The 2014 FINA World Cup Series has returned in Beijing China. Among the more stunning news early on is that Tom Shields is not racing, despite sitting 2nd overall coming into the meet in the overall standings.
Also absent is 4th-ranked Thomas Fraser-Holmes, and several other top 10 swimmers.
On paper, that leaves Chad le Clos and Daniel Gyurta to run away with the biggest overall series prizes, though neither was at his most impressive on Friday.
Full meet results.
Women’s 800 Free – Timed Finals
Katinka Hosszu started off a typically-Katinka session with an 8:08.41 in the women’s 800 meter freestyle. That’s a lifetime best for Hosszu and breaks her own Hungarian National Record in the event
She beat out Mireia Belmonte of Spain, who was 2nd in 8:10.88. Those two have divided the wins in the World Cup so far in this event, with Hosszu now having two titles and Belmonte with three. Belmonte, the World Record holder, was very fast in this event in Dubai (8:04), but outside of that had been holding steady between 8:12 and 8:14.
Belmonte was actually the leader here at the 650 meter mark, but where Hosszu actually got faster in the last 150, Belmonte’s pace faded just enough.
After those two, it was Chinese domination, as they held the other 13 entries in the event. That included a 3-rd place finish from teenager Yirong Bi in 8:17.13.
Men’s 400 IM – Timed Finals
Japan’s Daiya Seto was dominant in the men’s 400 IM, especially now that the Australian Thomas Fraser-Holmes has dropped out of the series (even being relatively close to home).
Seto swam a 4:04.84 to win by almost five seconds. He broke this race open early with a 54-second split on his butterfly leg that nobody in the final was close to.
Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta took silver in the race on the basis of his endurance, not as any particular specialist in the IM, swimming a 4:09.55. Japan’s Tkeharu Fujimori was 3rd in 4:10.12, and the rest of the gap was filled by Chinese swimmers.
Men’s 100 Free – Finals
The male star of this series, Chad le Clos, got his finals session underway with a win in the 100 freestyle, posting a 46.81, nearly wire-to-wire victory. Russia’s Sergei Fesikov took 2nd in 47.20 and Germany’s Steffen Deibler was 3rd in 47.51.
That keeps a perfect series for Le Clos in this event alive, though he was slower than he was in all four of his previous victories.
Women’s 200 Free – FINALS
Hosszu’s second win of the day went in the books in the women’s 200 free, though she was once again pushed a bit in this race. China’s Shen Duo was 2nd most of the way, and wound up in 1:55.28 for silver. Duo is the Youth Olympic Champion and World Junior Record holder in the women’s 100 free.
3rd-place went to China’s Yuhan Zhang (1:55.30) and 4th belonged to Sishi Zhang (1:55.46). As Chinese depth continues to grow, with new names continuing to turn up and swim very well, their relay prospects for the future get stronger-and-stronger with a deeper pool to select from.
American Elizabeth Beisel took 7th in 1:57.28 in her World Cup finals debut (she’s never attended the series before). This is only the second time Beisel has raced in short course meters officially, after the 2011 Duel in the Pool.
Men’s 50 Breaststroke – FINALS
Roland Schoeman and George Bovell are not two swimmers immediately associated with “breaststrokers.” Daniel Gyurta is one of the first names associated with the term for the international swim fan.
The results, however, went to the favor of the pure-speed guys in short course over just 50 meters, as Schoeman won in 26.87 and Bovell took 2nd in 26.91. Gyurta came in 3rd in 26.93.
That’s Schoeman’s 3rd win in the 50 breaststroke in this year’s series so far, and in total he’s won 11 out of the last 13 World Series 50 breaststrokes (he swept the 2013 run).
American 15-year old Michael Andrew, like Beisel, made his World Cup debut on Friday, and took 8th in the final in 28.37.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke – Finals
Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson picked up 12 important points with a win in the women’s 100 breaststroke in 1:04.11. Like we’ve seen from many swimmers so far in this meet, the Beijing stop doesn’t appear to be a fast one as everyone is returning from an extended break likely filled with significant training.
Atkinson, currently in 3rd overall in the series after failing to score in Russia, is looking to claw her way back toward Mireia Belmonte in the overall series standings – which would require overcoming a 21-point deficit.
While the time wasn’t her best, Atkinson still had room to breathe over Australian veteran Sally Hunter, who took 2nd in 1:05.40. Atinkson did most of her damage on a sub-30 second first 50 meters, and then extended her lead a hair more on the back-half.
Russia’s Maria Astashkina took 3rd in 1:06.29. Astashkina is the 2014 triple European juniro champion in the breaststrokes.
American Breeja Larson, who made her World Cup debut earlier this year, took 4th in 1:06.67, just out-touching Spain’s Jessica Vall (1:06.71).
Women’s 100 Fly – Finals
For the first time in this year’s series, Inge Dekker was beaten in the 100 fly. In fact, it might be her first defeat in any event, as she’s a perfect four-for-four coming in across the 50 free, 100 free, 50 fly, and 100 fly events.
That moved to four-for-five in latter of those races though, despite swiming a very good time. China’s Lu Ying was too strong on this day with a 55.95, which unofficially breaks her own Chinese National Record of 56.05 from the 2011 World Cup.
Dekker took 2nd in 56.03 – which in fact is an identical time to the one she used to win Dubai and Hong Kong races. She’s been a 56.0 at every World Cup stop so far, showing an incredible consistency in this race:
- Doha – 56.05
- Dubai – 56.03
- Hong Kong – 56.03
- Moscow – 56.08
- Beijing – 56.03
On this day, though, she would have needed just a little extra to get under 56 and take the win, though it’s hard to be disappointed by the time.
Hosszu was 3rd in the race in 56.68, followed by China’s Li Shuang (57.28) and Xinyi Chen (57.28). World Cup living legend Marieke Guehrer was 6th in 57.84.
Men’s 100 Backstroke – Finals
China’s Xu Jiayu became the second swimmer to break a Chinese National Record, as he posted a 50.14 in the men’s 100 backstroke for gold.
In May at the Chinese long course championships, Xu broke the National Records in the 50, 100, and 200 meter backstrokes, and based on how much he demolished this record by, we could see him do the same in short course here in Beijing. The old record belonged to Sun Xiaolei in just 50.99 – swum at this same World Cup stop in 2011.
Australia’s Mitch Larkin took 2nd in 50.37, and American Eugene Godsoe, who held the lead at the turn, was a 50.56 for 3rd.
Masaki Kaneko (51.22) and Christian Diener (51.95) rounded out the top 5. American Michael Andrew again slipped to 8th in the final with a 54.54.
Women’s 50 Backstroke – Finals
No Chinese Records went down in the women’s 50 backstroke, but they did take their first 1-2 of the meet with Fu Yuanhui winning in 26.43 and Qiu Yuhan taking 2nd in 26.64.
Australian Madison Wilson took 3rd in 26.74, and Hosszu was 4th in 26.80. Hosszu’s backstroke has looked very good all series long, and she’s actually won this race at three of the four prior meets, but those swims were in the 26-low range (which would have won again here, if it had been matched).
Men’s 200 Fly – Finals
Le Clos won the men’s 200 fly in runaway fashion with a solid time of 1:49.73 – including a very fast 28.9 over the last 50 meters.
This is a race that le Clos has avoided through the first two clusters/four meets of this year’s World Cup series, but had no problem regaining his form here in Beijing.
Japan’s Daiya Seto was similarly fairly clear for silver, touching in 1:51.56. China’s Wang Shun and Wang Pudong were 3rd and 4th, respectively, in 1:52.91 and 1:54.08.
Women’s 200 IM – Finals
Katinka Hosszu was well off her world record of 2:02.13 which she posted in Dubai posting a time of 2:06.22. Her time was more than sufficient to collect her third gold of the evening in Berlin.
Hosszu finished well ahead of American Caitlin Leverenz who recorded a 2:07.88, which was slower than the 2:06.76 that she posted in Dubai.
Zhou Min of China finished third finishing in a time of 2:09.36.
Men’s 400 freestyle – Finals
In front of a home country crowd Sun Yang not only took the men’s 400 freestyle, but also took over the world’s number one ranking posting a time of 3:37.10. Sun took over the top spot in the world rankings from Australian Thomas Fraser-Holmes who recorded a 3:38.22 in Dubai.
In the first 200 meters Sun was pushed by South African Myles Brown, but easily pulled away from Brown in the second half of the race. Brown finished second recording a season’s best time of 3:39.26.
The battle for the bronze was a good one with Wang Kecheng of China finishing just ahead of world record hold Paul Biedermann of Germay. Wang took the bronze in a time of 3:42.55 followed by Biedermann who finished in a time of 3:42.72.
Women’s 50 freestyle – Finals
Inge Dekker collected her second piece of hardware winning the women’s 50 freestyle in a time of 23.97, which is just off her time of 23.95 which she posted in Dubai and is currently the second fastest time (tied with Femke Heemskerk) posted in the world this year. Earlier in the evening Dekker finished second to Lu Ying in the women’s 100 butterfly.
Tang Yuting finished second in a time of 24.48 followed closely by Qiu Yuhan who hit the wall in a time of 24.58.
Men’s 200 breaststroke – Finals
Hungarian Daniel Gyurta took the men’s 200 breaststroke posting a time of 2:03.40, well off the world record time of 2:00.48 that he posted in Dubai. Gyurta led the race by a full second at the 50 meter mark, a lead that he maintain throughout the entire race.
Mao Fellian of China finished second in a time of 2:04.43, placing him fourth in the world rankings. Huang Chaosheng finished third posting a time of 2:05.62.
Men’s 100 IM – Finals
Sergei Fesikov of Russia posted a season’s best time of 52.30 to take the win in the men’s 100 IM.
George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago finished second in a time of 52.43 well off his time of 51.79 that he posted in Dubai and currently tops the world rankings.
Wang Shun finished third in a time of 53.13.
Women’s 200 backstroke – Finals
Katinka Hosszu took her fourth event of the evening, but it was far from an easy victory. Madison Wilson of Australia took an early lead, turning first at the 50 meter mark. By the 100 meter mark took over the lead, but could never separate herself from Wilson by more than two tenths of a second.
Hosszu won the event in a time of 2:02.71 followed by Wilson who posted a 2:02.81.
American Elizabeth Beisel finished third in a time of 2:06.20.
Men’s 50 butterfly – Finals
Chad le Clos grabbed his third gold of the evening taking the men’s 50 butterfly in a time of 22.03. His time is only one one-hundredth of a second off his season’s best of 22.02, which is the fastest time in the world this year.
World record holder Steffen Deibler of Germany finished second in a time of 22.69 followed by American Giles Smith who posted a time of 22.81.
4 x 50 Mixed Medley Relay
China took the 4 x 50 mixed medley relay with ease finishing in a time of 1:40.10, well off the world record of 1:37.17 set by a team from the United States in 2013.
The Russians finished second in a time of 1:43.86 followed by Japan who posted a time of 1:46.75.