A pair of World Record near-misses highlighted the second day of the 2014 FINA World Cup Series in Hong Kong. The two swimmers who have been the stars of this series for the last two years, Chad le Clos and Katinka Hosszu, had back-to-back wins that both were about a tenth away from the respective marks, but ultimately, both came up just short.
Chad Le Clos – 100 Fly, 50 Free
Le Clos has been swimming a very light schedule so far at this year’s World Cup, skipping many of his favorite and best events. After fading in last year’s series, this strategy gives him a shot at breaking the 100 fly World Record that he’s come close to so many times.
In his first swim on Tuesday, Le Clos came close again, but just barely missed again, swimming a 48.56. That beat runner-up American Tom Shields (49.02), his only real competitor in the event, by half-a-second. It also was just .08 short of Evgeny Korotyshkin’s World Record done at the Berlin 2009 stop of the World Cup.
Le Clos would come back later in the session and add victory in the 50 free, swimming a 21.17. That beat out Russia’s Oleg Tikhobaev and Hong Kong’s Geoff Cheah in a race that didn’t have Roland Schoeman or George Bovell, two stalwart sprinters of the World Cup series, in it.
Katinka Hosszu – 100 Back, 400 IM, 200 Fly, 400 free, 100 IM
Katinka Hosszu won another 5 events on day 2 of the Hong Kong World Cup in 6 starts in finals. In the middle of those races came the 100 backstroke, where she too scared a World Record.
Specifically, she swam a 55.34 – which just missed the World Record of 55.23 done by Japan’s Shiho Sakai in 2009 – also at the Berlin World Cup. That was a new personal best for Hosszu (she’s gone the 6 fastest times of her career in 6 swims in this World Cup series) and breaks the Hungarian National Record.
Daryna Zevina finished 2nd behind Hosszu, like she did in the 200 earlier in the meet, in 57.75, and Hong Kong’s Stephanie Au was 3rd in 58.27 – breaking the home-team National Record as well. Those three were well ahead of the rest of the field.
Earlier in the session, Hosszu started with a win in the 400 IM in 4:26.42. She built a nearly three-second lead on Spain’s Mireia Belmonte in the first 100 meters of this race, and that’s as close as it would get. Hosszu won by more than 7 seconds, with Belmonte placing 2nd in 4:33.83. Evelyn Verraszto picked up easy points and money in 3rd with a 4:39.70 – fifteen seconds better than 4th place.
Hosszu went out equally as fast as when she broke the World Record in Doha, but once she saw she had a big margin, pulled back and settled for the win.
After a relatively extended gap of one hour and 11 minutes, Hosszu swam again to a 200 fly win. She once again beat Belmonte (2:05.12-2:06.33). For all of the success Hosszu has had in the World Cup this year, the 200 fly is one event where Hosszu hasn’t been close to her best yet. That’s probably a function of several things – including her attempts to challenge backstroke World Records. She’s on a two-meet winning streak, however, after Belmonte won in the series-opening Doha stop (though she too wasn’t as good here in Hong Kong as she was in the Middle East).
Hosszu and Belmonte met again in the 400 free, which was another tight race. The two were nose-and-nose for the first 250 meters, when the Hungarian Hosszu started to pull away from the World Record holder Belmonte. Ultimately, Hosszu’s last 100 meters of 59.56 was too much, and she won by a margin of 4:01.02-4:02.73
Verraszto again took advantage of a thin field, taking 3rd in an almost cool-down-pace 4:16.51.
Hosszu got her 5th and final win of the day in the 100 IM, where she swam 58.12. That beast out Jamaika’s Alia Atkinson and Russia’s Veronika Popova. While overall, this is the winningest meet she’s had at a World Cup, Hosszu’s IM times haven’t been up to where they were in Dubai or Doha. This swim, for example, was about 1.3 slower than the World Record she set in Dubai.
Men’s 1500 free
Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta kicked the day off with a win in the men’s 1500 free, swimming a 14:38.72. He led this race wire-to-wire, beating out his Hungarian teammate David Verrastzo (14:51.6), China’s Yongwei Li (15:05.04), and Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic (15:05.52).
As the only true world-class distance freestyler in this event, Gyurta really pulled away around the 800 meter mark, and just grew his margin from there out. This result was an improvement on his previous in-season lifetime best.
Women’s 100 Free
Dutch sprinter Inge Dekker took her first of two wins on Tuesday in thew omen’s 100 free, leading wire-to-wire to touch in 52.83. She’s three-for-three in this year’s World Cup in this event – as she is in the 100 fly, and later in this session, the 50 fly.
Veronika Popova took 2nd in 53.43, and Siobhan Haughey was 3rd in 53.72. Popova, who is more of a 100/200 freestyler than a true sprinter, had the fastest second 50 of the field.
Men’s 200 Free
In the much-hyped, pre-World Cup battle between Pan Pac Champion Thomas Fraser-Holmes and European Champion Velimir Stjepanovic, the Australian has had the upper-hand in a big way so far in 2014.
In the 200 free on Tuesday, Fraser-Holmes pushed his record against Stjepanovic in the middle-distance freestyles to 6-0 this fall by winning with a 1:43.59, wire-to-wire victory over Stjepanovic. The Serb took 2nd in 1:45.44, with Jinlong Hong placing 3rd in 1:48.29.
Women’s 50 Breaststroke
Alia Atkinson won her third-straight 50 breaststroke title, though in 29.35 she was a hair slower than her matching 29.12’s from Doha and Dubai.
Japan’s Rie Kaneto, who is a much better 200 breaststroker than 50 breaststroker and a much better short course swimmer than long course swimmer, still took 2nd here in 31.11. She would run-away-with the 200 breaststroke win later in the session. Hong Kong’s Jamie Yeung took 3rd in 31.89. Yeung earned bronze in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the 2013 Asian Youth Games.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
The Gyurta brothers flew on day 2 of this World Cup. Older brother Daniel Gyurta picked up his first win, taking the men’s 100 breaststroke in 57.35. He dueled the whole race with Germany’s Marco Koch (57.47) and Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki (57.95), but it was Gyurta’s opening speed that won him this race. For one of the greatest 200 breaststrokers, and the greatest back-half 200 breaststrokers, in history, that’s a sign of where Gyurta’s focus on the 100 has taken him this year that he had the fastest front-half in this race.
Men’s 50 Backstroke
Australian veteran Ash Delaney won the men’s 50 back in 23.73, beating out another German silver medal, this one from Christian Diener (23.83). American-based Geoff Cheah wound up on his 3rd podium of the meet taking bronze in 24.18.
Men’s 200 IM
Fraser-Holmes added a second win on Tuesday with a 1:53.58 in the men’s 200 IM. He held Japan’s Hidomasas Fujimori about at arm’s length for most of this race, with Fujimori placing 2nd in 1:54.66.
Germany’s Marco Koch was 3rd in 1:55.10, and David Verraszto took 4th in 1:57.76.
Women’s 200 Breaststroke
As alluded to, Japan’s Rie Kaneto, in her primary event, won gold by a mile, swimming to a 2:19.55. The next-closest competitor was Jamaican Alia Atkinson in 2:24.94; Atkinson at one point in her career was one of the world’s best short course 200 breaststrokers, but as a pro she’s focused much more on the sprints (including the 100 that took her to an Olympic final).
South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker was 3rd in 2:26.51.
Men’s 200 Backstroke
American Tom Shields had a much lighter second day than first day at this meet, but he still made out well in the points and cash standings, winning the 200 back in 1:51.88. Shields set his schedule perfectly for this meet, taking advantage of both his incredible underwater abilities and races that were thin on competition (which, in reality, is the name-of-the-game at these World Cups).
Ash Delaney took 2nd in 1:52.87, and Christian Diener was 3rd in 1:53.13.
Women’s 50 Fly
Closing the day was Inge Dekker with another win in the women’s 50 fly, her third-straight, swimming a 25.24. She was the one swimmer to beat Hosszu in a final on Tuesday, with the Hungarian placing 2nd in 25.92.
Atkinson, stepping a little outside of her comfort zone (though not too far with great underwaters) was 3rd in 26.28.
If only Hosszu had swam like a dozen less events, she would have broken that 50 back WR early this year.
And it seems I was right when speculating that Le Clos was aiming for that 100 fly WR. Oh, to be so close again, very much like Hosszu with 50 back.
It’s always good to see a shiny suit WR fall.
Is the 10 golds by Hosszu the winningnest ever?
and all individual golds!
Again, there is no one else who comes close to Hosszu when it comes to versatility.
Versatility is one thing.
Endurance is another thing.
She never looks tired.
Her results at this world cup are unreal.
Crazy fast times in almost every event.
I agree with you Bobo.
That’s why I made a comment in another swim site, saying that Hagino needs to steal the secret of never feels tired.
aswimfan – couldn’t say for certain “ever,” but I’d bet it is. Must be. The World Cup’s been going on for a long time though, lol, so would take some legwork to do that research.
21.1 50 freestyle?
That is some serious speed from “King Chad”
That wouldn’t be far from medalling at sc worlds.
50, 100, 200 free
50, 100, 200 fly
100, 200, 400 IM
All are events he could medal in.
King Chad is a very very talented swimmer. He makes swimming really fast look very casual.