Saturday in Singapore marked the beginning of the two-day final stop of the 2014 FINA World Cup Series. While times overall were a bit depressed at this stop, there were some notable exceptions. The American contingent, most of whom were relative late-comers to this series and don’t have the same travel fatigue, swam very well. That included nearly an American Record from Felicia Lee in the women’s 50 backstroke.
From the pro-side, South African Chad le Clos and Jamaican Alia Atkinson neared World Records in different events, though ultimately no $10,000 bonus checks were handed out on Saturday.
Women’s 800 Free – TIMED FINALS
While there will be no denying at the end of tomorrow who has won the war of the 2014 FINA World Cup Series, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte can stand proud as one of the few to have even taken a battle from Hungarian Katinka Hosszu in the grueling two-month stretch of competition.
Belmonte swam an 8:10.61 in the women’s 800 free to begin the finals session with her 5th victory in 7 series. That marks the second-straight meet in which she’s beaten Hosszu in this race, though the times here weren’t the fastest they’ve been.
The World Record holder Belmonte accomplished what few in the world have accomplished and actually closed on the durable Hosszu, overcoming her in the last 50 meters for a victory in 8:10.61. Hosszu took 2nd in 8:11.26.
Behind them came Britain’s Jaz Carlin in 8:16.92, and American Elizabeth Beisel rounded out the elite finishers in 8:20.63.
Men’s 200 IM – FINALS
Japan’s Daiya Seto crept closer to scoring cluster and overall series money, despite a late entry to the World Cup, with a third-straight win in the men’s 400 IM. After breaking the Asian Record (3:59.91) at home in Tokyo, Seto settled back into a more cruise-speed 4:04.07 here in Singapore, but that was still good enough to hold off his countrymate Takeharu Fujimori for the event win (4:04.62).
Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta took 3rd in 4:06.23, while young American swimmer Sean Grieshop took 4th in 4:07.75. Canadian Alec Page, returned from a brief, but significant, suspension that cost him the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs, placed 5th in 4:12.56.
Men’s 100 Free – Finals
Without some of the entries that we saw earlier in the World Cup series, the men’s 100 free again fell flat, despite a very impressive list of talent. Russia’s Sergei Fesikov was a little better than he was in Tokyo, however, and grabbed the win in 47.02 thanks to an aggressive front-half split of 22.4.
In a close 2nd was Germany’s Steffen Deibler, but without Chad le Clos racing the event, 3rd was far behind in 48.09 (Adam Barrett).
German Paul Biedermann was 4th in 48.44, followed by Velimir Stjepanovic (48.49), who has been absent from this series for a few weeks after being very good early. Ben Proud (48.55) was 6th and Canadian Yuri Kisil (48.92) was 7th. That was a big bounce-back for Proud, who was only 49.40 in the final in Tokyo.
Women’s 200 Free – Finals
Katinka Hosszu took her first win of the Singapore stop in the women’s 200 free, where she swam a 1:53.63. After a very good Tokyo meet, the times in Singapore were a bit depressed (though still better on the first day overall than Beijing), and that includes this 200 free where Hosszu and Australia’s Emma McKeon (3rd – 1:55.06) were at least a second slower.
That did, however, complete Hosszu’s first event sweep of the 2014 World Cup, and her first career sweep of the 200 free.
While many of the times slipped from Tokyo, the young American junior squad at this meet, relatively fresh in competition, remained strong. In between McKeon and Hosszu here was Katie Drabot in a new lifetime best of 1:54.23. That jumped her ahead of Shannon Vreeland on the all-time list of Americans into 8th place. Her next target would be Lindsay Mintenko, who held the American Record in the event from 1987 all the way until 2010. Drabot will get that shot at the World Short Course Championships, where last week she learned that she would earn an individual swim in the 200 free.
Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor took 4th in 1:55.30.
Two other American juniors in this final finished 7th (Erin Voss – 2:00.76) and 8th (Erin Earley – 2:04.06).
Men’s 50 Breaststroke – FINALS
Roland Schoeman won his 5th 50 breaststroke in 7 stops this year with a 25.86. That’s the fastest time we’ve seen on this year’s circuit and the first under 26 seconds; it’s also a new world leader, as he extends his margin in the event.
Daniel Gyurta took 2nd in 26.59, followed by George Bovell in 26.81. American Michael Andrew came up one spot, though almost a full second, short of his first top 3 finish with a 27.78.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke – FINALS
Jamaican Alia Atkinson very nearly took an event sweep of her own in the women’s 100 breaststroke as she moved to 6-for-7 on the series with a 1:02.54 that was a mere .18 from the World Record. That did break her own Jamaican Record of 1:02.86 set earlier this week in Tokyo.
The only blemish on her record this season is the Moscow meet in which she didn’t compete.
In Singapore, however, she was able to win a second-straight race against the swimmer who holds that World Record: Ruta Meilutyte. Meilutyte was 2nd in 1:03.05, while American Katie Meili finished 3rd, and in the money, at 1:05.47.
Russian Maria Astashkina was 4th in 1:06.22, and American junior teamer Lily King was 5th in 1:06.32. That’s a full second improvement for King since Tokyo and ranks her 13th on the all-time list of American performers in the event.
Women’s 100 Fly – FINALS
Dutch swimmer Inge Dekker moved to 6-for-7 in the women’s 100 fly, and was again her ultra-consistent self with a 56.08 for the win. She opened up a huge margin of a full second on the field at just 50 meters, and while runner-up Katinka Hosszu (56.33) and 3rd-place finisher Felicia Lee (56.88) made up ground coming home, there wasn’t nearly enough room to tip Dekker.
Dekker’s time from this season’s World Cup are below:
- Doha – 56.05
- Dubai – 56.03
- Hong Kong – 56.03
- Moscow – 56.08
- Beijing – 56.03
- Tokyo – 56.11
- Singapore – 56.08
Her total variance across 7 meets was .08 seconds. While it won’t get the attention or the glory of an Olympic gold or a World Record, that has to be one of the most impressive things that anybody has done in the FINA World Cup.
Lee was one of four Americans in this final. Kathleen Baker was 5th in 58.58, Cassidy Bayer was 6th in 58.85, and Hannah Kukurugya was 8th in 1:00.05.
Men’s 100 Backstroke – FINAL
American Eugene Godsoe won his second-straight 100 backstroke with a 50.59 – nearly equal to the time that he swam in Tokyo earlier in the week. He beat out fellow World Cup veteran Robert Hurley, who took 2nd in 50.69. The back-half was the difference for Godsoe, as he flipped a one-tenth deficit into a one-tenth lead in the last 50 meters.
Germany’s Christian Diener was 3rd in 50.96.
Women’s 50 backstroke – FINAL
American Felicia Lee got on the board with her first career event victory at the World Cup, winning the women’s 50 backstroke in 26.48. That’s the second-fastest time by an American in history, behind only the record-holder Olivia Smoliga (26.13).
Lee also beat-out the Tokyo champion, and British Record holder, Fran Halsall, who here took 2nd in 26.55. Georgia Davies was 3rd in 26.57, and Katinka Hosszu was 4th in 26.84.
Men’s 200 Fly – FINAL
South African Chad le Clos did put up a world-leader in the men’s 200 fly final, but once again came up just shy of the World Record with a 1:48.88 – missing his own mark from last season by .32 seconds. Le Clos still doesn’t have a World Record bonus on this year’s series, though he has plenty of earnings and plenty of points regardless.
The series leader was well ahead of World Record pace through 150 meters – .87 seconds ahead to be exact. But whereas in Singapore last year he finished in a split of 27.75, this year that was only a 28.94 coming home to miss the mark.
Japan’s Daiya Seto was well behind in 1:51.81, and Velimir Stjepanovic was even further behind that in 1:55.85 for 3rd. The lone American representative in the final was junior Corey Okubo, who was a 1:57.33 for 4th-place.
Women’s 200 IM – FINALS
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu earned just her 2nd event win of the day (of what would ultimately be 3) by posting a 2:06.01 in the 200 IM.
That was just enough to finish off another series-sweep, and her 16th-straight World Cup win in the event, but by this point of the session, nobody was ready to push her to any kind of an impressive time.
Great Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor took 2nd in 2:07.69, followed by Jamaican Alia Atkinson (2:08.17), American Caitlin Leverenz (2:08.71), and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte (2:10.70).
Ella Eastin was in 3rd early in this race, but fell off the pace on the back-half to take 6th in 2:10.78.
Men’s 400 Free – FINALS
Australia’s David McKeon earned his first win of this year’s series in the men’s 400 free with a cruising 3:38.54. While that’s well off of the Australian Record, it does make him the 5th-fastest from his country of all-time (and just two-tenths away from cracking the top 3 behind Hackett and Thorpe).
South African Myles Brown was 2nd in 3:39.11, and the World Cup Record holder Paul Bideremann was 3rd in 3:40.43.
American Sean Grieshop completed his second finals swim with a 7th-place 3:49.39.
Women’s 50 Free – FINALS
Britain’s Fran Halsall swam an identical time to her winning mark from Tokyo with a 23.80 on Saturday in the women’s 50 free final. That beat out Inge Dekker (24.09) and Australian Marieke D’Cruz (24.68) for the victory.
Russia’s Elizaveta Bazarova took 4th in 24.85, followed by Katinka Hosszu (24.85) and Felicia Lee (24.92) in a fairly-tight top 6.
Men’s 200 Breast – FINALS
Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta (2:02.30) easily handled a thin field in this men’s 200 breaststroke final, winning by over three seconds ahead of Britain’s Andrew Willis (2:05.97).
There was a little excitement early in this race, as Gyurta hit the halfway-mark under World Record pace, but that line quickly slipped away from his grasp and he wound up about two seconds shy.
Japan’s Takeharu Fujimori was 3rd in 2:09.84.
Men’s 100 IM – FINALS
Former World Record holder in the event, and current World Cup Record holder in the event, Sergei Fesikov took the win in the men’s 100 IM in 52.09.
Spain’s Miguel Ortiz took 2nd in 52.87, followed by Britain’s Liam Tancock in 53.74. American Michael Andrew, in an event that seems tailor-made for his training and talents, took 4th in 54.61, just ahead of Canada’s Russell Wood in 54.64.
That swim puts Andrew 11th on the all-time list of Americans, and as best we can tell, makes him the fastest junior in the event in U.S. history.
Women’s 200 Backstroke – FINALS
Hosszu’s 3rd, and final, win of day 1 came in the women’s 200 backstroke, where she used a 2:03.07 to hold off a huge field of American swimmers.
Team USA had 6 of the 8 finalists in the race, including the other two medalists. Kathleen Baker took 2nd in 2:04.25, and Elizabeth Beisel was 3rd in 2:05.00.
Erin Voss had a very good swim with a 2:05.25 for 4th, followed by Canada’s Hilary Caldwell (2:05.58) for 5th.
The times began to wane after that, but the A-final finished out with Allie Szekely (2:06.30), Lizzie Simmonds (2:07.53), and Erin Earley (2:09.80).
Men’s 50 Fly – FINALS
Chad le Clos was in a groove on Saturday, and came very close to another World Record – this one being one that he doesn’t own.
Le Clos swam a 21.98 in the 50 fly, which was just the 3rd swim in history (and first in textile) under 22 seconds. He beat-out Germany’s Steffen Deibler, who took 2nd in 22.56. Deibler is the current World Record holder at 21.80 from the 2009 World Cup.
3rd-place went to the only other man under 22 seconds all-time, South African Roland Schoeman. Here he was 22.62. Eugene Godsoe was 4th in 23.07, and Michael Andrew came in 8th in 24.20.
Mixed 200 Medley Relay
In another uneventful mixed relay on the World Cup series, the Russian relay of Sergei Fesikov, Maria Astashkina, Aleksandr Krasnykh, and Elizaveta Bazarova combined for a 1:43.26. The UNited States’ junior relay was 2nd in 1:46.03, and Singapore placed 3rd in 1:46.17.