RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 18. UNITED STATES swimming team captain Lindsay Benko and Sweden's Johanna Sjoberg were the standouts on the first day of competition at the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Benko claimed a gold medal double in the 200m freestyle and 200m backstroke, while Knabe took gold in the 200m breaststroke.
Benko won the 200m freestyle 1:57.54 to easily account for Ida Matsson (Sweden), who clocked 2:01.23 and Tatiana Lemos (Brazil) in 2:01.76.
The 24-year-old then backed up to win the 200m backstroke in a time of 2:08.42, just edging out South African Olympian Charlene Wittstock (South African record 2:09.12) with fellow American Diana MacManus third (2:10.28).
Benko, a five-time US national champion over 200m freestyle, suffered a broken kneecap on the eve of this year’s World Championships in Fukuoka and was a last minute withdrawal from the American team.
But she later contested the Goodwill Games, winning the 200m freestyle gold medal, ahead of Australia’s world ranked number one, Elka Graham – who actually turned the tables on Benko in a thrilling 200m final when the Australian women defeated the USA in the gold medal round in Brisbane.
Sweden's Johanna Sjoberg notched two impressive wins, taking the 100 fly in 58.29, more than a second ahead of South Africa's Mandy Loots, and the 50 free in 24.85, almost half a second ahead of Brazil's Rebeca Gusmao.
Jirka Letzin, of Germany, picked up where he left off last year on the World Cup circuit, recording victories in both the 400 IM (4:15.88) and 100 IM (55.38).
Canadian Morgan Knabe, 20, showed he is in good early season form by winning the 200m breaststroke in a time of 2:09.50, from South African Olympic silver medallist Terence Parkin (2:09.62) with Marcello Tomazino (Brazil) third in 2:10.79 in what was a thrilling final.
It is the start of what promises to be a series of great breaststroke match-ups which will see Knabe and Parkin meet Australian trio, Regan Harrison, Jim Piper and Simon Cowley at the Telstra FINA World Cup in Melbourne on December 7,8 and 9.
Other impressive men's wins were turned in by Argentina's Jose Meolans in the 100 free (48.05); Ukraine's Oleg Lisogor in the 50 breast (27.22) over Roman Sludnov; Canada's Rick Say in the 400 free (3:45.55); and Brazil's Kaio Marcio de Almeida in the 200 fly (1:57.43).
On the women's side, two-time Olympic champion Yana Klochkova, Ukraine, took the 200 IM (2:13.52); and American Diana MacManus won the 50 back (28.34).
Men's 100 meter freestyle
1. Jose Meolans, ARG 48.05
2. Scott Tucker, USA 48.64
3. Gustavo Borges, BRA 48.66
Women's 200 meter freestyle
1. Lindsay Benko, USA 1:57.54
2. Ida Matsson, SWE 2:01.23
3. Tatiana Lemos, BRA 2:01.76
Men's 50 meter breaststroke
1. Oleg Lisogor, UKR 27.22
2. Roman Sludnov, RUS 27.32
3. Eduardo Fischer, BRA 27.67
Women's 100 meter breaststroke
1. Rhiannon Leier, CAN 1:09.09
2. Anne-Sophie Le Paranthoen, FRA 1:09.74
3. Roberta Crescentini, ITA 1:09.98
Men's 400 meter individual medley
1. Jirka Letzin, GER 4:15.88
2. Terence Parkin, RSA 4:16.21
3. Batista Levaillant, FRA 4:21.35
Women's 100 meter butterfly
1. Johanna Sjoberg, SWE 58.29
2. Mandy Looots, RSA 59.41
3. Ivi Monteiro, BRA 1:02.35
Men's 100 meter backstroke
1. Sebastian Halgasch, GER 53.94
2. Rogerio Aoki Romero, BRA 54.32
3. Cleber Costa, BRA 54.48
Women's 50 meter backstroke
1. Diana MacManus, USA 28.34
2. Charlene Wittstock, RSA 28.47
3. Sophie Edington, AUS 28.66
Men's 200 meter butterfly
1. Kaio Marcio de Almeida, BRA 1:57.43
2. Theo Verster, RSA 1:59.11
3. Pedro Monteiro, RSA 1:59.14
Women's 200 meter individual medley
1. Yana Klochkova, UKR 2:13.52
2. Georgina Bardach, ARG 2:14.81
3. Yvette Rodier, AUS 2:17.81
Men's 400 meter freestyle
1. Richard Say, CAN 3:45.55
2. Bruno Bonfim, BRA 3:49.38
3. Juan Pereyra, ARG 3:49.60
Women's 50 meter freestyle
1. Johanna Sjoberg, SWE 24.85
2. Rebeca Gusmao, BRA 25.27
3. Flavia Delaroli, BRA 25.35
Men's 200 meter breaststroke
1. Morgan Knabe, CAN 2:09.50
2. Terence Parkin, RSA 2:09.62
3. Marcelo Tomazini, BRA 2:10.79
Women's 800 meter freestyle
1. Nayara Ribeiro, BRA 8:35.02
2. Poliana Okimoto, BRA 8:48.65
3. Ana Muniz, BRA 8:55.78
Men's 100 meter individual medley
1. Jirka Letzin, GER 55.38
2. Oleg Lisogor, UKR 55.53
3. Jens Kruppa, GER 55.64
Women's 200 meter backstroke
1. Lindsay Benko, USA 2:08.42
2. Charlene Wittstock, RSA 2:09.12
3. Diana Macmanus, USA 2:10.28
Men's 50 meter butterfly
1. Raphael Thuin, BRA 23.84
2. Nicholas dos Santos, BRA 23.91
3. Fernando Scherer, BRA 24.08