Berlin lived up to its hype on day 1 of the 2012 FINA World Cup stop there, with lots of fast times leading to lots of records. That includes a 400 IM World Cup Record on the men’s side, an Italian Record, a French Record, a Trinidad & Tobago Record, and very-nearly American and Australian Records.
Maybe just as big of a story, though, is the fact that Katinka Hosszu failed to record a single win, getting only a tie for 2nd in the 200 free.
Women’s 800 Free
At the first stop of the American junior tour in Moscow, Leah Smith just out-touched her countrymate Becca Mann by less than a tenth of a second. This time, the pair again got locked in a great battle that set an early tone for what is typically the fastest meet in this series. It was the younger Mann, however, who put up a bit of a statement with 150 meters to go to pull away and win a bit more comfortably in 8:16.58, followed by Smith in 8:17.96. Both women, however, should be thrilled with those times: spectacular given that neither had the time to do a “peak and taper” for this meet after Junior Pan Pacs.
Even if we go back to the winter of 2010, the last short course season that saw major global participation, only 9 swimmers that year were faster than Mann’s final result, plus one more faster than Smith’s. In fact, the time by Becca Mann from the Clearwater Aquatic Team is almost dead-even with what Chloe Sutton swam at the last Short Course World Championships as an American representative.
Denmark’s Lotte Friis took 3rd in 8:22.04. Notably absent was the series’ dominant swimmer so far Katinka Hosszu. Probably realizing after Moscow that she wasn’t going to compete in this race, she wisely dropped it in this meet: this could lead to some very good swims later on with more rest. Don’t be surprised if she adds it back as the tour swings to Asia, when most of the Americans have gone home.
Men’s 100 Free
American Anthony Ervin toyed with his pacing in this 100 free a little bit in Moscow, going out a bit slower than he had been, but it didn’t work out for him. Ever the cerebral swimmer, though, he came back to his old turn-and-burn strategy, going out in a 22.0, and apparently he learned a little something in his other attempts, because he reduced his back-half spread by about four-tenths.
In other words, instead of going out in 22.0 and back in 25.0, like he had been in Doha and Dubai, he was out in 22.0 and back in 24.6, for a total time of 46.71. That’s a personal best, the 4th-fastest ever by an American, and I’d call it his best swim of the series so far.
Australian Tommaso D’Orsogna was 2nd in 46.99, a great time for him as well, and Darian Townsend was 3rd in 47.02.
France’s Yannick Agnel made his series debut at this meet, swimming a 47.04 for 4th. That’s already a lifetime best time by .01 seconds for him, and what we’ve seen at this series is that athletes usually heat up as they go to more meets.
Women’s 200 Free
France’s Camille Muffat has really turned a corner in her career, it would seem. After an amazing 2012 long course season that culminated with Olympic gold in the 400 free, she’s now opened this meet in 1:52.28. That shaves .01 off of her best time already, and improves her standing as the third-fastest of all time. There’s no logical way to begin a season that fast other than by us accepting that Muffat is going to do enormous things on the way to Barcelona. Federica Pellegrini’s World Record in short course, at least, might be in danger this fall.
Her countrymate Charlotte Bonnet is doing work too (remember that the French took a bronze in the 800 free relay as a part of their impressive medal haul) and was 2nd in this race in 1:55.14. She tied right there with the aforementioned Hosszu. For Hosszu, that’s not her best time of the season (she was a few tenths faster in Doha), but it was better than she had been in the last two stops coming straight off of the 800. Still, what we didn’t see here is as impressive as what we didn’t see – this swim highlights just how fast she was able to go on the 800-200 double in past meets and how tough she is.
Zsu Jakabos was 4th in 1:55.60, after two-straight meets of finishing in the money in this race, with American Leah Smith taking 6th in 1:58.81.
Men’s 50 Breaststroke
Fabio Scozzoli continues to be the class of this 50 breaststroke race with Cameron van der Burgh returned home, winning here in 26.31. It’s looking more-and-more like the 50 meter race at this year’s World Championship will come down to those two, assuming both participate.
Germany’s Erik Steinhagen was 2nd in 26.71, and Glenn Snyders was 3rd in 26.79.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke
Not only was this 100 breaststroke Jessica Hardy’s first win of the event in three tries at this World Cup, it was the first time that she’s even landed on the podium. She was really dominant in this race, as most of the other breaststrokers in the field specialize in the 200, and the American won in 1:04.58.
Mio Motegi took 2nd in 1:06.38, followed by Rie Kaneto in 1:06.52. Britain’s Sophie Allen was 4th in 1:06.97.
Men’s 400 IM
After flirting with this record at each of the last two meets, Japan’s Daiya Seto finally nipped both his own Japanese and Asian Records, plus the World Cup Record, in 4:00.12. The swim also moves him to 6th on the all-time list.
This record actually came from before the polyurethane suits that lit up the 2009 series, rare to see, and was held by Brazil’s Thiago Pereira from this same stop of the 2007 series in 4:00.63.
Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh has been rolling through drastic ups-and-downs in this race. Adding in the 4:01.42 that he swam here for 2nd, his times progression at this series has gone: (4:06, 4:03, 4:01, 4:06, 4:01).
Hungary’s David Verraszto, joining his teammates who have done so well in this series for the first time, was 3rd in 4:03.19. American junior Gunnar Bentz was 8th in this timed-final in 4:16.85. That’s about a second slower than he was in Moscow.
Women’s 100 Fly
Italy’s Ilaria Bianchi continues to wow, with an Italian Record for the second straight meet in 56.86. She attacked the first 50 meters of this race to slice three-tenths of a second off of her old mark that was set in Moscow.
Sweden’s Louisse Hansson was 2nd in 57.55, and the Netherlands’ Inge Dekker was 3rd in 57.65.
Men’s 100 Backstroke
Russia’s Stanislav Donets continued to roll through the sprint backstroke events in this series, with his latest win coming here in the 100 in 50.02. That’s a little bit off of the sub-50-second swim he put up earlier this week at home in Moscow, but with a FINA Points Score of 936, it should still be good enough to score him pretty significant points in the overall series.
Australian Bobby Hurley was 2nd in 50.73, followed by his teammate Ash Delaney in 51.04.
Women’s 50 Backstroke
Australia’s Rachel Goh continues building with another best time in this 50 backstroke, winning in 26.80. That’s her 4th-straight time drop in the race, and her 4th win in 5 meets.
China’s Shiming Chen was 2nd in 27.11, and Fabiola Molina was 2nd in 27.29.
Men’s 200 Fly
Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov moved up from a third-place performance at his home meet over the weekend to win this race in 1:51.77. Japan’s Daiya Seto, belied by his great swim in the 400 IM earlier in the day, with a 1:52.22 that is not up to where he’s been for most of the World Cup (though he was a bit off at this stop in Russia, too).
American Tom Shields was 3rd in 1:52.27; though in the U.S. he’s been best known for his 100 fly, he’s really having a breakout series in the 200. That’s his personal best and is within three-tenths of a second of the American Record held by Davis Tarwater.
Women’s 200 IM
In the biggest upset of the day, Katinka Hosszu, who was undefeated in this 200 IM up until this point in the World Cup, didn’t even make the podium.
This was a combination of an off swim for her (2:09.14 – she looked a bit flat throughout and fell apart in the closing 50) as well as great swims by her competition.
That includes Sophie Allen from Great Britain, who made a big move on the breaststroke leg by outsplitting the competition by two full seconds. Jakabos took 2nd in 2:08.54, and young American Celina Li was 3rd in 2:08.95.
For Li, though no official records are kept for Americans in Short Course meters, that is the second-best time in the SWIMS database for a 17-18 in at least the last dozen years, behind Liz Pelton.
The other American Kaitlyn Jones was 5th in 2:10.34. Both American women continued the trend of blowing away their times from the last stop here.
Men’s 400 Free
Germany’s Paul Biedermann is really beginning to warm up in this World Cup season. After a rough 3:45 to begin his tour in Stockholm, he’s now dropped time at two-straight meets and has now gotten all the way down to a 3:42.21. Without Hurley or Seto swimming the race this week, he ran away from the field very early on to win easily.
Austria’s David Brandl took 2nd in 3:45.28, and German Robin Backhaus was 3rd in 3:46.88.
Women’s 50 Free
Britta Steffen got a little bit of better push in this 50 from Jessica Hardy than she did in Moscow, but still had little trouble winning at the final touch in 24.16. Hardy was 2nd in 24.43, and Inge Dekker was 3rd in 24.56.
Men’s 200 Breast
Sean Mahoney is really starting to rack up some money on this tour, now winning his second-straight 200 breaststroke. This time, he touched in 2:04.55, which is the fastest he’s been in a textile suit and half-a-second better than he was in Moscow.
In 2nd was Brazil’s Henrique Barbosa in 2:06.20, followed by Marco Koch in 2:06.84. For Koch, that continued a downward slide at this meet, but at least he still was the recipient of $500 for his efforts. That easy money in the breaststroke races usually dries up when the series moves to Asia, where the Japanese breaststrokers show up en masse.
Men’s 100 IM
George Bovell and Kenneth To took these 100 IM’s to yet another level, with Bovell’s 51.20 being the fastest of their back-and-forth affair so far. That time, the best of 2012, pushes him up to a tie for 5th on the all-time list with the great Duje Draganja. If either To or Bovell has anything left by the time Short Course Worlds roll around in December, we could see Peter Mankoc’s 50.76 World Record go down.
To just missed his Australian Record with a 51.53 for 2nd, and then there was a huge leap back to Darian Townsend in 3rd in 53.04.
Women’s 200 Back
New Zealand’s Melissa Ingram completed a European sweep of the 200 back with a 2:04.28. American Kylie Stewart was 2nd in 2:04.70, and Germany’s Jenny Mensing was 3rd in 2:07.31.
Zsu Jakabos took 4th in 2:07.55, and Katinka Hosszu was 5th in 2:07.69.
Men’s 50 Fly
Australia’s Matt Targett won this 50 fly in 22.30, missing the Australian Record by a skinny .02 seconds and jumping to 8th globally in history. Targett would be one of the biggest benificiaries if FINA were to add 50 meter stroke races to the Olympics.
Germany’s Steffen Deibler was 2nd in 22.83, and Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin was 3rd in 23.31. Swiss underwater ace Flori Lang (the World Record holder in an underwater 50 with fins) was 4th in 23.40.
Mixed 200 Medley Relay
The American mixed 200 medley won for the second-straight meet with the same quartet of Kylie Stewart, Jessica Hardy, Tom Shields, and Anthony Ervin. They went a best time of 1:40.49, which lowered their “unofficial” World Cup and World Record (FINA hasn’t posted any official records for the event yet.
The improvement came from the guys, as Shields split a 22.47 and Ervin a 20.50.
Italy was 2nd in 1:41.64.