Men’s 400 IM – TIMED FINALS
If scoring-by-nation were being kept at this meet, odds are the Hungarians would be sitting atop the tables. They picked up another even win to begin Sunday’s finals session with a 1-2 finish in the men’s 400 IM.
Swimming out of the fastest heat of the timed final, David Verraszto won in 4:15.76, followed by his country mate Laszlo Cseh in 4:17.19. It was a back-and-forth race for the first 200 meters, until Verraszto split a 1:11.5 on his breaststroke to split the race wide open. Along with American Chase Kalisz, Verraszto is one of the best-breaststroking male IM’ers in the world, and while that will continue to be his go-to at big meets, it’s interesting to note that in this swim, his first 200 meters were what really stood out by his standards.
Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori took 3rd in 4:17.65, followed by Chad le Clos (4:21.51) and American Josh Prenot (4:22.08) to round out the top 5. That’s a nice swim for Prenot in the lead-up to the Santa Clara Grand Prix: a meet at which he’s had some good swims and some not-as-good swims in the past.
Women’s 400 Free – TIMED FINALS
Katinka Hosszu started off the Sunday finals session on fire, just as she did on Saturday, with a 4:05.51 to win the women’s 400 free. That’s a lifetime best for her by almost two seconds, and bumps her to 7th in the world this year. It also breaks Boglarka Kapas’ old National Record of 4:05.61, set at Worlds last summer. In total, Hosszu now has (unofficially) 8 individual Hungarian records in long course to go with 10 in short course.
In the process, Hosszu beat the Meet Record holder Camille Muffat, who was 2nd in 4:07.11. While that was a season-best for Muffat, she hasn’t looked like her normal self early in 2014, as evidenced by the fact that she was more than four seconds faster at this same meet last season. Then again, that ended with a 7th-place 4:07-mid at Worlds, so perhaps she’ll save her 4:02′s for the European Championships this season.
South Africa’s Karin Prinsloo, a bit outside of her primary events, had another good swim with a 4:08.50 for 3rd.
Muffat’s Olympic Nice teammate Charlotte Bonnet took 4th in 4:10.93, and New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle was 5th in 4:11.18.
Women’s 200 Fly – FINALS
With all of the speed exhibited from big names at this meet, it would be easy to overlook a name like Franziska Hentke from Germany. But on Sunday, the 25-year old gave the world a taste of just what kind of season she’s been having, as she posted a 2:07.73. That’s just a tenth slower than what she went at German Nationals, and she’s now gone the four fastest times of her career in the last 12 months.
That’s noteworthy for a swimmer who broke-out in 2009 at 20 years old, but then like so many in the post-polyurethane era was unable to match her best time. That is until this year, where she’s looked like a serious medal contender at the European Championships in the event.
Hentke swam a very controlled first 100 meters, and then just blew away from the field with a 32.8-second split in the last 50. Her splits were 29.4-32.7-32.8-32.8, which is the best that she’s ever split this race. She;’s now lined up to go after the German Record (2:06.45) this summer.
Hungarian junior Lilian Szilagyi took 2nd in 2:08.98, and Jemma Lowe was a 2:09.52 for 3rd. That’s Lowe’s second season-best in two butterfly swims at this meet so far.
Following a pattern we saw on Saturday, Hosszu coasted through the 200 fly final to take 8th in 2:14.32.
Men’s 200 Back – FINALS
Ryosuke Irie once again dominated a backstroke event, taking the 200 in runaway fashion with a 1:54.91. That just missed a second Meet Record for him. While it was still a very good swim with no challenge for any part of the race, in relative terms, that was probably just slightly an inferior swim to his 100 earlier in the meet, based on his own history.
Hungary’s Peter Bernek was 2nd in 1:57.25, and he was well clear of American Jacob Pebley, who took 3rd in 1:59.35. Pebley had a good first 150 meters in that race and held off Hungarian Gabor Balog to pick up some money to cover travel expenses.
Women’s 100 Back – FINALS
In what has been a somewhat (unfortunate) recurring trend for the Brits this weekend in Monaco, Lizzie Simmonds swam a season-best to win the women’s 100 backstroke. She put in a 1:00.01, which almost took her under a minute for the first time since the 2012 Olympic Games, and beat Denmark’s Mie Nielsen.
In a bit of a twist, Simmonds’ first 50 was where she beat Nielsen: Simmonds is more of a 200 backstroker, as compared to Nielsen who is fantastic in the 50.
Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina took 3rd in 1:00.50, and Katinka Hosszu’s 1:00.98. Hosszu was a touch faster in prelims.
Iceland’s Eyglo Gustafsdottir was 5th in 1:01.23, which missed her own National Record by just under two-tenths of a second.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke – FINALS
Yasuhiro Koseki, who is the latest front-runner in the legendarily-deep Japanese breaststroke group, won the men’s 100 breaststroke on Sunday in 1:00.36. He out-touched Germany’s Marco Koch, who is on fire, by .11 seconds for the victory.
That swim is half-a-second away from his lifetime best; he’s gone four of the five best 100 meter times of his career in 2014, and his specialty 200 has followed suit.
Brazil’s Raphael Rodrigues (1:01.94) was 3rd, and Henrique Barbosa tied with Michael Jamieson for 4th in 1:01.97. Damir Dugonjic won the B-Final in 1:01.18.
Women’s 200 Breaststroke – FINALS
After 5 Meet Records were broken on the first day of this meet, there was just one on Sunday, and that came in the women’s 200 breaststroke. Rikke Moeller-Pedersen swam a 2:22.02 in the women’s 200 breaststroke. That knocked two-and-a-half seconds off of Rebecca Soni’s 2010 Meet Record of 2:24.45.
Moeller-Pedersen was swimming alone in this meet; the other-best breaststroker at this meet, Kanako Watanabe, didn’t swim the 200.
Spain’s Jessica Vall was 2nd in 2:27.13. She’s having a very good 2014 as well.
Men’s 200 Free – FINALS
South Africa’s Devon Brown took his 2nd win of the meet, swimming out of lane 8 to a 1:47.88 in the men’s 200 free. That adds to the 400 free title he picked up on Saturday.
Brown had a bit of a ‘rabbit’ on this swim in his country mate Chad le Clos. Le Clos, though across the pool, was the biggest challenger early, though the latter fell well off and wound up 8th.
Hungary’s Dominik Kozma was 2nd in 1:48.54, and Daiya Seto placed 3rd in 1:48.71.
Women’s 100 Free – FINALS
Denmark’s Pernille Blume won the women’s 100 free in 54.49 on Sunday, beating out Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (54.54) and Charlotte Bonnet (54.57). With 2015 and 2016 in sight, Blume has hit her stride this year and is the missing leg that makes the Danes a serious gold medal contender in the 400 medley relay. They will be a big favorite to win the European title, especially with Efimova suspended for the year for Russia.
South Africa’s Karin Prinsloo took 4th in 54.69, with Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (55.00) and Natalie Coughlin (55.20) in behind her.
The above wrapped up the ‘traditional finals’ portion of the Mare Nostrum Grand Prix, but the most exciting racing was yet to come: the head-to-head finals of the 50-meter sprint bracket challenges.
The produced results were not only great times, but some of the closest racing we’ve seen all weekend. The highlights:
- Nathan Adrian is zero’ed-in in 2014; on Sunday, in the 4th round of 50′s, he was dominant with a 21.68 to win the men’s 50 free. That’s his season-best time, and jumps him to 5th in the world this year. It’s also the third time he’s been under 22 seconds in 2014, and the USA hasn’t even begun its championship season. Russian Andrey Grechin was 2nd in the final in 22.29.
- Jeanette Ottesen was a 25.68 in the 50 fly to beat Kimberly Buys. That’s just off of Ottesen’s season-best.
- Junya Koga, a former World Champion who now trains with Club Wolverine in the U.S., was a 24.69 to win the men’s 50 back. While that just missed Jeremy Stravius’ Meet Record (24.61), it did beat Stravius’ second-place swim (24.88).
- Mie Nielsen won the women’s 50 back in 28.17, beating Italian Arianna Barbieri in 28.47. Barbieri couldn’t hold her speed from the semi-finals, where she was the top seed.
- Damir Dugonjic won his second-straight Mare Nostrum 50 breaststroke, putting up a 27.52. That just missed his Meet Record from last year. Joao Gomes took 2nd in 27.78.
- Nicholas Santos won the men’s 50 fly in 23.60, just beating out the hot-swimming Deibler, who took 2nd in 23.66.