FINA World Cup Eindhoven: Sjostrom, Hosszu, Morozov, Belmonte Are MVPs

FINA WORLD CUP – EINDHOVEN

The World Cup stop in Eindhoven represents the final stop of cluster #1, with competitions having already taken place in Moscow and Berlin. Some of the swimmers saved their best performances for last, as we already saw one world record fall with several other top 10 all-time performances clocked through just one day at the Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium.

Women’s Events

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom lit the pool on fire with a scorching 100m freestyle mark of 50.58 to lower her own World Record in the event. Sjostrom notched a swift 50.77 in Moscow to establish a new WR at that stop, but found a way to shave another .19 off of that performance to check-in with yet another impressive historical performance here. Split comparisons and a list of Sjostrom’s current world records can be found in the World Record post here.

Reaping silver in the women’s 100m freestyle race tonight was host country swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjojo, the newly-minted 50m freestyle world record holder (SCM). Kromo clocked 51.19 behind Sjostrom, but her performance was only .05 off of her own personal best and Dutch national record set in Moscow, proving the two-time World Championship silver medalist in Budapest is at the top of her sprint game.

World Cup mainstay Katinka Hosszu of Hungary made her mark in Eindhoven as well, taking gold across two individual events on the night. She first cranked out a speedy 2:00.05 time in the 200m backstroke to come within a second of her own WR in the event, which stands at 1:59.23 from Doha in 2014. That makes two 2:00 marks for Hosszu through prelims and finals, as she registered a top seeded time of 2:00.53 already this morning. Here 2:00.05 podium topper tonight checks-in as the 8th fastest performance of all time.

Hosszu was back again in the 200m IM, albeit with a much closer race outcome than in prelims. Her morning swim produced a time of 2:04.94, which ranked her over 4 seconds ahead of the next closest competitor, USA’s Ella Eastin and her morning mark of 2:09.14. Tonight, Hosszu fired off a still-impressive final time of 2:05.01 after leading wire-to-wire, but the silver medalist wound up being Eastin’s teammate, Melanie Margalis. Margalis finished just .64 behind in 2:05.65, while Eastin settled for bronze in 2:06.37.

But the Iron Lady wasn’t the only double winner on the night, as Spain’s Olympic champion Mireia Belmonte also came to play in Eindhoven. Belmonte easily won the women’s 200m butterfly in a time of 2:03.02 before doubling up with an 800m freestyle victory in a time of 8:07.47. In the latter event, the Spaniard represented the only swimmer to dip under the 8:10 threshold in the race.

The women’s 100m breaststroke proved to be a thrilling race with the two fastest women of all-time in the SCM edition of the event side-by-side tonight. After tying this morning with a time of 1:04.75, Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson found another gear for the final, taking her mark down to 1:02.67 for the win. Splitting 29.32/33.35, Atkinson’s time tonight is the 7th fastest performance ever.

For her ultimate rival, Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, she still produced a quick time of 1:03.79 for silver (29.90/33.89), while America’s Breeja Larson was next-fastest with a time of 1:04.81 to land on the podium with bronze.

Men’s Events

The action was pervasive on the men’s side of the house as well, with Japan’s Masaki Kaneko earning a new national record right off the bat in the men’s 100m backstroke. Taking over Junya Koga’s previous mark of 50.07 from 2009, Kaneko touched in 49.65 to become the first Japanese man ever to venture below the 50 second threshold in the event.

Another top performer for the men was Russia’s Vlad Morozov, who collected two golds on the night. He first topped the 100m IM field handily in a time of 50.70 to tie the 6th-fastest performance of all-time. Then, he notched the victory in the 50m freestyle, clocking the only sub-21 second time of the field. Morozov raced to a time of 20.79 to top the podium, with the next-fastest finisher being Dutch national record holder Jesse Puts who touched in 21.21.

The men’s 200m butterfly proved to be one lit race, with a heated duel between South African Chad Le Clos and American Tom Shields. Le Clos ultimately won in a monster time of 1:48.67, just .16 off of his own WR of 1:48.56 from 2013. Tonight, Le Clos split 52.29/56.38 to win by just over half a second.

However, Shields produced the 3rd fastest time of his career with a silver medal-garnering 1:49.29. That’s within striking distance of Shields’ own American Record of 1:49.05 he set at the Duel in the Pool back in 2015.

Le Clos’ South African teammate Cameron van der Burgh was in action in his signature event, the 50m breaststroke, taking the race in 25.63. That registers as the 8th fastest time ever.

Another winner on the night was Aleksandr Krasnykh, the Russian who surprised a stacked field to win bronze in the men’s 200m freestyle in Budapest. Tonight he picked up his 2nd 400m freestyle victory of this World Cup cluster #1, winning in 3:38.35. Although he led from start-to-finish, the race was extremely close, with Norway’s Henrik Christiansen and Italy’s Gabriele Detti finishing just .07 and .50 behind, respectively. Christiansen’s time was 3:38.42 for silver, while Detti clocked 3:38.85 for bronze.

Competition continues tomorrow in Eindhoven.

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200 fly best performance of the night

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About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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