The prelims of the first day of the 2014 Mare Nostrum series stop at the Meeting International de Monaco wasn’t lighting anybody on fire, but with huge cash prizes on the line in finals, the times heated up in a hurry.
A reminder of prize money available for this stop:
For each event:
- 1st: 330€ ($449)
- 2nd: 180€ ($245)
- 3rd: 90€ ($122)
There are also bonuses available for record-breaking swims:
- Mare Nostrum Series record: 600€ ($817)
- Monaco Meet record: 600€ ($817)
- European Record: 3000€ ($4,085)
- World Record: 15,000€ ($20,425)
Men’s 400 Free – TIMED FINALS
South African Devon Brown kicked off a good session for his country with a 3:49.57 in the men’s 400 free. This wasn’t the most impressive final of the day, but it was a well-swum race by Brown to hold off Faroese swimmer Pal Joensen (3:50.41) for the first cash prize of the day.
Austria’s David Brandl was 3rd in 3:51.20.
Women’s 400 IM – TIMED FINALS
The first record bonus of the day went to Katinka Hosszu, who smashed the old Meet Record in the women’s 400 IM with a 4:33.80. That’s her season-best time by over a second, though it didn’t move her up any spots in the World Rankings.
In 2nd place was the old Meet Record holder, Britain’s Hannah Miley. She was a 4;35.70, which just missed her own season-best time in the race. She swam evenly with Hosszu for most of the race, but Hosszu did big damage early for a two-second lead in the fly. That’s where Hosszu is so dangerous in this 400 IM: she swims the fly leg better than everyone, and doesn’t often give the lead back. Hopefully in 2015 we see her against a full-form, hard-closing Yi Shiwen at Worlds to see their two vastly-different styles go head-to-head.
Japan’s Kamiko Simizu was 3rd in 4:38.53, and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte-Garcia took 4th in 4:40.33. The top-finishing American was Melanie Margalis, who swam a 4:44.30 in the morning heats.
Men’s 200 Breaststroke – FINALS
The first true final of the day went to Germany’s Marco Koch, and it was a well-earned 930$ ($1266). In the 200 breaststroke, even with some big names in the field, he was absolutely dominant from 100 meters onward. Koch would cruise on to win in 2:08.43, which is a personal best in textile (just a tenth shy of his lifetime best), and a new Meet Record. The old mark was a good one, but only in the context of being a decade old, and was owned by Russia’s Dimitri Komornikov from all the way back in 2003.
That swim also pushes Koch to 2nd in the world so far this year (a position he actually already held). The only swimmer faster is Britain’s Michael Jamieson, who was 2nd in this race in 2:12.34. Jamieson is about three weeks closer to his taper meet than is Koch also.
Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki was 3rd in 2:12.78, and the top finishing American was Cal’s Josh Prenot in 6th with a 2:13.60.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke – FINALS
The women’s 100 breaststroke came down to a battle between a pair of swimmers who are historically better 200 breaststrokers, but who have both drastically improved their 100’s in the last couple of years. Coming from a small deficit at the turn, Japan’s Kanako Watanabe was a 1:07.28 to win the women’s 100 breaststroke, with Denmark’s Rikke Moeller-Pedersen taking 2nd in 1:07.33. Both have been 1:06’s this year.
The fastest American in the final was SwimMAC’s Katie Meili in 1:09.32 for 4th place. Spain’s Marina Garcia was disappointingly just 8th in 1:10.82.
Men’s 100 Free – FINALS
Nathan Adrian caused a little bit of concern in prelims of the 100 free with a lackluster swim, but he was just toying with the field on a back-half cruise. In finals, he dropped a full second to win in 48.67. He was out in just 23.4, which is much slower than what we saw from him at the Mesa Grand Prix, his last big meet, but he still closed very well in a 25.2 second 50 meters.
That back-half pulled him away from Russia Andrey Grechin, who was 2nd in 49.24, and Belgium’s Pieter Timmers, who was 3rd in 49.38.
Anthony Ervin finished in a tie for 6th in 50.18.
Women’s 200 Freestyle – FINALS
South Africa’s Karin Prinsloo is having a breakout season even on top of her already-strong resume. The 24-year old has gone another best time in the 200 free, with a 1:57.17, and in the process knocked off Katinka Hosszu, who was 2nd in 1:57.30.
Hosszu was the fastest time of the day, but coming off of a 30-minute turnaround in finals at the fast-moving Monaco meet, she just couldn’t hold off Prinsloo in the last 50.
France’s Camille Muffat (1:57.31) and Charlotte Bonnet (1:57.56) almost chased down Hosszu as well, but didn’t quite get there.
Britain’s Siobhan Marie O’Connor was 5th in 1:58.58.
Men’s 200 Fly – FINALS
Japan’s Daiya Seto absolutely crushed the field in the men’s 200 fly, dominating the last 150 meters to a 1:54.70. That’s another new Meet Record, breaking the 1:55.68 done by his country mate Takeshi Matsuda in 2011.
In the first 50 meters,this race appeared as though it would be a battle between Seto and the defending World and Olympic Champion Chad le Clos. But that was only for the first 50 meters, as Seto began to put the hurt in shortly thereafter. He came home in under a minute, which is an impressive feat at this point of the season.
That is Seto’s best time of 2014, but isn’t enough to jump him ahead of Le Clos for #1 in the world rankings, despite the dominance here.
Brazil’s Leonardo de Deus took 3rd in 1:57.47; he had a great final 50 meters to earn himself a little bit of spending money. Denmark’s Viktor Bromer was 4th in 1:57.75, and just missed (by .08) his own Danish National Record.
Women’s 100 Fly – FINALS
The 4th Meet Record of the day went to Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen, who swam a 57.46 in the women’s 100 fly. That defends her title won last year in 57.63 – the old record.
That swim for Ottesen is her 2014 season-best. The same holds true for the runner-up Jemma Lowe (58.13), who struggled at British Nationals. This swim is a second faster than she’s been this year, and two seconds faster than she was in April. Hungarian teenager Liliana Szilagyi took 3rd in 59.04, and Brazil’s Daynara de Paula was 4th in 59.24.
Katinka Hosszu, on her 3rd swim in an hour, was 8th in 1:02.56. Siobhan Marie O’Connor, meanwhile, who stumbled in prelims, was a 58.88 to win the B-Final.
Men’s 100 Back – FINALS
The 5th, and final, Meet Record of the meet’s first day went to Japan’s Ryosuke Irie in 53.08. Irie at this point is so accustomed to the fast times in-season that even this result isn’t that surprising, but he did handle his country mate Juya Koga (54.25) with ease.
The old Meet Record already belonged to Irie in 53.47 from the 2011 meet.
Chris Walker-Hebborn took 3rd in 54.61, followed by Ryan Murphy (54.74) and Jeremy Stravius (54.97).
Women’s 200 Back – FINALS
Great Britain’s Lizzie Simmonds won the women’s 200 back in 2:10.17, beating the Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina (2:10.79). This was probably the least thrilling of the finals on the meet’s first day. Katinka Hosszu was 8th in 2:17.70, as this was her 4th swim in under an hour.
Men’s 200 IM – FINALS
Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh (1:59.87) and David Verraszto (2:00.62) went 1-2 in the men’s 200 IM, though they swam very different races to get there. Cseh went out hard and had the fastest split on the breaststroke, while Verraszto used a great breaststroke swim to get back into the battle.
The only swimmer close to them was Japan’s Fujimori Hiromasa, who finished 3rd in 2:00.88.
American Ty Stewart placed 6th in 2:03.54.
All of the 50 meter races in Monaco are being swum as multi-round bracket-style races, and Saturday evening saw the top four advance to the quarterfinals.
The best swims of the 8 races came in the 50 free. Americans Nathan Adrian (22.09) and Anthony Ervin (22.27) were the two fastest, and will be joined in the next round by Japan’s Shinri Shioura (22.51) and Krisztian Takacs (22.53).
In the women’s 50 free, Denmark’s Pernille Blume is the top seed in 24.91, followed by France’s Anna Santamans (25.14), American Natalie Coughlin (25.31), and Bahamian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (25.49). Watch out for Vanderpool-Wallace in the semi’s, as she is a swimmer who has a ton of experience in this format.
Also of some note is the comeback of Sweden’s Therese Alshammar after 18 months of maternity leave. She didn’t make it through the quarterfinals of the 50 free, but earlier earned the 2nd seed in the women’s 50 fly with a 26.57. That’s half-a-second behind Ottesen’s 26.07.