2017 FINA WORLD CUP – BEIJING
- Friday, November 10th & Saturday, November 11th
- National Aquatics Center (Water Cube), Beijing, China
The final cluster of the 2017 FINA World Cup Series is upon us, with the first stop taking place in Beijing at the ‘Water Cube’, the famous aquatic center where American Michael Phelps accomplished his historic 8-for-8 Olympic gold medals triumph. Tonight, the key players evident in earlier stops of the World Cup splashed into the pool, while the host nation provided some deep talent sprinkled among the men’s and women’s finals.
Hungarian Katinka Hosszu did her best to try to catch the overall series leader Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden by collecting 2 golds on day 1. The Olympic champion first took the women’s 100m backstroke race in a time of 56.34 to hold off a charging Aussie in Emily Seebohm, who finished in 56.55 for silver. Both women represented the only racers of the field to notch marks under the 57-second threshold.
Hosszu then took the women’s 100m IM in a heated battle against Sjostrom, one that we’ve seen several times across this year’s World Cup. The ‘Iron Lady’ nabbed the win tonight in a mark of 57.50 against Sjostrom’s 57.78, with both times within range of what they’ve been hitting all series long. Although Hosszu has clinched a smooth 4-for-4 100 IM record thus far in the World Cup, Sjostorm has been right behind in every race, having been as close as within .08 in Moscow. Below is a comparison of the 2 women in the 100m IM thus far:
World Cup Stop – Swimmer – 100 IM Time
Moscow – Hosszu – 57.02
Moscow – Sjostrom – 57.10
Berlin – Hosszu 56.51 WR
Berlin – Sjostrom – 57.30
Hong Kong – Hosszu – 56.97
Hong Kong – Sjostrom – 58.62
Doha – Hosszu – 57.26
Doha – Sjostrom – 57.60
Beijing – Hosszu – 57.50
Beijing – Sjostrom – 57.78
South African world champion Chad Le Clos was successful in the men’s 200m freestyle race, the event in which he surprised a stacked field and earned silver at the 2016 Olympic Games. Tonight, Le Clos clocked a speedy 1:41.81 to represent the only swimmer to delve into the sub-1:42 second territory. Next to him was runner-up Chinese swimmer Ji Xinjie who secured silver in a solid 1:43.68.
Surprisingly, Aussie Cameron McEvoy, the fastest LCM 100 freestyler ever in a textile suit, was well out of the race in 8th place overall. After producing the 2nd-seeded effort of 1:45.32 in the morning prelims, McEvoy went over a half a second slower in the evening with his last-place 1:46.01.
Le Clos topped the podium in the men’s 100m butterfly as well, as the short course world record holder in the event earned a mark of 49.18 to take gold. Belarusian athlete Yauhen Tsurkin finished next, exactly 2 seconds behind in 51.18. Of note, American Tom Shields citing illness. finished out of the top 3. He has dropped the 200m backstroke, but is still in the line-up for the 50m butterfly tomorrow.
Japan’s Olympic bronze medalist Daiya Seto provided the most electrifying swim of the night, taking the men’s 400m IM in a new World Cup record. Seto led wire-to-wire to produce a final time of 3:58.20 for gold. That overtook the previous World Cup record held by Aussie Thomas Fraser-Holmes with the 3:58.69 he produced back in 2014.
Looking at Seto’s splits, the newly-married 23-year-old Waseda graduate registered 53.75/1:00/1:06.85/57.60 to lead from start to finish and beat out the next-closest competitor, David Verraszto of Hungary, by almost 6 seconds.
We recently reviewed how Seto has become more competitive in his breaststroke, making his IM in both short and long course that much more dangerous. When he won the 2016 Short Course World Championships 400m IM title, Seto split 54.30/1:00.47/1:06.90/57.57. The fact that he is still producing world title-caliber splits in breaststroke coming after a hard training stint in Australia bodes well for the swimmer’s ongoing challenge to rivals Kosuke Hagino and American Chase Kalisz in the long course event.
Additional Winners on Day 1:
- Jamaican world record holder Alia Atkinson got the win in the women’s 50m breaststroke, clocking 29.57 as the only swimmer under the 30-second threshold.
- Japanese swimmer Yasuhiro Koseki was tonight’s winner in the 200m breaststroke, stopping the clock in a speedy 2:03.43. His final 50m split of 31.98 was enough to keep a charging Kirill Prigoda at bay, as the Russian finished in 2:04.08 for silver.
- China’s 15-year-old Wang Jianjiahe scored a new World Junior Record in the women’s 400m freestyle tonight, winning in 3:59.59. The teen already holds the 800m WJR from Doha and was able to surpass the FINA benchmark of 4:00.56 to earn her 2nd record-setting achievement.
- The women’s 200m butterfly saw Zhang Yufei of the host nation take gold in 2:05.02.
- Sjostrom nailed the 50m freestyle win in 23.40, followed by Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Cate Campbell, who earned times of 23.47 and 23.67, respectively, for silver and bronze.