TOKYO, Japan, November 5. JAPAN's Daiya Seto had the top single swim of the night with an Asian and World Cup record in the men's 400 IM. World Cup queen Katinka Hosszu, however, got back to her truly dominant ways with a title trifecta en route to her 33rd individual gold medal of the circuit.
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 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 heading into the final two stops of the tour.
Women's 800 free
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu collected her astonishing 31st individual gold medal of the tour with a close call over Australia's Laura Crockart in the distance freestyle event to start the night. Hosszu overtook Crockart down the stretch, 8:24.89 to 8:25.62, to push her earnings to $53,250 on the circuit thus far. Japan's Emu Higuchi placed third in 8:25.89. The times are still well off the pace of the strong efforts posted in Berlin, when U.S. Junior National Teamer Leah Smith won the day with an 8:16.58, but Hosszu had enough in the tank for the $1,500 first-place check.
Men's 100 free
The top three finishers in the 100 free have amassed some serious cash on the circuit so far this year. USA's Anthony Ervin blazed his way to victory with a sterling time of 47.09, while Australia's Tomasso D'Orsogna (47.17) and Kenneth To (47.23) picked up second and third-place paychecks. Ervin has now earned $12,750, while D'Orsogna is up to $12,500 and To pushed his tally to $17,000. Ervin just missed clearing 47 seconds, after winning the Berlin stop with a sterling 46.71 earlier on the tour. D'Orsogna is the only other swimmer under 47 seconds on the tour thus far with a 46.99 from Berlin.
Women's 200 free
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu returned to early circuit form when she was regularly claiming 5-7 individual golds built on a meet-starting double in the 800 and 200 freestyles. Shortly after claiming the distance free event, Hosszu returned with a victory in the 200 in 1:54.94. Her wingwoman Zsuzsanna Jakabos placed second in 1:55.36, while Australia's Kelly Stubbins collected third-place honors in 1:56.50. Hosszu increased her earnings to $54,750 with the win, while Jakabos now stands at $27,250. Hosszu did not manage to come close to matching the best swim this year posted by France's Camille Muffat with a 1:52.28 in Berlin, but she's definitely back on track by reaching 1:54.
Men's 50 breast
Australia's Christian Sprenger touched out tour newcomer Yuuki Okajima of Japan, 26.62 to 26.70, in the sprint breast. Meanwhile, regular sprint breaststroke victor Glenn Snyders of New Zealand settled for third in 26.86. Sprenger increased his winnings to $3,500 with his rare win, while Snyders now has $11,500. The male sprint breaststrokers are still trying to catch up to the sizzling 25.95 posted by Cameron van der Burgh as the top time on the circuit this year during his victory in Doha.
Women's 100 breast
Shortly after proclaiming on Twitter that she was amped for the 100 breast finals this evening, USA's Jessica Hardy proved it with a swift 1:04.86 for the win. She won by a fingernail, as Denmark's Rikke Moller Pedersen took second in 1:04.94. Japan's Rie Kaneto touched out teammate Rie Kaneto, 1:05.03 to 1:05.41, for the final podium spot. Hardy is now up to $13,000 in earnings, while Pedersen is a tour newcomer. Motegi has been a circuit regular, increasing her winnings to $4,000. Hardy and Pedersen are the only two swimmers in the 1:04s on the tour thus far. Hardy won in Berlin with a sizzling 1:04.58, while Rute Meilutyte previously stood as the second-fastest on the tour with a 1:05.02 to win in Stockholm.
Men's 400 IM
After taking the Beijing stop of the tour off, Japan's Daiya Seto returned with a vengeance by lowering his own World Cup record in the distance medley to 4:00.02. That swim clipped time off his 4:00.12 set during the Berlin stop, which had also stood as the Asian record in the event. He just missed becoming just the fifth member of the sub-4:00 club with Ryan Lochte at the helm with a world-record 3:55.50. Japan's Yousuke Mori raced to second in 4:06.94, nearly seven seconds behind, while Kosuke Hagino struggled to third in 4:07.07. Seto ran his male-leading earning tally to $24,500, while Hagino now has won $3,500 on the circuit. Mori is a tour newcomer.
Women's 100 fly
The Netherlands' Inge Dekker blasted her way to a win with a sizzling time of 57.39, while Great Britain's Sophie Allen returned from a short tour hiatus to claim second in 58.24. China's Liu Lan, a tour newcomer, clinched third-place honors in 58.30. Dekker broke $15k with her win, moving to $15,500 in earnings, while Allen is now at $4,500. Dekker's time cleared the 57.62 she used to win in Beijing, but came up short of Therese Alshammar's top time this year of 56.68 from the Stockholm stop.
Men's 100 back
Russia's Stanislav Donets remained on a roll in the backstroke events, scorching the field with a sterling time of 49.49. Australia's Robert Hurley (50.49) and Ashley Delaney (50.66) remained as podium regulars, taking second and third. Japan's Junya Koga, who is heading to Club Wolverine soon to train in the U.S., took fourth in 50.77. Donets and Hurley nearly became the second men to clear $20k in earnings with $19,500 and $19,750, respectively. Delaney, meanwhile, has ridden a plethora of third-place finishes to $8,000. Donets' time is the best this year, beating the 49.74 he used to win the event in Moscow. He is the second-fastest man of all time in the event with a 48.95 to his credit.
Women's 50 back
Australia's Rachel Goh ran into a buzzsaw in the sprint back, falling off the podium in the event for the first time on the tour with a fifth-place 27.34. Japan's Norika Inada claimed the overall victory in 26.99, while Australia's Grace Loh (27.09) and Japan's Shiho Sakai (27.26) took second and third. Inada pushed her earnings to $5,000 and became one of a handful of swimmers under 27 seconds this year after breaking the 27-second barrier for the first time in her career. Goh owns the top time this year with a smoking 26.66 from her win in Beijing.
Goh's compatriot Melanie Schlanger came to the backstroker's defense via Twitter, explaining that Goh had food poisoning just 24 hours before the Tokyo stop.
— Melanie Schlanger (@Mel_Schlanger) November 6, 2012
Men's 200 fly
Japan's Kazuya Kaneda just missed breaking 1:51 for the first time this year with a scorching 1:51.08 for the win, while compatriots Yuuki Kobori (1:52.92) and Kou Fukaya (1:53.74) finished second and third in the finale. The win gave Kaneda $6,000 in circuit earnings thus far, while coming up a bit short of besting Kaneda's season best from a year ago of 1:51.05 also clocked on the Tokyo stop.
Women's 200 IM
A trio of powerful swimmers surged to the finish with Hungary's Katinka Hosszu tripling up this evening with her 33rd individual gold of the circuit. Hosszu topped the field with a 2:07.51, while Great Britain's Sophie Allen placed second for the second time tonight with a 2:07.85. Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos clinched another paycheck with a third-place 2:07.92. Hosszu has now earned a remarkable $56,250 in race winnings, while Jakabos is up to $27,750. Allen, who hasn't been nearly as active on the circuit this year, has $5,500 in earnings. The times pale in comparison to the top time on the tour from Beijing, where China's Ye Shiwen blistered the field with a 2:06.10 in the event. But, the times still earned some valuable cash.
Men's 400 free
In just two tour stops, USA's Michael Klueh has managed a quick $4,000 in winnings, clinching $1,500 tonight with a two-second victory over New Zealand's Matthew Stanley, 3:40.23 to 3:42.21. Japan's Naito Ehara finished third in 3:43.30. Klueh's time is the fastest on the tour this year, besting the 3:40.74 Stanley used to win in Beijing over the weekend, and nearly pushed Klueh into the top 25 all time in the event's history.
Women's 50 free
Germany's Britta Steffen has been the top female sprinter on the circuit so far this year, regularly winning the 50 and 100 frees en route to $18,000 in earnings. This evening, she trumped the splash-and-dash again with a victorious 24.01. The Netherlands' Inge Dekker podiumed for the second time tonight with a runner-up 24.40 to push her winnings to $16,500. Meanwhile, USA's Jessica Hardy clinched third in 24.60 for a total earnings tally of $13,500 thus far. Steffen's time is the best on the tour this year, clearing the 24.08 she used to win in Stockholm, and edging closer to Steffen's lifetime best of 23.80.
Men's 200 breast
Japan's Akihiro Yamaguchi, who made noise this summer with a world record in the long course 200 breast, claimed nearly a full-second triumph this evening in the short course version with a 2:04.64. His compatriots Kazuki Kohinata (2:05.62) and Yukihiro Takahashi (2:05.77) joined him on the podium with second and third-place efforts. The trio are all newcomers to the tour this year. Yamaguchi has some room to grow in the short course event, as his time does not move him into the top 25 all time just yet. Yuta Suenaga holds that spot with a 2:04.43. Sean Mahoney still holds the top time this year with a 2:04.55, but missed out on the podium with a fourth-place finish.
Men's 100 IM
Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell has used his sprint prowess to earn $16,000 thus far this year, including a $1,500 paycheck for his winning time of 51.80 in the sprint medley. Australia's Kenneth To placed just behind with a second-place 51.83 to move his winnings to $18,000. Meanwhile, Australia's Kyle Richardson finished third in 53.13. The top two times were significantly slower than the bests this year from Bovell and To. Bovell has gone 51.20, while To has a 51.43 to his credit.
Women's 200 back
New Zealand's Melissa Ingram has been one of the strongest distance backstrokers on the tour this year, and proved it again tonight with a 2:05.39 for the win. With Japan's Marie Kamimura closing the distance before the 150-meter mark, Ingram switched on the afterburners to secure victory. Kamimura took second in 2:05.98, while Germany's Jenny Mensing edged Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, 2:06.95 to 2:07.43, for the final podium spot to stop Hosszu from a fourth paycheck tonight. Ingram now has $13,000 in winnings, but fell a second short of her season-best 2:04.28 from the Berlin stop.
Men's 50 fly
Kenya's Jason Dunford earned the sprint fly victory in 23.03, just eating China's Zhang Qibin (23.12) for the win. Japan's Syota Hara completed the podium with a third-place 23.22. Dunford has quietly compiled $8,000 in earnings so far this year. Matt Targett still has the top time this year with a 22.30 from the Berlin stop, that pushed the Australian to eighth in the world all time.
Mixed 200 medley relay
Chukyo University's Naoya Seino (24.80), KanaSano (31.01), Ayaka Komatsubara (26.81) and Kenta Ito (20.88) won in 1:43.50. China's Xu Tianlongzi (27.41), Zhang Ying (31.73), Zhang Qibin (22.54) and Liu Junwu (22.03) placed second in 1:43.71, while NEC Green's Tetsuya Iwata (24.80), Manae Sasaki (31.68), Hiroki Katou (23.26) and Maho Takiguchi (25.23) finished third in 1:44.97.