Katinka Hosszu looked to be back in her rhythm in Beijing, winding up for a final run through this World Cup, as she took two event wins and a runner-up finish on the second day of Action in Beijing.
American Michael Klueh also looks very good as he’s barreling toward the Short Course World Championships.
Men’s 1500 Free
American Michael Klueh followed up a strong silver-medal performance in Friday’s 400 with an outstanding gold-medal performance in Saturday’s 1500 to kick off the action at the Water Cube. Despite looking exhausted by the last 100 meters of his race, he touched in 14:39.12 for not only a $1,500 pickup and a dominant victory, but a swim that makes him the 4th-best American of all-time in the race.
With how well Klueh is swimming so far in this short course season, I think that USA Swimming will be pleased with their addition of him to the World Short Course Championships roster in the 800 free relay, even if that’s a bit shorter than his ideal range. The 400 free, his other entry at Worlds, could be medal-worthy depending on where he’s at in his training right now.
The runner-up in this race was Mack Horton from Australia in 14:47.13 – a brilliant time for the 16-year old who is viewed as the future of Aussie distance swimming. China’s Weijia Liu picked up another podium with a third-place finish in 14:52.71.
Women’s 100 Free
Germany’s Britta Steffen, who was ominously absent from our day 1 recap after DQ’ing prelims of the 50 free, released some pent-up energies on this 100 by roaring to a 52.78 victory: her second-fastest time of the World Cup series so far.
As for the Chinese women, their sprint depth is surely developing based on the results of this race. Specifically, they got a 53.04 from Shuyi Li and a 53.17 from Yi Tang, but in general they had four swimmers go sub-54 in this final. Given that only 8 Chinese women ever have done it, and the timing of this meet, that’s encouraging for what has been China’s weakest discipline in recent history.
Men’s 200 Free
Australian Tomasso D’Orsogna, without the likes of Paul Biedermann and Yannick Agnel to race in this men’s 200 free, swam a very different race than when last we saw him in Berlin. Instead of sprinting to the front of the back, he hung around and hung around just behind the leaders, and leap-frogged them in the closing 40 meters or so. Perhaps without a rabbit to chase, this very much altered the overall pace of the event, with D’Orsogna winning in just 1:43.50.
He has been very inconsistent in this event overall now through 6 stops of this year’s World Cup, as has most of this field. Bobby Hurley took 2nd in 1:43.50 (his times have all been pretty close to that, but he only swims it about every-other meet), and Darian Townsend was 3rd in 1:43.50 (he’s been from a 1:42 all the way up to a 1:44).
Cameron McEvoy was 4th in 1:44.55 – this time it was he who took out the early lead, turning halfway in under 50 seconds, but the rest of the field seemed unconcerned as their were no big responses. Matthew Stanley was 5th in 1:45.54 – a personal best time that once again nearly broke a National Record.
Women’s 50 Breaststroke
In another tightly-bunched women’s 50 breaststroke final, it was Jennie Johansson who won in 30.41, pulling off maybe a mild upset over World Record holder Jessica Hardy (though not such an upset given how good the Swede has been this year. Hardy took 2nd in 30.53, followed by former Arizona State swimmer Rebecca Ejdervik in 30.56 – precisely two-tenths from her personal best time.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders was under 58 seconds for the third-straight meet in this race, but still couldn’t get to his National Record as he took the win in 57.96. He was chased by Australia’s Christian Sprenger, who after having been so good in the 200 for so long is perhaps still settling into his more sprint-oriented routine in short course. He posted a 58.06 for the silver.
China’s Shuai Yang was 3rd in 58.42.
Women’s 400 IM
This 400 IM was the race where Chinese teenager Shiwen Ye was more impressive in long course, but here in short course it probably wasn’t as good as her 200 from Friday. Still, she put up a strong 4:26.93 for the victory: the fastest time in the world this year. She again wasn’t as breathtaking as normal on her closing freestyle leg, where Katinka Hosszu outsplit her to finish in 4:27.80.
Though she didn’t get the win, this is another great start to the day for Hosszu after she kicked off Friday with a best time in the 800. This 400 IM is her second-fastest swim, behind only a race from last year’s Duel in the Pool.
Hungarian teammate Zsu Jakabos was 3rd in 4:31.28.
Men’s 100 Fly
Kenneth To has been selective about when he’s swum this 100 fly so far in this year’s World Cup series, but in both instances now he’s won the race. That includes a 50.96 here – almost a full second slower than when he won in Stockholm. With a decimated level of competition though (nobody else who has medaled in the event in this year’s series was in the race) that was still good enough for victory and another $1,500 onto his growing cash total.
China’s Qibin Zhang was 2nd in 51.21, and Jason Dunford was 3rd in 51.34.
Women’s 100 Backstroke
In the 50, it looked like some of the local Chinese swimmers were going to be pushing Rachael Goh up and down the pool all weekend long, but she quashed that notion with a 57.07 for an easy win in this race. That’s the second-straight meet in which she’s gone a 57.0, which is right around where she needs to be to fight for medals at Worlds.
China’s Yanxin Zhou was 2nd in 57.91 and Haihua Cheng was 3rd in 58.27. Goh’s countrymate Grace Loh, another short course specialist, just missed the podium when she finished 4th in 58.28.
Men’s 50 Backstroke
Russia’s Stanislav Donets kept his run in the 50 backstroke alive with a 23.14 – he has not lost the race yet at this year’s World Cup (though he has been upset by Bobby Hurley twice in the 100). Xiaolei Sun was 2nd in 23.56, and Ash Delaney 3rd in 23.64.
Women’s 200 Fly
As is her usual, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu put up a big closing 50 to win the women’s 200 fly in 2:06.02. She very nearly even-split her last three 50’s, marking 32.1, 32.2, and 32.3 coming home. Compare that to her teammate Jakabos, the runner-up, who split 32.4-32.7-33.0, and it highlights how impressive that splitting was.
Jakabos’ final time was 2:07.25, which put her well clear of the World Record holder Liu Zige in 2:08.75. Lu Ying was 4th in 2:11.42, really a disastrous time for her. This Chinese women’s 200 fly group has so much depth, but the last two years they’ve struggled badly with their consistency.
Men’s 200 IM
South African Darian Townsend got out to a fast early lead in this men’s 200 IM, but China’s Shun Wang closed the gap to nearly nothing with a great breaststroke leg. On the freestyle leg, neither man could separate from the other, which left Townsend with a slight edge for the win in 1:54.25. Wang took 2nd in 1:54.36, and Kenneth To was 3rd in 1:54.65.
Women’s 400 Free
China’s hard-starting Yiwen Shao (what Ye is to finishes, Shao has been to starts early in her career) jumped out way in front of this field with an opening 200 meters of 1:57.1, and never looked back as she cruised to a 4:00.56 victory in the women’s 400 free. That left her a painful .01 seconds short of Jing Liu’s National Record that was set at this same meet at this same pool in 2010.
Despite Shao not finishing with that much speed on her last 200 meters, the field still lacked anybody who could put a dent into her three-second halfway lead, and her countrymate Yufei Zhang was 2nd in 4:06.48.
New Zealand’s Melissa Ingram was the only non-Chinese swimmer in the top 7, finishing 3rd in 2:06.53. Katinka Hosszu took this opportunity to cool-down, finishing last in the final in 4:16.
Men’s 50 Freestyle
Trinidad & Tobago’s George Bovell broke 21 seconds for the 4th consecutive meet, but American Anthony Ervin couldn’t do it for a 3rd as Bovell broke off a 20.97 event victory. Ervin took 2nd in 21.19 as the two were well away from the field at the final touch.
Australia’s Cameron McEvoy, perhaps in the event least expected, finally cracked his way onto a podium with a 21.46.
Women’s 200 Breaststroke
Japan’s Rie Kaneto bounced back from a weak 100 on Friday with a stellar 200 on Saturday, taking the win in 2:19.33. That’s a world-leading time in 2012.
Australia’s Sally Foster also swam very well, but was still six-tenths back in 2:19.96 for 2nd. China’s Jingling Shi was 3rd in 2:23.25.
Women’s 100 IM
After being knocked off in Berlin, Hosszu won her 5th 100 IM in 6 meets with a 59.90. Her countrymate Zsu Jakabos was 2nd in 1:00.25, and Australia’s Kotuku Ngawati in 1:00.27.
Mixed 200 Free Relay
Another relay with four Chinese teams and one Singapore team, that nobody seemed all that interested in. China went 1-4, and Singapore was 5th, with the winning time coming in 1:34.71.
Full Meet Results available here.