Another day in Berlin, and though this year’s meet, and for only the second time this millenium (after the 2010 series), there wasn’t a World Record broken at this meet. France’s Camille Muffat, though, got as close as she could without tying one in the 400 free late in the meet, showing the benefit of a limited event schedule.
Women’s 400 Free
Camille Muffat was spectacular in her 200 free on Saturday, but even so, it was a surprise what she did on Sunday in the 400 free. She got clean water early in this race (two body-lengths by the end of the first 100) and then was left with just World Record pacing as her challenger. She was well ahead of the pace of Joanne Jackson’s mark for most of the race, but in a fashion that’s very much unlike her, she lost it just a little bit on the last 150 meters, and wound up a painful .01 seconds short of the World Record, with a 3:54.93.
American Leah Smith is having an outstanding meet, and did so again with a 4:04.86 for 2nd. She and Becca Mann got locked in a battle once again, and in a flip of the final result of the 800, here it was Smith who slid by her American counterpart with about 75 meters to go. Mann was 3rd in 4:05.21.
But back to Muffat, eyes will now focus on the local French circuit, as there’s been no indication that she’ll continue on the World Cup tour to Asia. She’s been known to swim very well in-season (evidenced here), so every meet will become an event for her.
Men’s 50 Free
Anthony Ervin went out very fast in his 100 free on Saturday, and was feeling that whole swim en route to a personal best in the 100 free. With him locked-in, in a fast pool, and on a pretty light schedule (two individual events and one relay), it was easy to predict that something special was going to happen in this 50. Just minutes after Muffat flirted with a World Record, Ervin broke the American Record in the 50 free with a 20.85.
Before people ask, this is a peculiar situation. The fastest time swum by an American is a 20.71 by Ervin’s training partner Nathan Adrian; however the officially recognized American Record had been Josh Schneider’s 20.88. That’s because Adrian’s swim was done in the uncomfortable purgatory where USA Swimming had outlawed rubber suits but FINA hadn’t. As Adrian’s swim was done in a European meet (specifically a British-hosted Duel in the Pool), he was able to wear polyurethane, but wasn’t recognized with an American Record. So for now, Ervin has the American Record*.
One way or the other, he’s the second-fastest American ever in the event: impressive given that just over a year ago, nobody was sure how far he’d even push this comeback.
George Bovell went right along with him, but couldn’t get to the touch in 20.97. Australia’s Matt Targett took 3rd in 21.12.
The Rest of the Day:
Men’s 1500 Free
There are no big-name male distance swimmers in this race, so the time weren’t quite as exciting as we saw in the women’s distance 800, but Hungary’s David Verraszto continued a decent meet with a 14:51.29 for the win. He was followed by Poland’s Mateusz Sawrymowicz and Slovakia’s Richard Nagy in 14:55 and 14:58, respectively.
Women’s 100 Free
Jessica Hardy continues to creep closer-and-closer to Britta Steffen in these sprint freestyle events, but she once again came up just short, as Steffen touched in 52.88 and Hardy in 53.00.
This was a very typical Steffen swim; unlike what we saw from Anthony Ervin in the men’s 100 on Saturday, she likes to hold back on her opening 50 and hit her gas on the closing 50. She was four-tenths back of Hardy at the halfway mark, but still came back to win.
Australia’s Jessica Morrison was 3rd in 53.31.
Men’s 200 Free
This men’s 200 free was a great battle between the top four for the whole 200 meters; the race has been good throughout the series, but with Yannick Agnel joining Paul Biedermann, Darian Townsend, and Tommaso D’Orsogna, it went to a whole new level.
D’Orsogna, the “sprinter” of the group, took an early lead at the halfway mark. That, however, was a very narrow lead, and slowly-but-surely the 200-400 guys started reeling him back in.
First came Townsend, taking over the lead going into the last lap. But as so often happens, the swimmer with the fastest closing 50 took the win, as the 200 free Olympic Champion Agnel reeled the field back in with a 1:42.10, which is already flirting with his lifetime best.
Biedermann, who had such a great 400, was 2nd in 1:42.71; with Townsend 3rd in 1:42.79, and D’Orsogna 4th in 1:43.09.
Women’s 50 Breaststroke
Jessica Hardy wrapped a sweep of the sprint breaststroke events by winning the 50 on Sunday in 30.13. She’s really found her grove here toward the end of her World Cup tour, as that’s her best time since dominating the 2009 season.
Britain’s Kathryn Johnstone took 2nd in 30.89, followed by Germany’s Margarathe Hummel in 31.09.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
Fabio Scozzoli took another breaststroke win in this race, though it was a much tighter finish than she had against largely the same field in the 50. His winning result was 57.61, followed by New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders (57.89) and Brazil’s Henrique Barbosa in 58.50.
Women’s 400 IM
After a tough day on the first day of this Berlin stop, where she failed to record a win, Katinka Hosszu bounced back with a very good 4:28.88 to win the women’s 400 IM. That’s not her best time of the series, but it certainly looked like a better swim than she had on Saturday. Specifically, she looked fresher when she got to the freestyle leg of this 400 IM than she did in the 200 earlier in the meet. That was the separating distance between her and countrymate Zsu Jakabos, who was 2nd in 4:29.78.
Becca Mann was 3rd, but well behind in 4:37.03.
Men’s 100 Fly
American Tom Shields has made a bunch of podiums at this year’s World Cup, but none of them were gold – until Sunday. Forewarned by a great 200 fly on Saturday, he won the men’s 100 fly on Sunday with a 50.03.
He really put his finishing kick together in this race. In previous meets, he succumbed to his Russian opponents Evgeny Korotyshkin and Nikolay Skvortsov in the last few strokes. This time, though, he put his touch together to take the win. Korotyshkin was 2nd in 50.14, and Skvortsov was 3rd in 50.89.
Women’s 100 Backstroke
Australia’s Rachel Goh remains largely unchallenged in these women’s sprint backstroke races in Europe, running away from the field in 57.02. That gave her a huge margin of victory over Fabiola Molina in 58.87. American Kaitlyn Jones had a great swim to take 3rd in 58.91, touching out Melissa Ingram (59.27) and Kylie Stewart (59.44).
Men’s 50 Backstroke
Russia’s Stanislav Donets didn’t get off of the wall as quick as his competitors, but he made up plenty of ground in a hurry. He ended up winning in 23.16, which is his best time of the year.
Bobby Hurley took 2nd in 23.57, with Guilherme Guido touching 3rd in 23.63.
Women’s 200 Fly
Hosszu got herself in a good rhythm, winning her second race in less than half-an-hour with a 2:05.78. She won rather comfortably this time ahead of Jakabos, who was 2nd in 2:06.99, and Celina Li, who was 3rd in 2:07.16.
Men’s 200 IM
In the 200 free earlier in the day, Darian Townsend lost the race in the final 50 meters. In this 200 IM, though, it was a rocket of a last 50 (splitting 26.59 – almost a second better than his competitors) that jumped him from a bronze medal to a gold medal in 1:53.44.
He just outran Laszlo Cseh, who was 2nd in 1:53.59. Cseh held off Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:53.84) as the two continue what has become a nice little rivalry.
Women’s 400 Free, Men’s 50 Free – See above
Women’s 200 Breast
After playing second-fiddle to Hardy in the shorter breaststrokers, the Japanese women got into their comfort zones in the 200, as Rie Kaneto won the 200 in 2:19.96 and Mio Motegi was 2nd in 2:20.57.
Belgium made a podium appearance here as Fanny Lecluyse took 3rd in 2:22.93.
Mixed 200 Freestyle Relay
Unlike Moscow, the Americans decided to enter a 200 free relay here in Berlin, especially as a large portion of the squad will return home. The A was the same quartet as has been used for the medley, with Anthony Ervin, Tom Shields, Jessica Hardy, and Kylie Stewart. Ervin opened in a 20.92, and Stewart, not necessarily known best as a sprinter, had an admirable anchor in 24.85. Their final time was 1:31.16.
The Danish relay was 2nd in 1:34.98.