiago Venancio, who swims for Portugal, in tomorrow's relay. Venancio's hopes of making it to a third Olympics are in the balance after a below-par performance in the 200m freestyle heats. His time of 1:50.3 was not good enough for a semi-finals place around a second slower than at the Games test event in London earlier this year.

"I went out too slowly, passing the 100m mark in 53.9 seconds, which meant I had settled in to a poor rhythm and couldn't pick it up," Venancio said.

Venancio still has a chance to qualify for his preferred event, as his first leg of the 4x200m relay will be considered for individual qualification.

 

pradley@thenational.ae