PERTH, Australia, January 31. THE Australian sprint crew had too much for the rest of the teams to handle on day one of the Aquatic Super Series in Perth this afternoon, leaving the Aussies in the combined team scoring lead.
While Japan had some of the top individual swims with Daiya Seto and Kosuke Hagino putting in some truly special early-season times, the Aussie sprinters led by Cate Campbell and James Magnussen helped the hosts to a big day one lead.
Team Australia leads heading into day two with 327 points, while Japan is second with 259 points. China (205), South Africa (163) and Brazil (108) comprise the rest of the team scoring.
Australia kicked off the meet with a dominant victory in the mixed 400-meter medley relay. Ashley Delaney (54.67), Daniel Tranter (1:01.48), Alicia Coutts (57.40) and Emma McKeon (52.97) tracked down a 3:46.52 to win by nearly three seconds. China’s Fu Yuanhui (1:00.14), Mao Feilian (1:01.33), Lu Ying (1:00.28) and Ning Zetao (47.65) raced to second in 3:49.40. Ning’s anchor leg proved to be one of the most eye-opening swims of the first event. Japan’s Yuki Shirai (56.13), Mio Motegi (1:07.46), Misizu Yabu (1:00.53) and Katsumi Nakamura (49.67) picked up third in 3:53.79.
Notably, Australia’s time will stand as the new world record in the event, newly-recognized by FINA last September.
Fu jumped right back in the water to blaze her way to a winning time of 27.91 in the women’s 50-meter backstroke. That finished a bit off Sophie Edington’s Australian All Comers record of 27.67 from 2008. Australia’s Emily Seebohm placed second in 28.36, while Japan’s Sayaka Akase touched third in 28.91.
Australia’s Ben Treffers followed in the men’s 50-meter backstroke with a touchout triumph ahead of Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, 25.14 to 25.17. Ryosuke Irie rounded out the podium with a third-place 25.42, just clipping China’s Xu Jiayu (25.43) in the process.
The ever-impressive 100-meter freestyles were up next with the Aussies definitely turning up the heat. Cate Campbell blitzed the women’s 100-meter free finale with a sizzling 53.08. With that swim, Campbell definitely is setting herself up for a special season this year, having dropped 52-second swims last year with regularity. Campbell’s sister Bronte finished nearly a second back with a silver-winning time of 53.98, while South Africa’s Karin Prinsloo claimed third in 54.48. Chinese yougster Shen Duo, 16, took fourth in 54.77.
James Magnussen followed with a blistering time in the men’s 100-meter free as the Missile fired for a 47.59 to lead the way. That’s just half-a-second off his Australian All Comers record of 47.10 from last March. With Magnussen clocking in at 47-mid this early in the season, there’s a serious chance we’ll see him challenge Eamon Sullivan’s Australian record of 47.05 and maybe even join Cesar Cielo (46.91) under 47. Australia’s Cameron McEvoy placed second overall in 48.19, whlie China’s Ning Zetao followed up his 47.6 anchor leg with a third-place 48.41.
Australia’s Sally Hunter (nee Foster) clipped teammate Leiston Pickett, 1:08.00 to 1:08.08, in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. Japan’s Mio Motegi checked in with a third-place 1:08.66, while China’s Shi Jinglin picked up fourth in 1:09.42.
Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki, who is another of a new era of Japanese breaststrokers looking to follow in the footsteps of Kosuke Kitajima, cleared 1:00 to win the men’s 100-meter breast in 59.94. Australia’s Christian Sprenger placed second in 1:00.36, while Brazil’s Felipe Lima claimed third in 1:01.47.
Australia’s Madeline Groves, who has been making a name for herself during regional events in Australia this year, made a serious mark on the competition by winning the women’s 200-meter fly by nearly a second. Groves blazed her way to a 2:07.03 with Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi taking a distant second in 2:07.83. Australia’s Ellen Gandy finished third overall in 2:08.03.
In one of the higher profile intercontinental battles on the slate this week, Japan’s Daiya Seto claimed a big upset of South Africa’s Chad Le Clos in the men’s 200-meter fly. Seto blasted a time of 1:54.82 for the win, and shot to third all time in Japanese history. Le Clos wound up finishing well behind with a second-place 1:56.45. Le Clos has been seen as nearly unstoppable in this event since unseating Michael Phelps as the top 200 flier in the world, and a loss like this is pretty surprising. Japan’s Yuki Kobori rounded out the podium with a third-place 1:56.85.
Australia’s Bronte Barratt raced her way to victory in the women’s 400-meter free with a 4:07.44, while Prinsloo demonstrated some range with a second-place finish in the middle distance event with a 4:07.92 after making the podium in the 100 free earlier in the night. Australia’s Kylie Palmer picked up third-place honors with a 4:08.67.
Australia then went 1-2 in the men’s 400 free with 17-year-old Mack Horton winning in 3:47.98, while teammate David McKeon touched second in 3:48.07. South Africa’s Myles Brown snared third overall in 3:50.54, just holding off Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda (3:50.63) in the process.
China’s Ye Shiwen, who struggled last year after a transcendent 2012 London Olympics, crushed the field in the women’s 200-meter IM with a 2:10.49. She showed some signs of her signature freestyle speed with a 30.01 final split to push herself to gold. Australia’s Alicia Coutts touched second in 2:12.43, but still manged to join Ye in the 30s with a 30.88 freestyle split, while Japan’s Miyu Otsuka finished third in 2:13.31. China may have another burgeoning young IMer with 16-year-old Chen Xinyi taking fourth in 2:13.62, but still managing a 30.77 final split.
In one of the strongest swims of the day, Japan’s Kosuke Hagino demonstrated he was just warming up in Tokyo last weekend as he blasted a 1:55.90 in the men’s 200-meter IM. Although Japan is not part of the Commonwealth, just for context, that would have demolished Leith Brodie’s Commonwealth mark of 1:56.69. It’s only a second off Michael Phelps’ amazing All Comers record of 1:54.98 from 2007. Seto earned his second podium of the night after his gigantic upset of Le Clos in the 200 fly as Seto took silver in 1:58.12. Australia’s Daniel Tranter finished third in 2:00.27.
Australia’s Belinda Hocking then dominated the women’s 200-meter backstroke in 2:07.42, while Japan’s Sayaka Akase took second in 2:09.88. Australia’s Emily Seebohm raced her way to third in 2:10.11. Japan’s Ryosuke Irie then posted a 1:56.40 to win the men’s 200-meter backstroke. China’s Xu Jiayu turned in a 1:57.21 for second with Australia’s Matson Lawson taking third in 1:57.77.
Australia went 1-3 in the women’s 50-meter fly with Alicia Coutts winning in 26.35 and Ellen Gandy taking third in 27.30. China’s Lu Ying split the difference with a second-place time of 26.59. Brazil’s Nicholas Santos pushed his way to the win in the men’s 50-meter fly with a 23.61. Australia’s Ben Treffers (23.99) and Chris Wright (24.06) rounded out the top three.
The 800-meter freestyle relays closed the show. Australia’s Emma McKeon (1:56.64), Bronte Barratt (1:58.92), Madeline Groves (2:00.84) and Kylie Palmer (1:59.42) won the women’s race with a 7:55.82. Japan’s Chihiro Igarashi (2:01.23), Yayoi Matsumoto (2:02.55), Misaki Yamaguchi (2:02.05) and Asami Chida (2:03.65) finished well back in second with an 8:09.48, while South Africa’s Kyna Pereira (2:06.18), Karin Prinsloo (1:58.23), Rene Warnes (2:05.92) and Marlies Ross (2:06.35) placed third in 8:16.68.
Japan’s Kosuke Hagino (1:46.11), Syo Sotodate (1:49.65), Yuki Kobori (1:47.26) and Takeshi Matsuda (1:46.79) topped the men’s relay by a wide margin with a 7:09.81. Australia’s Cameron McEvoy (1:47.34), Mack Horton (1:49.62), David McKeon (1:47.74) and Tommaso D’Orsogna (1:50.43) hit the wall second in 7:15.13 with China’s Hao Yun (1:49.21), Wang Shun (1:50.72), Mao Feilian (1:48.18) and Ning Zetao (1:51.06) earning third in 7:19.71.