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BARCELONA, Spain, July 29. IT’s been a long time in the making, but Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu is back on top of a World Championship podium for the first time in four years after her wire-to-wire victory in the women’s 200-meter IM here in Barcelona.
Hosszu dominated the race from start to finish (27.20, 59.39 (32.19), 1:36.85 (37.46), 2:07.92 (31.07)) as she nearly threw down a textile best in the process. Having won the 400-meter IM title back in 2009 during the techsuit era, Hosszu has undergone a major transformation as she’s become known as the Iron Lady due to her aggressive meet scheduling. Her enter-everything style of scheduling led her to the big paycheck at the FINA World Cup in 2012.
Tonight, however, Hosszu changed it up as she scratched the 100 back to focus on the 200-meter IM finale even though she became the first sub-1:00 Hungarian with a 59.40 to qualify second to only Missy Franklin this morning.
The win tonight definitely helps to validate Hosszu’s scheduling practices as she is at the forefront of the where professional swimming is headed. It’s not just about scoring that huge apparel deal, even though she already has one with Arena. To keep her name out there and to keep her income levels up, Hosszu will enter nearly any meet with a paycheck attached to races, and will win her fair share of the first-place checks.
What has held back professional swimmers from this type of race-based training is the fear of expending too much energy and not performing well at the end of the year at Worlds and the Olympics. Hosszu is beginning to turn this notion on its head a bit.
Australia’s Alicia Coutts popped a 2:09.39 to take silver for the second time tonight, and the third time in two days, as the Australian version of the Iron Lady continued to perform well considering her schedule. That’s Coutts’ second silver in a row in the event at Worlds.
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia drew a huge ovation from a partisan crowd when she out-split the ever-dangerous Ye Shiwen, 30.43 to 30.50, on the freestyle leg to take bronze in 2:09.45. Ye was the reigning World champion, but could not make it on the podium after a poor first 150 meters that had her turning dead last with a 1:39.98. Her freestyle prowess, however, nearly pushed her into the top three with a fourth-place 2:10.48.
USA’s Caitlin Leverenz (2:10.73), Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:10.95), Great Britain’s Sophie Allen (2:11.32) and Great Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (2:12.03) made up the rest of the championship finish.