There were only two individual event finals on the first evening of the 2015 Hungarian Championships, which are being held as an open championship, and both went to the host team.
Two of the country’s three biggest stars, Katinka Hosszu and Daniel Gyurta, were absent from the day’s competition, but many other big names carried the day.
In the men’s 400 free final, the defending 400 free Short Course World Champion Peter Bernek won the long course version of the event, swam a 3:48.71, using an impressive closing kick to pull away from Egyptian teenager Ahmed Akaram (3:50.10).
To this point of his career, Bernek has been much better in short course than long course, but this swim will go in his personal tally as the second-fastest time of his career, owed mostly to a more aggressive first 100 meters. His opening split of 54.55 is the fastest he’s been en route to a sub-3:53.
Akaram’s time, meanwhile, is a new Egyptian Record. The time broke a 3:50.34 done by his countrymate Marwan El Kamash at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte, USA in May.
In the other medal-set handed out on Saturday, Boglarka Kapas won the women’s 400 free in 4:08.89. She out-raced Italian Eriak Musso (4:10.21) for the victory.
That’s a season-best time for Kapas, just barely, but not much more – while her favorite event is the 800 free, she’s been much better in this 400, including in 2013 prior to the World Championships where she would go on to achieve a best time of 4:05.61.
- The alluded to third star of Hungarian swimming, Laszlo Cseh, did race on Saturday, though only in a semi-final in the evening. Cseh was the fastest swimmer through in the 50 fly with a 23.95, ahead of countrymate Krisztian Takacs (24.08). Cseh also swam prelims of the 400 free, but that was just a casual 4:21.27 that left him third-to-last.
- With no Daniel Gyurta, the Hungarians will have a tough time upholding the breaststroke crown after Edoardo Giorgetti of Italy earned a middle lane in the final with a 1:02.14. teenager David Horvath qualified 2nd in 1:02.68.
- Evelyn Verraszto, Zsu Jakabos, and Liliana Szilagyi will have a premier matchup in the 200 fly later in the meet, but for now they’ve set up a battle in the sprint event with all three going sub-minute. Verraszto led the way in 59.47, Jakabos was 2nd in 59.76, and Szilagyi was 3rd in 59.98.
- Jakabos, in her second semi-final of the evening, took top honors in the 200 IM in 2:14.91. Without much name challenge, she should win that event easily on Sunday.