Katinka Hosszu, as she is becoming of every meet she attends, was the star of the first two days of the Hungarian National Championships this week in Debrecen. While the meet is not the Worlds selection meet for Hungary, and it’s open to swimmers of different nationalities, with just a month to go it’s a huge meet among the huge number of swimmers that have been circling around the unofficial European summer tour.
Hosszu already has 5 titles to her name through two days of competition; that began with a 2:07.85 in one of her best events the 200 fly. That’s her best time this year and jumps her to 6th in the world, though Zsu Jakabos (not pictured in this race) is still the fastest Hungarian in 2013.
Close behind Hosszu was 17-year old Liliana Szilagyi in 2:08.74, as she looks to be the next in a long and proud line of Hungarian 200 butterfliers.
Hosszu’s next win came in the 400 IM with a 4:41.99; that’s not quite as good of a result for her as the 200 fly was, but it’s still a solid swim as she’s a month out from Worlds and tries to nail down exactly what races she’ll attempt in Barcelona.
In her next swim on Wednesday, Hosszu took the top seed in the women’s 100 back semifinal in 1:01.82. Though clearly biding her time, that’s well off of her own National Record set earlier this year. Evelyn Verraszto is the 2nd seed in 1:03.4.
Hosszu began her Thursday with a t0p seed of 26.96 in the 50 fly semi-finals. Then, back into medal action, she won the women’s 200 breaststroke in 2:30.62, albeit against an admittedly weak field without breakout 17-year old Anna Sztankovics (who’s the fastest Hungarian this year).
Hosszu then wrapped up the 100 backstroke with a comfortable 1:01.03 victory on Thursday and the 50 fly with a slightly slower 27.03 (just holding of Szilagyi, who was 27.16).
Hosszu’s last swim of the second finals session was the 800 free, where she swam an 8:46.97 to place 2nd behind Boglarka Kapas (8:30.35). We’ve seen Hosszu come to the end of a lot of tough sessions this year and have some off-putting 800 frees, and perhaps that will be one of the races that goes by the wayside when Worlds come around.
Szilagyi was in that 800 free as well, and is perhaps trying to build herself up to Hosszu’s level of endurance.
She’s not the only big name at this meet, however. South African Chad Le Clos, who has been in Europe for almost a month now, won the men’s 100 fly in 51.90. He beat out Laszlo Cseh in that race (52.51). Bence Biczo, Hungary’s best answer to le Clos (aka young, very talented butterflier) was 4th in just a 53.69. He’ll look to be slightly more competitive in the 200 fly against the defending Olympic Champion le Clos.
Le Clos also won the 200 free, swimming 1:48.23 ahead of Hungary’s Peter Bernkek (1:48.92).
Another Olympic champ got his first taste of victory early, as Daniel Gyurta won the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.58. He’s the 200 meter champion, but has had a rather up-and-down year in this sprintier distance.
Evelyn Verraszto is swimming fairly well also, and has already picked up a win in the 100 free (54.98) ahead of Jakabos (55.81). The same 1-2 finish order came in the 50 breaststroke, though the times were less impressive.
And finally, Gergo Kis won the men’s 800 free in 8:00.21. That’s six seconds away from his season best, which is a pretty far fall considering his season best was two weeks ago at the Sette Colli Trophy in Italy.