BERLIN, Germany, October 21. THE second night at the FINA World Cup stop in Berlin featured some sizzling times. France's Camille Muffat rattled the world record in the women's 400 free by the slimmest of margins, while Katinka Hosszu got back on track. Additionally, Anthony Ervin posted an American record in the 50 free, but remains the second-fastest American in the event. See the explanation below!
For a quick refresher course, the FINA World Cup is a global circuit of two-day meets all swum in short course meters (25m) setups. Swimmers vie for cash earnings with first-place individual winners earning $1,500, while second place wins $1,000. Third place in each event also takes home $500. Relays are not money races.
The overall circuit winners for the men and women by the end of the eight-meet series next month will win $100,000 each. Chad Le Clos and Therese Alshammar both banked six-figure paydays last year with Le Clos topping out at $145,500, including nearly $50k in just race winnings alone. Thus far this year, Katinka Hosszu and Kenneth To lead the overall standings after the fourth stop in Berlin, Germany.
Men's 1500 free
Hungary's David Verrastzo punched the wall in 14:51.29 to open night two in Berlin with a win. That swim kicked his winnings in Berlin up to $2,000, his only stop on the tour thus far. Poland's Mateusz Sawrymowicz finished second in 14:55.02, while Slovakia's Richard Nagy also cleared 15:00 with a third-place 14:58.91 to round out the podium. Swimmers on the tour have a lot of ground to make up to catch last season's best effort of 14:29.81 by Sawrymowicz at the Euro Short Course Championships.
Women's 100 free
Germany's Britta Steffen has been printing money on the tour via her sprint freestyle prowess. She raced to victory in the 100, sweeping the 50 and 100 again, with a scorching 52.88. USA's Jessica Hardy took second in 53.00, while Australia's Jessica Morrison returned to the podium for the first time since Stockholm with a 53.31. Steffen jumped her winnings up to $15,000 with the triumph, and did some by clearing 53 seconds for the third time on the tour. Her best time came with a 52.46 to win in Stockholm. Hardy, meanwhile, smashed her previous circuit best of 53.38 also from Stockholm, and now has won $9,000 on the tour.
Men's 200 free
France's Yannick Agnel went from third to first in the final 50 meters en route to his first victory on the circuit. He clocked a sterling 1:42.10, surfacing from a tight contest. Germany's Paul Biedermann placed second in 1:42.71, while South Africa's Darian Townsend touched third in 1:42.79. The previous best time on the tour heading into tonight had been a 1:42.71 from Townsend to win in Dubai. Biedermann had the fastest time a year ago with a 1:42.42 also at the Berlin stop, typically one of the fastest stops on the tour. Townsend now stands third among the men in overall winnings with $14,000 in prizes.
Women's 50 breast
USA's Jessica Hardy returned to the pool just minutes after her runner-up effort in the 100 with a winning time of 30.13 in the sprint breaststroke event. She now has $10,500 in winnings after ringing up $5,000 in Berlin. Great Britain's Kathryn Johnstone touched second in 30.89, while Margarethe Hummel earned third-place honors in 31.09. While Hardy's time is pretty fast, she still has some time to make up to catch the sizzling 29.96 Ruta Meilutyte posted in Stockholm for the win.
Men's 100 breast
In just his third stop on the tour, Italy's Fabio Scozzoli is definitely filling in for the missing Cameron van der Burgh, who stopped the circuit to return home to train. Scozzoli is now up to $6,500 in winnings with just breaststroke event wins. He won the 100 tonight in 57.61, while New Zealand's Glenn Snyders took second in 57.89. Snyders is racking up the cash as well with $8,000 as he has competed on all five stops thus far. Brazil's Henrique Barbosa rounded out the podium with a third-place 58.50. Van der Burgh still owns the best time on the circuit this year with a 57.22 to win in Doha.
Women's 400 IM
After a bit of a hiccup on night one, during which she only won $750 after breaking records with $11,000 meets, Hungary's Katinka Hosszu moved back into the win column in the distance medley with a 4:28.88. That win is her 26th individual gold medal of the circuit, and pushed her winnings to $43,250, closing in on Chad le Clos' total race winnings of $45,500 from all of last year with three more stops to go. Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos turned in a second-place 4:29.78 for $20,250 overall in winnings, while U.S. Junior National Teamer Becca Mann snared third-place honors in 4:37.03. Hosszu nearly cleared her fastest time of the tour, a 4:28.10 from the Stockholm stop. She hasn't lost in the 400 IM yet on this circuit, now up to five straight wins.
Men's 100 fly
He's been swimming on every stop of the tour, but he finally broke through with an international gold medal tonight as California's Tom Shields blasted a 50.03 en route to victory. He touched out Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin in the process as the Russian placed second in 50.14. Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov completed the podium with a third-place 50.89. Shields neared the top time on the tour of 49.60 set by Chad le Clos on the Doha stop, and would have ranked third in the world a year ago with his 50.03. Shields' blistering effort shot him to 16th in the world all time, and is the second-fastest American all time behind Ian Crocker's 49.07.
Women's 100 back
Not many have been able to stop Australia's Rachel Goh in the backstroke events so far this year as she raced to yet another victory, this time whacking half-a-second from her previous circuit best with a 57.02. The win increased her race winnings tally to $14,000, fourth among the women. Brazil's Fabiola Molina checked in with a second-place 58.87, while U.S. Junior National Teamer Kaitlyn Jones earned her first medal of the circuit with a third-place 58.91. Goh's previous best on the tour had been a 57.52 to win in Stockholm. Her time tonight nearly clipped her best from a year ago of a 56.99 also in Berlin.
Men's 50 back
Russia's Stanislav Donets kept pace with Rachel Goh as the top backstrokers on the circuit, pushing his winnings to $14,000 as well with a 23.16 to top the sprint backstroke. Australia's Robert Hurley jumped to second with a 23.57 for $17,000 in winnings, while Brazil's Guilherme Guido earned third in 23.63. Donets won his fifth straight title in the event, and bettered his 23.31 from Moscow that had been the fastest on the tour so far. He continues to close the distance on his second-ranked all-time performance of 22.74 from the Euro Short Course Championships.
Women's 200 fly
Katinka Hosszu must have just had an off night last evening, as she proved she was back on track in a big way with her second title of the night. She raced to a 2:05.78 to win the distance fly event for her 27th individual gold of the circuit, which also pushed her winnings to an astounding $44,750. Wingwoman Zsuzsanna Jakabos took second in 2:06.99 to push her winnings to $21,250, while U.S. Junior National Teamer Celina Li secured her second bronze medal of the meet with a 2:07.16. Hosszu's time just missed her circuit-best time of 2:05.77 from the Moscow stop, but the win put momentum back on her side.
Men's 200 IM
South Africa's Darian Townsend used some outside smoke with a scorching time of 1:53.44 to win out of lane 1. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh finally beat Japan's Daiya Seto, 1:53.59 to 1:53.84, but wound up falling to Townsend in the end. Townsend's time came up just short of his circuit-best time of 1:53.25 to win in Dubai. Meanwhile, Seto became the second fastest man from Japan in the event, clearing the 1:53.85 clocked by Hidemasa Sano, but trailing the 1:53.67 set by Kosuke Hagino last year in Tokyo. Townsend now has $15,500 in circuit winnings, while Seto moved his tally to $23,000 — which still leads all men. Cseh is nearing $10,000 with $9,000 in overall race winnings after five meets.
Women's 400 free
A pair of U.S. Junior National Teamers nearly were part of history as France's Camille Muffat missed the world record in the middle distance event by the slimmest of margins with a scorching fast time of 3:54.93. Muffat just missed the world record of 3:54.92 set by Joanne Jackson in Great Britain in 2009, and demolished the World Cup record of 3:56.24 set by compatriot Coralie Balmy on the Berlin stop in 2008. Muffat chopped nearly three seconds off her previous best of 3:57.48 to vault from seventh all time to second. She is one of only two swimmers to break the 3:55 mark as well, with Allison Schmitt standing third with a 3:55.89. USA's Leah Smith (4:04.86) and Becca Mann (4:05.21), meanwhile, picked up the other podium spots for second and third.
Men's 50 free
USA's Anthony Ervin and George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago followed up the near historic swim from Muffat with a sterling battle in the splash-and-dash. Ervin topped Bovell, 20.85 to 20.97, as the pair have traded the top two spots all tour. Australia's Matt Targett picked up third in 21.12. Bovell is now up to $12,000 in winnings, while Ervin has tallied $10,250. Ervin topped his previous best of 20.99 set with a second-place effort in Stockholm. Bovell posted his third sub-21 time of the circuit and his career. Ervin jumped to 12th all time in the rankings, and downed the American record of 20.88 set by Josh Schneider in Dubai in 2010.
Notably, Nathan Adrian has the fastest time by an American with a 20.71 to close out 2009 in Manchester. USA Swimming, however, decided that American records set in techsuits after Oct. 1, 2009 – when USA Swimming implemented the techsuit ban domestically – would not be ratified. This is the case even for times swum legally in international events where the ban was not in effect yet.
Women's 200 breast
Japan went 1-2 in the distance breaststroke with Rie Kaneto topping Mio Motegi, 2:19.96 to 2:20.57. Belgium's Fanny Lecluyse, meanwhile, clinched third in 2:22.93. Kaneto became the first swimmer under 2:20 this year, bettering her 2:20.08 from the Moscow stop. She's also nearing her best time from a year ago, a 2:19.72 set on the Tokyo stop that ranked her fifth in the world then. Kaneto is now up to $7,000 in winnings with just three meets under her belt.
Women's 100 IM
Germany's Theresa Michalak upset Hungary's Katinka Hosszu for the 100 IM title, 59.62 to 1:00.23. Hosszu, however, still managed to push her overall winnings to $45,750 to better the $45,500 Chad le Clos won in all seven meets before claiming the $100,000 overall grand prize as the 2011 FINA World Cup men's winner. Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos also took third in 1:00.53 for $21,750 in winnings. Michalak is the second swimmer under 1:00 on the tour with her time now the top of the circuit besting the 59.69 clocked by Hosszu to win in Moscow.
Men's 200 back
Japan's Yuki Shirai won his third straight title in the distance dorsal event, tonight with a 1:49.94 to win by nearly two seconds. Teammate Hayate Matsubara touched second in 1:51.93, while Australia's Ashley Delaney turned in a third-place 1:52.82. Shirai is the first swimmer under 1:50 on the tour after winning in Stockholm with a then circuit-best 1:50.70. Shirai would have ranked third in the world a year ago with his time tonight, and jumped to 14th all time in the event's history with his blistering time tonight.
Women's 50 fly
Italy's Ilaria Bianchi touched out The Netherlands' Inge Dekker, 25.96 to 25.98, for the women's sprint fly title. Meanwhile, Sweden's Louise Hansson earned third-place honors in 26.55. Dekker became the eighth woman to earn $10,000 or more on the tour as she clinched $10,000 overall in winnings. Therese Alshammar, however, still has the fastest time on the tour by far with a 25.56 from the Doha stop, even though she hasn't participated since the Middle East leg of the circuit.
Mixed 200 free relay
Team USA's Anthony Ervin (20.92), Tom Shields (21.58), Jessica Hardy (23.81) and Kylie Stewart (24.85) won the mixed-gender relay with a 1:31.16, while Denmark's Daniel Skaaning (22.89), Kelly Riber Rasmussen (24.88), Soeren Dahl (22.81) and Pernille Blume (24.40) took second in 1:34.98. Brazil's Andre Santos (22.20), Jessica Cavalheiro (25.15), Daynara De Paula (25.93) and Diogo Yabe (21.98) placed third in 1:35.26.