TOKYO, Japan, November 12. THE first night of finals at the FINA World Cup stop in Tokyo, Japan went into the books with Japan's own Takeshi Matsuda ringing the bell in the men's 200 fly.
Matsuda gave the world record a run in the distance butterfly event to be the top story of the evening. Meanwhile, South Africa's Chad Le Clos, who is steamrolling to a $150,000 total tally in winnings plus the overall standings victory, was held from the top of the podium during a finals session for only the third time this year.
Women's 800 free
China's Ren Luomeng won the distance freestyle event in 8:22.59, while Japan's Emu Higuchi (8:24.05) and Asami Chida (8:24.99) finished second and third.
Japan's Yumi Kida (8:30.49), China's Wang Fei (8:33.57), Japan's Ayano Koguchi (8:34.85), China's Shi Yuwen (8:35.74) and Japan's Misato Iwanaga (8:40.08) rounded out the final heat.
Financials:As has been the case for the bulk of the circuit, three new moneywinners were minted in the distance freestyle event for the night. Ren ($1,500), Higuchi ($1,000) and Chida ($500) all won cash for the first time.
Men's 100 free
Australia's Kyle Richardson clipped Japan's Kenta Ito, 47.31 to 47.37, to win the sprint free event. He came up short of his fourth-ranked season best of 47.16 from July, while Ito moved to ninth in the world rankings. Likely overall World Cup standings winner Chad Le Clos of South Africa rounded out the podium with a third-place 47.48.
France's Alain Bernard (47.49), Australia's Andrew Lauterstein (48.81), Japan's Yuuki Kawachi (48.93), Japan's Kazuki Nagura (49.26) and Japan's Shinri Shioura (49.62) completed the rest of the finale.
Financials: While not his typical $1,500 paycheck for a meet, as he entered this evening with 22 such victories, Le Clos' $500 for third place pushed his overall tally to $41,000. Richardson, meanwhile, improved his tally to $9,000 overall with the victory, while Ito picked up his first prize with $1,000 for runner-up.
Women's 200 free
Japan claimed the top two spots in the event with Haruka Ueda (1:53.77) and Hanae Ito (1:54.58) taking gold and silver for the host nation. Ueda moved to fifth in the world rankings with the swim, while Ito claimed seventh. Australia's Blair Evans finished third tonight in 1:55.19, just off her eighth-ranked season best of 1:54.81 from Beijing.
Australia's Merindah Dingjan (1:56.13), China's Tang Yi (1:56.78), Japan's Chihiro Igarashi (1:57.96), Japan's Miki Uchida (1:58.06) and France's Mylene Lazare (1:58.78) also swam in the finale.
Financials: Evans ran her overall winnings to $6,500 in what amounts to a sprint for the distance star, while Ueda ($1,500) and Ito ($1,000) won money for the first time.
Men's 50 breast
Australia's Christian Sprenger continued his strong run in the breaststroke events at the World Cup, with a 26.54 to win the sprint breast. That swim cleared his second-ranked season best of 26.64 set in Beijing, but still came up short of Fabio Scozzoli's 26.11 from August. It did, however, lower his Australian record that had previously stood at 26.60. Japan's Ryo Tateishi finished second tonight in 26.66 to take third in the rankings, while compatriot Yuki Okajima placed third in 26.90 for seventh in the rankings.
Australia's Brenton Rickard took fourth in 26.91, while Japan's Kosuke Kitajima finished a surprising fifth in 26.99. Japan's Kouichirou Okazaki (27.01), Hiromasa Sakimoto (27.19) and Hiroyuki Shirai (27.53) earned sixth through eighth.
Financials: Sprenger increased his overall take to $8,000 on the circuit, while Tateishi ($1,000) and Okajima ($500) were first time moneywinners.
Women's 100 breast
Korea's Kim Hye Jin has demonstrated some consistency on the circuit, having won nearly $10,000 during her time this year. She won the event tonight in 1:05.37 to move to fourth in the world rankings. Only Leisel Jones (1:04.02), Liu Xiaoyu (1:04.79) and Jennie Johansson (1:05.27) have been faster. Australia's Leiston Pickett took second tonight in 1:05.41 for fifth overall, while Japan's Kanako Watanabe rounded out the podium this evening in 1:05.69 to crack the top 10.
Japan's Mina Matsushima (1:06.52), Japan's Saya Fujimoto (1:06.69), Sweden's Joline Hostman (1:06.69), Japan's Hitomi Nose (1:06.95) and Japan's Sayuna Sugiyama (1:07.10) also vied for the title.
Financials: A trio of circuit regulars brought home the money from this event. Hye Jin improved her overall winnings to $9,500, while Pickett's coffers now stand at $6,500. Watanabe's overall tally increased to $7,000 with her third-place effort.
Men's 400 IM
Japan's Daiya Seto captured the distance medley crown in 4:02.44, bettering his second-ranked season best of 4:02.85 from Berlin. That swim is still short of Michael Phelps' top-ranked 4:01.49 also from Berlin. Japan's Kosuke Hagino placed second tonight in 4:03.59 to lower his fifth-ranked season best of 4:04.51. That swim, however, did not clear David Verraszto's fourth-ranked 4:03.45 from Stockholm. Austria's Markus Rogan finished third tonight in 4:06.84 to move to eighth in the rankings.
Japan's Yuya Horihata (4:11.08), Syo Uchida (4:13.75), Yuta Uchida (4:13.92), Yuto Kobayashi (4:15.34) and Ryo Murakawa (4:16.94) earned fourth through eighth.
Financials: Seto jumped his winnings to $7,000 overall on the circuit, while Hagino and Rogan both now have $4,000 to their credit.
Women's 100 fly
Sweden's Therese Alshammar won her 14th gold medal of the FINA World Cup circuit this year as she clocked a 55.95 for the triumph. She's been faster with the top-ranked time of 55.62 from the Berlin stop. Japan's Yuka Kato placed second in 56.37 to take third in the world rankings behind Lu Ying's 56.05, while Australia's Libby Trickett earned her first podium of the World Cup with a third-place 58.23 after coming out of a brief retirement.
Sweden's Martina Granstrom (58.33), Japan's Natsumi Hoshi (58.70), Chika Dobashi (58.92), Miho Teramura (59.00) and Hiroko Sugino (59.51) also took part in the championship heat.
Financials: Alshammar closed ever closer to the $25,000 mark as her $1,500 victory check pushed her tally to $24,000. Kato ($1,000) and Trickett ($500) won their first cash prizes of the circuit.
Men's 100 back
Japan dominated the finale with the top four spots going to the host nation. Junya Koga claimed the title in 51.21 to move to third in the world rankings. Aschwin Wildeboer (50.23) and Sun Xiaolei (50.99) are the only two faster this year. Takeshi Kawamoto placed second this evening in 51.89 to tie for eighth in the world, while Yuki Shirai earned third in 51.90 in a tie with Kazuki Watanabe – both now among the top 10.
Colombia's Omar Pinzon (52.36), Japan's Masafumi Yamaguchi (52.51), Japan's Takahiro Yamazaki (52.54) and Papua New Guinea's Ryan Pini (52.97) picked up fifth through eighth.
Financials: Koga ($1,500), Kawamoto ($1,000) and Shirai ($250) all were first-time moneywinners, while Watanabe's shared third-place check increased his winnings to $2,250.
Women's 50 back
Japan's Aya Terakawa smoked the sprint backstroke event with a triumphant time of 26.44. That swim pushed her to the top of the world rankings, ahead of Zhao Jing's 26.52 from Beijing, and moved closer to her all-time sixth-ranked lifetime best of 26.13. Zhao placed second tonight in 26.53, just missing her season best, while Australia's Rachel Goh earned third in 26.64 – also short of a season best (26.71).
Japan's Shiho Sakai (27.01), Australia's Grace Loh (27.03), Japan's Eri Tabei (27.40), Japan's Mika Ikeda (27.79) and Japan's Risa Kishimoto (28.06) placed fourth through eighth in the finale.
Financials: Another consistent earner, Goh ran her overall winnings to $13,500 with her third-place check. Zhao, meanwhile, has won $3,750 overall with Terakawa ($1,500) picking up her first prize.
Men's 200 fly
Japan's Takeshi Matsuda reigned supreme in the distance fly event with a scorching time of 1:49.50. That swim beat Chad Le Clos' top-ranked effort of 1:50.15, while and nearly clipped the world record of 1:49.11 set by Kaio Almeida. The swim moved Matsuda from seventh all time to third behind only Almeida and Nikolay Skvortsov (1:49.46) as just the third member of the 1:49 club. Notably, the swim now stands as a Japanese record, beating the 1:50.58 previously held by Hidemasa Sano.
Le Clos, meanwhile, earned second-place honors with a 1:51.00, while Japan's Kazuya Kaneda finished third in 1:51.05 to move to fourth in the world rankings. Sano wound up fourth this evening in 1:52.03.
Australia's Chris Wright (1:53.90), Japan's Ryusuke Sakata (1:55.04), Japan's Hayato Odagiri (1:55.79) and Japan's Shinpei Irie (1:56.47) took fifth through eighth.
Financials: While his 23rd gold medal has proved elusive thus far this evening, Le Clos continued to pile up wads of cash, with his overall winnings now up to $42,000. Matsuda ($1,500) and Kaneda ($500) were first-time winners.
Women's 200 IM
Korea's Choi Hye Ra fended off a fully Japanese field with a winning time of 2:07.23. That swim bettered her second-ranked season best of 2:07.72 from Beijing, but could not overtake Erica Morningstar's top-ranked time of 2:06.97 from Berlin. Japan's Tomoyo Fukuda placed second in 2:09.00 for sixth in the world, while compatriot Emu Higuchi finished third in 2:09.87 for 10th in the rankings.
Miho Takahashi (2:10.38), Tomoko Hagiwara (2:10.93), Emi Takabatake (2:11.10), Sakiko Shimizu (2:11.83) and Chihiro Igarashi (2:14.16) all finished fourth through eighth for the host nation.
Financials: Choi moved to third in the women's overall winnings race, not counting Missy Franklin's $10,000 world-record bonus, with $13,000 overall. Alshammar ($24,000) and Goh ($13,500) are the only other women on the circuit with more winnings thus far. Fukuda increased her winnings to $1,500, while Higuchi has won $1,500 in her first night on the circuit.
Men's 400 free
Australia's Robert Hurley, the lone international swimmer of the race, took home the gold in 3:42.44. That swim came up short of his second-ranked season best of 3:41.93 from Beijing. Japan's Syogo Hihara finished second in 3:43.55 for eighth in the world, while Youhei Takiguchi placed third in 3:44.42.
Keita Moteki (3:46.46), Yasunari Hirai (3:46.47), Junpei Higashi (3:46.83), Syo Uchida (3:46.87) and Hirotada Noritake (3:51.26) rounded out the top eight for the host country.
Financials: Hurley pushed his circuit winnings to $3,000, while Hihara ($1,000) and Takiguchi ($500) both won for the first time.
Women's 50 free
The Aussies went 1-2 in the splash-and-dash as Cate Campbell won in 23.93. That swim bettered her second-ranked season best of 24.04, and moved her closer to Alshammar's top time of 23.67. Her time also bested her lifetime best of 23.97, and moved her to 15th in the all-time list. Olivia Halicek earned second for Australia with a 24.17 to move into a sixth-ranked tie. Alshammar cruised to third in 24.30.
Australia's Libby Trickett (24.91), Japan's Miki Uchida (25.01), Australia's Merindah Dingjan (25.07), Japan's Yayoi Matsumoto (25.18) and Japan's Tomoko Hagiwara (25.33) placed fourth through eighth.
Financials: Alshammar kicked another $500 into her winning tally, now up to $24,500, while Campbell has earned $4,500 on the circuit. Halicek has also earned $4,500 during her time on the World Cup.
Men's 200 breast
Japan's Ryo Tateishi captured the distance breaststroke event with a 2:03.49. That swim demolished the previously top-ranked 2:04.61 set by Marco Koch in Berlin, and lowered Tateishi's lifetime best of 2:03.80. Tateishi moved to 10th all time in the event's history, and is the third fastest Japanese swimmers in the event (Kosuke Kitajima: 2:02.95; Tomita: 2:03.12). Tomita earned second tonight in 2:04.51 to move to second in the rankings, while Koch fell to third with a 2:04.52, which was lower than his previous best.
Japan's Kazuki Otsuka took fourth in 2:05.73, while Kitajima wound up a surprising fifth in 2:06.36. Kitajima is likely 100 percent focused on making history at the 2012 London Olympics with a threepeat in both breaststroke events.
Kazuki Kohinata (2:08.20), Yukihiro Takahashi (2:08.71) and Ryuta Tani (2:08.84) earned sixth through eighth in the finale.
Financials: Koch increased his winnings to $11,000 overall, moving to second amongst the men behind Chad Le Clos ($42,000) and ahead of Michael Phelps ($10,500). Tomita, meanwhile, became just the eighth person this year to break into five-digit winnings as he tied Phelps with $10,500 overall. Tateishi, on his first night of World Cup swimming this year, amassed $2,500.
Men's 100 IM
For just the third time of the 2011 FINA World Cup, South Africa's Chad Le Clos missed the top of the podium during an entire evening of swimming. Japan's Takuro Fujii captured the sprint medley title in 52.78, while Le Clos wound up second in 53.33. Japan's Masafumi Yamaguchi took third in 53.55.
Japan's Yuma Kosaka (54.01), Takuto Ueki (54.24), Kazuki Nagura (54.26) and Ikumi Hasegawa (55.27) placed fourth through seventh, while Colombia's Omar Pinzon drew a disqualification.
Financials: Le Clos improved his winnings to $43,000, while Yamaguchi has now won $4,000 overall. Fujii ($1,500) snared his first earnings of the circuit.
Women's 200 back
New Zealand's Melissa Ingram won the distance dorsal in 2:03.39, short of her fifth-ranked season best of 2:03.00 from Beijing. Japan's Sayaka Akase (2:04.67) and Maria Kamimura (2:05.12) placed second and third.
Meanwhile, Japan's Shiho Sakai (2:05.67), Miyu Otsuka (2:07.34), Mai Harada (2:07.56), Eri Tabei (2:07.77) and Rei Kuboki (2:09.19) took fourth through eighth in the final heat.
Financials: Ingram pushed her winnings to $3,000, while Akase ($1,000) and Kamimura ($500) won for the first time.
Men's 50 fly
Japan's Ryo Takayasu closed down the penultimate night of competition on the 2011 FINA World Cup circuit with a 22.68 in the sprint fly. That swim just missed Geoff Huegill's top-ranked 22.67 from Berlin. Japan's Hiroki Kato finished second in 22.97 to move to fifth in the rankings, while Kohei Kawamoto earned third in 23.02 for sixth.
Japan's Syota Hara (23.41), Australia's Andrew Lauterstein (23.45), Japan's Yoshinori Muramatsu (23.50), Ryo Ishii (23.54) and Masamichi Ueda (23.61) also swam in the championship heat.
Financials: Takayasu ($1,500), Kato ($1,000) and Kawamoto ($500) all were first-time moneywinners on the circuit.