There’s just two stops left to go in the 2012 FINA World Cup Series, and the meet kicked off in Tokyo this morning. The same familiar
We’ll hit the high points and leave the results to pare-down the rest of the nitty-gritty.
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who has dominated the headlines at this year’s series, got her day off to another fast start, winning the Women’s 800 Free in 8:24.89. Though this is a few seconds slower than she was over the weekend in Beijing, she struck a better balance in this race in the challenging 800-200 15-minute turnaround double. She posted a 1:54.94 in the 200, which is the second-best time of her career, to finally get back on top of the podium in that race.
In the 200 Free, she outpaced her countrymate Zsu Jakabos (1:54.94), as well as Australia’s Kelly Stubbins (1:56.50) who made her first appearance on the podium.
Hosszu added a 3rd win on the day in the 200 IM, touching in 2:07.51 ahead of Great Britain’s Sophie Allen (2:07.85) and again Jakabos (2:07.92). After taking this first-day triple three times in the first three meets of this World Cup Series, Hosszu did so here again for the first time since Stockholm.
The true star of this first day in Tokyo, though, was Japanese 18-year old Daiya Seto. Seto, a bit head-scratchingly, sat out the Beijing stop, but he more-than made up for the absence with his first swim in Tokyo. There, he posted a 4:00.02 in the 400 IM that is a new World Cup and Asian Record, in both cases breaking his 4:00.12 from Berlin. He now becomes the 5th-fastest short course 400 IM’er in history (though it’s a sizable jump to catch Tyler Clary for 4th).
Seto really looked amped-up for this race, as he came out on fire with a 54.51 in the 100 fly – quite a bit quicker than he was in his previous record-setting swim. 12 out of the top 13 in that race were Japanese, but Seto dominated them all from the word “go,” including Olympic bronze medalist in the 400 IM Kosuke Hagino: 3rd here in 4:07.70.
In the Women’s 100 Breaststroke, American Jessica Hardy was way off-her-game in Beijing, and Denmark’s Rikke Moller-Pedersen didn’t even swim.
Here in Tokyo, however, they both cracked 1:05, something only 16 other women in history have done, by touching in 1:04.86 and 1:04.94, respectively. Japan’s Mio Motegi also put up a personal best and moved into the all-time top 20 to take 3rd in 1:05.03.
For the whole of this breaststroke group, there seemed to be a big reversal of fortune from the last meet. The swimmers who did well in Beijing, Australia’s Sarah Katsoulis and Sally Foster, both added significant amounts of time, while those who struggled improved. That includes Rie Kaneto who was a 1:05.41, almost a full second faster than Beijing. If that swim for her is any indication of what to expect in the 200 (though this series, it hasn’t been), we could get a 2:18 from Kaneto.
In the Men’s 100 Backstroke, Russia’s Stanislav Donets took his swim to an even higher level than I think anybody could have hoped for. Even with how good he’s been this fall, a 49.49 is amazing performance and about half-a-second from Nick Thoman’s World Record in the race. I think he’s an overwhelming favorite in the race at Worlds in Istanbul, even with Olympic Champion Matt Grevers in the field. At the last edition of the World Championships, Donets missed the World Record by .01 seconds, and as long as he isn’t totally wiped out by the time that meet gets here, the record is right in his cross-hairs.
Australia’s Bobby Hurleywas exactly a second behind him in 50.49, followed by Ashley Delaney in 50.66.
Japan’s Kazuya Kaneda won his 2nd-straight 200 Fly by touching in 1:51.08 – about a tenth faster than he was in Beijing. Though Seto was back in the meet, he chose not to swim this event that he’s been pretty good in.
A pair of American men won freestyle events on the first day in Tokyo. First came Anthony Ervin in the men’s 100 free, where he out-raced Tommaso D’Orsogna by tally of 47.09-47.17. The race outcome was aptly described by D’Orsogna afterward as “the Tortoise couldn’t catch the Hare this time.”
That’s a fairly fair description, as this race throughout the series has been back-and-forth between the hard-starting Ervin, and the hard-closing D’Orsogna. Ervin was out in 22.01, about six-tenths ahead of his Australian competitor, and though D’Orsogna was able to close the gap to under a tenth, the wall came just a stroke too soon for the order to change.
Kenneth To was right in this race the whole way as well, but finished 3rd in 47.23.
In the longer Men’s 400 Free, American Michael Klueh swam another fantastic time. His 3:40.23 knocked another second-and-a-half from his time in Beijing, and he seems locked-in to this 400 headed toward the World Championships. Nobody really challenged him in this race, with New Zealand’s Matthew Stanley swimming well off of his near-National Record swim from Beijing to finish 2nd in 3:42.21.
In the Men’s 200 Breaststroke, brand-new long course World Record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi swam a 2:04.64. Though that’s far from any records, it is a personal best for him. We really saw him build to the long course World Record by getting very fast in a very short period of time.
That 200 really showed off Japan’s depth in the breaststrokes, as they held 7 out of the 8 spots in the final. That included Kasuki Kohinata in 2nd in 2:05.62 and Yukihiro Takahashi in 3rd in 2:05.77. American Sean Mahoney had been on a roll in this 200, but here was only able to get 4th, although in a decent time of 2:05.93.