DOHA, Qatar, October 19. THE first night of action at the FINA World Cup stop in Doha featured the French nearly recalibrating the mixed 200 medley relay world record, while Kenneth To put up an impressive Australian record in the 100 IM.
Courtesy of: Ahmed Isse Haji
Courtesy of: Ahmed Isse Haji
Also, the regular names of Katinka Hosszu, Chad Le Clos, Roland Schoeman and Bobby Hurley came up early and often with big wins.
Women's 800 free
World record holder Mireia Belmonte led a Spanish 1-2 in the distance freestyle timed final event. Belmonte had battled Melani Costa throughout much of the race before turning on the afterburners down the stretch to earn a comfortable three-second victory. Belmonte clocked an 8:14.18 for the win, while compatriot Costa took home second-place honors in 8:17.66.
France's Coralie Balmy broke into the podium money for the first time with an 8:18.67 as she kept Hungary's Katinka Hosszu (8:18.71) from the money in a bit of a surprising finish. Typically, no one has been able to touch Hosszu when she's close to a paycheck, but Balmy had just enough in the tank to pull off the third-place win.
Germany's Sarah Kohler (8:23.96), The Netherlands' Rieneke Terink (8:25.23), France's Lara Grangeon (8:37.26) and Uzbekistan's Ranokhon Amanova (8:38.36) made up the rest of the top eight in the timed final.
Men's 400 IM
World Cup points leader Chad le Clos, who usually does his major damage in butterfly events, decided to add some insurance points by showing off his versatility with the men's distance medley. Le Clos threw down a strong 4:03.23 to win the event, and vault to fifth in the early world rankings.
Hungary's David Verraszto, a much more specialized IMer, earned second in 4:03.95. He's been much faster this year with a third-ranked time of 4:01.25 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup tour. But, he didn't have enough to knock off the surprise swim from le Clos.
Tunisia's Ous Mellouli, not only an accomplished open water and distance swimmer, but a strong IMer throughout his career, took third in 4:09.28. That's just a bit off his 10th-ranked time of 4:08.76 from the Dubai stop earlier this week.
Hungary's Gergely Gyurta (4:10.19), Hungary's David Foldhazi (4:13.74), Uzbekistan's Aleksey Derlyugov (4:15.25), Australia's Travis Mahoney (4:15.28) and Switzerland's Jeremy Desplanches (4:15.70) also made the top eight.
Men's 100 free
The Sizzling Siberian has made the sprint freestyle his personal playground on the FINA World Cup tour thus far as Vlad Morozov surged to a 45.94 to win the 100 free this evening. That's only half-a-second off his second-ranked time of 45.64 from the Eindhoven stop of the World Cup circuit, but is plenty fast enough to earn him another first-place check.
USA's Anthony Ervin picked up another sprint podium, this time taking second with a time of 46.64 as he continues to pull in race earnings with regularity on the circuit. Depending on if he rounds into form by the end of the tour next month, he may give Ian Crocker's American record of 46.25 a run.
Australia's Kenneth To, who is known for using #smallistall as a mantra on Twitter thanks to his 5-7 frame, earned yet another paycheck with a third-place 46.81. To is a master at finding the nooks and crannies where he can fit in to win available money on the World Cup tour. He's one of the best at strategic event choices.
Poland's Konrad Czerniak (47.25), Italy's Luca Dotta (47.48), Japan's Shinri Shioura (47.50), France's Fabien Gilot (47.76) and Japan's Kenta Ito (47.87) finished fourth through eighth.
Women's 200 free
Just minutes after a rare podium miss in the 800 free, Hungary's Katinka Hosszu overtook The Netherlands' Femke Heemskerk in the final 50 meters of the 200 free for what is likely the first of a few gold medals this weekend.
Hosszu chalked up a 28.56 final 50 meters to overtake Heemskerk (29.29) down the stretch, winning the gold medal 1:53.53 to 1:53.65. Both have been faster, but the World Cup takes its toll throughout the series. Heemskerk leads the world rankings with a 1:52.25 from Berlin, while Hosszu is ranked third with a 1:52.32 also from Berlin.
Spain's Melani Costa podiumed for the second time in as many events with a third-place 1:54.21, while France's Charlotte Bonnet took fourth in 1:54.39.
France's Camille Muffat (1:54.75), France's Coralie Balmy (1:58.08), Norway's Cecilie Johannesseen (1:58.40) and France's Cloe Hache (2:00.04) also swam in the finale.
Men's 50 breast
South Africa's Roland Schoeman, a longtime veteran in the sport who just continues to rack up sprint accolades with one of the best starts in the world, collected another first-place check in the sprint breast this series. He smoked the field with a 25.89 for the win, just a bit off his world-leading 25.65 from Berlin.
France's Florent Manaudou raced to second in 26.54 to take sixth in the early world rankings, while Germany's Hendrik Feldwehr earned a third-place paycheck with a 27.03. That was well off his third-ranked 26.37 from the Berlin stop.
France's Giacomo Perez Dortona (27.31), Ukraine's Igor Borysik (27.45), Panama's Edgar Crespo (27.65), Slovakia's Tomas Klobucnik (27.67) and Finland's Sami Myren (27.75) finished fourth through eighth in the championship heat.
Women's 100 breast
It wasn't the same speed as her Jamaican record 1:02.91 from the Dubai stop, but Alia Atkinson still managed to scorch the field, including long course world record holder Yuliya Efimova, with a blistering 1:03.38 for the win in the breaststroke event following a lengthy awards ceremony break.
Efimova, meanwhile, snatched second in 1:04.68 even though she's ranked third in the world with a 1:03.53 from the Moscow stop and is looking to drop back to that range throughout the rest of the circuit. Japan's Kanako Watanabe wrapped up the podium with a third-place time of 1:06.03.
The Netherlands' Moniek Nijhuis (1:06.07), Great Britain's Sophie Allen (1:06.36), Japan's Miho Takahashi (1:08.34), Slovakia's Andrea Podmanikova (1:09.50) and France's Sarah Vaisse (1:11.88) comprised the rest of the championship heat.
Women's 100 fly
Not many have been able to touch Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark in the 100 fly during the FINA World Cup tour, and that certainly wasn't the case tonight. Ottesen, who leads the world with a 55.94 from the Berlin stop, dropped a 56.74 for the win this evening.
Singapore's Li Tao has been minting money on the tour in the butterfly events, with regular podium placements all throughout the circuit. Tonight, she placed second in 57.10 to claim another $1,000 check. Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, who already has earned more than $125,000 on the series, finished third with a 57.46 for her third podium paycheck of the night.
The Netherlands' Inge Dekker (57.91), Israel's Amit Ivry (58.40), Hong Kong's Hang Yu Sze (58.57), Slovakia's Kataria Listopadova (59.02) and Italy's Ilaria Bianchi (59.07) grabbed the rest of the finals finishes.
Men's 100 back
With some serious outside smoke from lane eight, USA's Tom Shields nipped Australia's Bobby Hurley in the dorsal event. Shields threw down a 50.23 for the win, just missing his second-ranked time of 50.15 from Dubai that also stands as his lifetime best in the event.
Hurley, a longtime World Cup veteran who routinely cashes big checks, still managed a second-place check with a 50.29 from lane five, but could not withstand Shields' blazing 25.54 final 50 meters. Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki touched third in 51.12. Hurley leads the world this year with a 50.01 from the Berlin stop.
Australia's Ashley Delaney (51.72), Israel's Guy Barnea (52.16), Great Britain's Liam Tancock (52.51), France's Ben Stasiulis (52.54) and Australia's Travis Mahoney (52.86) also competed for the podium money in the finale.
Women's 50 back
Poland's Aleksandra Urbanczyk, who stands second in the world with a 26.12 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup tour, put in an easy-speed 26.49 to win the sprint backstroke event this evening. Ukraine's Daryna Zevina, another backstroke specialist who keeps piling up the cash, took second in 26.85, while Japan's Sayaka Akase finished third in 27.11.
Australia's Emily Seebohm (27.21), Hungary's Katinka Hosszu (27.74), France's Beryl Gastaldello (27.88), Australia's Belinda Hocking (28.07) and Singapore's Lynette Ng (28.32) wrapped up the rest of the finale.
Men's 200 fly
Following his victory in the 400 IM earlier in the night, South Africa's Chad le Clos didn't have the same speed to be able to rattle his world record of 1:49.04 like he did in Dubai. But, he had plenty in the tank to withstand anyone else in the field with a 1:50.39 for the win to pull off one of the most difficult doubles in swimming 400 IM/200 fly. Most swimmers dread doing just one of those.
Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski held second wire-to-wire behind le Clos, taking silver with a 1:51.52, while Hungary's Bence Biczo touched out compatriot David Verraszto, 1:55.22 to 1:55.54, for the final podium paycheck.
France's Jordan Coelho (1:56.79), Israel's Gal Nevo (1:57.19), Serbia's Ivan Lendjer (1:57.98) and Norway's Sindri Jakobsson (1:58.06) placed fifth through eighth in the finale.
Women's 200 IM
During her incredible European cluster, Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu crushed the IM world records. She broke the 200 IM global standard with a 2:03.20 in Eindhoven. She hasn't needed that type of speed during the Middle East cluster, winning the 200 IM by nearly a second with a 2:05.45. That's her second win of the night and fourth podium paycheck.
Hosszu, who married her coach/agent Shane Tusup following the European cluster, is definitely focusing on the paychecks during this middle cluster before potentially opening up for some strong times in Asia in November.
Great Britain's Sophie Allen clinched second-place honors with a 2:06.36, while Jamaica's Alia Atkinson maintained her strong week thus far with a third-place time of 2:07.30 as the breaststroker knocked off Hungary's Evelyn Verraszto (2:07.51) for the final check.
Australia's Emily Seebohm (2:08.32), Germany's Theresa Michalak (2:09.95), Japan's Miyu Otsuka (2:10.97) and Ukraine's Ganna Dzerkal (2:14.18) rounded out the championship field.
Men's 400 free
As seen by Chad le Clos serving up his first 400 IM in two years to earn some cash, swimming off events on the World Cup can pay significant dividends. That's just what Australia's Bobby Hurley does when he sees an opening. For the second meet in a row, he snatched the middle distance top prize from some more specialized freestylers. He posted a 3:39.59 tonight to move to fourth in the world rankings. His time eclipsed his previous season best of 3:40.24 from Dubai.
South Africa's Myles Brown, one of the freestyle specialists, took second in 3:39.88, while Denmark's Mads Glaesner placed third with a 3:42.03. Glaesner is looking to return his name to good standing after serving a quick three-month suspension for a positive doping test for Levmetamfetamine that forced him to surrender his gold and bronze medals form the 2012 World Short Course Championships.
Tunisia's Ous Mellouli (3:42.28), Poland's Filip Zaborowski (3:24.96), Austria's David Brandl (3:48.24), Japan's Ayatsugu Hirai (3:49.21) and Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri (3:51.36) also vied for the middle-distance title.
Women's 50 free
Ever since blazing to a world record in the event with a 23.24 in her native nation at the Eindhoven stop, The Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo hasn't been touched in the sprint freestyle event. Tonight, she won by nearly a half-a-second with a 23.69.
Germany's Dorothea Brandt touched out Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray for second-place honors, 24.27 to 24.33, as the duo continued to rake in the money with routine podium placements.
The Netherlands' Inge Dekker (24.52), Poland's Aleksandra Urbanczyk (24.87), France's Melanie Henique (24.97), Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (24.97) and Hong Kong's Hang Yu Sze (25.32) pocketed the rest of the finishes in the finale.
Men's 200 breast
Duel in the Pool entrant Michael Jamieson cruised to victory in the distance breaststroke with a 2:05.93. He won by more than two seconds as he coasted to a first-place check in the process, and was still a full two seconds back of his third-ranked 2:03.04 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup tour.
Russia's Mikhail Dorinov took second in 2:08.01, while Ukraine's Igor Borysik touched third in 2:08.70. Slovakia's Tomas Klobucnik just missed the podium with a fourth-place 2:08.74.
France's William Debourges (2:09.49), China's Li Chao (2:10.55), Luxembourg's Laurent Carnol (2:11.81) and France's Patrick Perisser (2:14.00) touched fifth through eighth in the championship heat.
Men's 100 IM
Following a third-place finish earlier in the night, Australia's Kenneth To held off a sterling field in the sprint medley with a 51.19 for the win. That's an Australian record, beating the 51.21 To clocked at the Berlin stop of the World Cup to rank third in the world. He's still third behind Vlad Morozov (51.13) and George Bovell (51.15), but that's a fantastic swim for the World Cup veteran.
Morozov wound up taking second in the finale with a 51.49, while Bovell rounded out the top three with a 51.87 in what was a loaded finale for the sprint IM event.
France's Florent Manaudou (52.16), Great Britain's Liam Tancock (54.12), Israel's Gal Nevo (54.22), Uzbekistan's Aleksey Derlyugov (54.44) and Hong Kong's Geoffrey Cheah (54.78) completed the championship field.
Women's 200 back
Ukraine's Daryna Zevina has been strong in the distance dorsal on the World Cup circuit thus far. She nearly bested her top-ranked 2:00.81 from the Berlin stop with a 2:01.17 this evening for yet another gold medal so far.
Japan's Sayaka Akase touched second in 2:02.74 to collect another second-place paycheck, while Hungary's Katinka Hosszu earned her fifth podium check of the night with a third-place 2:05.17.
Australia's Belinda Hocking and Emily Seebohm had a fun tie for fourth with matching 2:06.19s, while Spain's Melani Costa (2:0752), Japan's Miyu Otsuka (2:10.95) and Austria's Joerdis Steinegger (2:12.45) also competed in the finale.
Men's 50 fly
South Africa's Roland Schoeman, the evergreen sprinter who just keeps getting better with age, is making the 50 breast/50 fly sprint double routine on the World Cup circuit. After doing it in Dubai, he picked up the double again tonight with a 22.30 in the sprint fly. That's a bit off his top-ranked 22.05 from the Berlin stop in the event.
Compatriot Chad le Clos raced to second in 22.41, while France's Jeremy Stravius earned third-place honors in 22.58. USA's Tom Shields missed the podium with a fourth-place time of 22.92.
Poland's Konrad Czerniak (23.07), France's Fred Bousquet (23.51), Serbia's Ivan Lendjer (23.68) and Japan's Kenta Ito (23.85) placed fifth through eighth.
Mixed 200 medley relay
France demolished the world record that already should stand to them in the first place. Jeremy Stravius (23.25), Giacomo Perez Dortona (26.41), Melanie Henique (25.45) and Anna Santamans (24.53) turned in a 1:39.54 in the mixed relay event to crush the previous world record of 1:41.70 set by Russia at the Moscow stop.
France still owns the top legal swim ever in the event with a 1:38.74 from November 2012 when Stravius (23.13), Florent Manaudou (25.90), Henique (25.61) and Santamans (24.10) turned up the heat in the event. Tonight, however, they are official world record holders.
FINA only recently elected to recognize the mixed 200 short course meter relays (medley, freestyle) with records first being broke in late September. The sport is now quickly recalibrating the events with new records bringing swims closer to the standing world bests.
Japan's Sayaka Akase (26.98), Kanako Watanabe (31.16), Shinri Shioura (22.83) and Kenta Ito (21.28) took second in 1:42.25, while Norway's Lavrans Solli (24.15), Susann Bjoernsen (30.39), Sindri Jakobsson (23.73) and Cecilie Johannessen (24.25) took third in 1:42.52.
China (1:42.66), Hong Kong (1:44.96), Slovakia (1:46.80) and Singapore (1:48.87) also competed in the fun-filled finale.
Results: FINA World Cup, Doha: Day One